12 July 2012

Self-discovered Learning

Most of my non-fiction writing and work is in the Learning and Development area. In a recent article I came across this quote.

'The only kind of learning which significantly influences behaviour is self-discovered learning - truth that has been assimilated in experience.'  Carl Rogers.

Self-discovered learning isn't necessarily learning something on your own, it's the discovered element that is important.  For example, you're giving a presentation and want the audience to remember an important statistic.  It's pointless giving it to them.  Make them work for it.  Let them discover the information themselves.  It will remain with them for longer than you telling them, even if prefaced with the words - this is very important.

So how does this relate to writing?

I've blogged a number of times about the benefits of writing groups, and a couple of years ago I had an experience of self-discovered learning through the writing group.

At one meeting several of the group pointed out a number of places where I was 'walking the dog'.  If you've never heard of the phrase it basically means that you over-describe an everyday action, like making a sandwich or getting ready for work in the morning.  It's something that can be left out, or covered in a sentence.  

I knew all about 'walking the dog', I could see it in other writing, but that night it was as if someone had just removed a blindfold.  I looked at the extract and suddenly saw it in my own writing.  How could I have missed it before!

I was walking the dog.

It was an interesting learning experience, and I'm now aware of 'walking the dog' in a way I wasn't before.

Self-discovered learning - truth understood in experience.

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