Making Sense of Learning

Active Learning - An Important Lesson in Life

Active Learning - An Important Lesson in Life

This 14 minutes video is a confession by Prof. Eric Mazur from Harvard University.  In one of his class, a student asked him this question on a test:

How should I answer this question ?  According to what you taught me, or according to the way I usually think ?

With this question, Prof Mazur's life was changed forever.  As one of the best teaching staff in the university, he discovered the difference between education and learning, and finally concluded with the proper way of university education and learning.

With his discovery, it should, at the same time, also tells us how we should learn in real life for ourselves too.  This is how our BYOS workshops are designed as well - learning by doing.  A highly recommended 14-minute video, which could bring you a life-time benefit for learning.



Following are some key points from his video:

8:23 We who already learned, could very often forget the difficulties for the beginning learners.  Things we see so obvious, so simple, but we don't understand why people do not understand it.
8:52 The curse of knowledge - Once you understand something, you forget the difficulty of the beginning learner
9:40 The practice of teaching by Questioning.
10:25 He calls this Peer Instruction because students teach each other, and he as an instructor to facilitate.  He becomes the coach who guide them from aside.
11:06 It's about the students' mind.  You don't learning by listening, you learn by doing.

Learning is a 2-step process

  1. Transfer of information
  2. The crucial part is for the student to make-sense of the information
12:20 In learning, we need time to think, and when we are thinking, we lose track of what the person says, because people cannot think and listen at the same time.


In fact, if you think about it, isn't that also the way how normal people learn in real life too ?  That's why in business, a lot of learning is by doing, and that's what we call experience, which involves the most important part - make sense of the learning.  By doing, we are sure what we learn is true and working.

There is another video by Prof. Mazur, a much longer video (1 hr 25 min) he talked about how to turn lectures into learning.  This could be a valuable material not only for the academics, but also for HR and training professionals too.

Thanks to Prof Mazur for the sharing of his valuable insights.


Finally, we wish to emphasize this is the same emphasis in our BYOS workshops.  The most important part is to make-sense of what you learn, and go deep by doing and work on real-life solutions.  That's how the workshops are designed, coupled with 1-to-1 remote assistance.  That's also why it is also a matter of digital transformation too.