The 6 Stages of Learning
By Michelle L. Casto, M.Ed.
Have you ever stopped to consider how you know what you know? In reality, you think, say, and do what you do because of what you have learned. Obviously, there have been some good lessons, some not-so-good ones, and even some lessons you seem to keep re-learning.
So what is going on when you learn? There are many words and metaphors for the idea of learning. We can talk about knowledge, ideas, information, wisdom, intelligence, IQ, street smarts, on-the-job training,
real-life experience, formal/informal learning, high school and college, and let's not forget about the school of hard knocks. To me, knowledge is like a seed that you plant. If you value the learning process, you will plant your ideas and ask your questions with positive attention and conscious intention. You will enjoy watching your tiny seed grow into a big tree that continues to grow and branch out for an entire lifetime. You will get excited when you see new sprouts and connections burst forth.
I love learning, always have, always will. So much so, that my company name and logo is "Get Smart!" with a man and a woman reading a book under the tree of knowledge & wisdom. I am always surprised to learn that others don't have the same desire to "get smart" as I do!
I believe that it is easier for people to stay in the comfort zone of "I already know everything I need to get by" rather than to develop the beginner's mind of "I don't know much about this but I am willing to learn." You can easily look at someone's lifestyle and see the person who has adopted the "lifelong learning" mind-set---they are more fulfilled, successful, and alive.
The truth is all human beings have an innate desire to learn and grow and stretch their minds, bodies, and souls, it's just some people choose to make it more of a priority than others. Marie Evans said that,
"Learning is the jewel casting brilliance into the future." Something newly learned is a beautiful and bright (albeit invisible) thing to behold and truly does change the course of our lives. What follows are the six stages of learning. Think of something you are now learning and find out which stage you are in.
In the first stage, you take notice of the concept/idea because it raises your interest. You probably received the information from reading or hearing about it.
For example, when you first heard about the internet, you probably had a vague notion of what it might be, but had no direct experience with it.
In the second stage, you often seek to compare it with something else you know something about. This helps you to categorize and place it logically. When you learned of the internet, you probably compared it with other forms of technology or communications as a means of filtration and organization.
In the third stage, you begin to play around with the concept/idea. You try it on for size in your mind to
see if and where it fits. When you first went online to explore this thing called the internet, you began by "playing" with it, not taking it too seriously, in an effort to make the learning more enjoyable.
In the fourth stage, you want to see how it applies to your own life. You start to do things with the information, such as write, talk, take a class, or somehow experience it. Now when you go on the internet, you are navigating to find useful information for your life.
Integration or Rejection
In the fifth stage, you either integrate or reject the original concept/idea. If you find the new knowledge useful, you will integrate it into your every day life. Again, if you found the internet valuable, you will be motivated to use it and integrate it. If not, you will decide to stop the learning process.
In the last stage, you have now developed additional insights about the original idea, and have a need to add, delete, or create something new based on your own storehouse of knowledge. For instance, you are now an internet afficienado, and decide to develop a software that allows people to make commissions from other people's products or enables them to share their daily "blog."
The term ""knowledge-based economy" is popular right now, and in today's constantly changing world, a key to success is no doubt the ability to learn. Because those who keep learning, keep earning and keep living happy and interesting lives. Mark Twain once said,"There is no security in life, only opportunity."
That being true now more than ever, the only real security we can give ourselves is a reserve of knowledge, experience, abilities, and a willingness to be a student of life, a person open to the awe of the world and who desires to learn something new every day.
Note the distinction about learning and learned. The learned person feels he has completed the course. The learning person knows that she is still in process. There is also a distinction between knowledge and wisdom. Knowledge is about thinking, studying, and regurgitating someone else's thoughts. Wisdom is about observing, reflecting, and absorbing your own thoughts and ideas. True wisdom is applying what you have learned and learning through every life experience.
A Chinese proverb makes this very clear about learning, "To obtain knowledge, add things every day. To attain wisdom, remove things every day." The smart student knows when to let old ideas and information go, to consciously delete them in order to make room for the current ideas.
Just think about how internet dial-up is fast becoming a thing of the past and is being replaced with DSL. That is because someone thought of a better, faster way of doing the same thing. New ideas come and go as quickly as night and day. It will be the people who can take their creative ideas and go for it, who will succeed in our over-informed world. Know this. Knowledge will make you smart, but experience will make you wise. Remember---it is only through learning and growing that you can become wise---and it is a journey that you must take for yourself---it is not something that can be taught by someone else.
About the author:
Michelle L. Casto holds a Ph.D and is known as the Soul Diva Coach, Speaker, and Author of the Get Smart! Learningbook Series. She knows that there is a light inside of every human being waiting to be activated and it is her mission to learn, so she can share what she has learned with others on the spiritual journey. Her coaching practice is Brightlight Coaching, she helps people come up with bright ideas for their life and empowers them to freely shine their bright light to the world.
Visit http://www.smartlifechanges.com to receive your free special report, You Can Transform Your Life Now. Contact her for a complimentary coaching session: or Visit virtu
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