How to remember what you learn, Edgar Dale's Cone of Experience

The TV game show Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader is fun and embarrassing at the same time. What I get out of watching this show is the understanding that we don't need much of what we learn from elementary to high school. I am not anti-schooling or formal education. People may be successful with or without formal education, however, going the non-diploma way is more difficult and less traveled.

What will it take to achieve learning for all? Source: World Bank

Why we forget what we learn

Reading Edgar Dale's 1946 book titled Audio-Visual Methods in Teaching taught me these lessons on why we retain so less of what we learn in the classroom:
  1. We forget when what we are to learn does not seem important to us
  2. We forget when we do not see clearly what it is that we are supposed to be learning or we are not properly shown how to use this new item
  3. We forget when we do not make use of what we have been asked to learn in our daily living
An illustration are my kids. Filipino is their primary language before attending school. Since what they watch and read are in English, and English is the language they speak at school, Filipino took a back seat. They reply in English even when I talk with them in Filipino.

How to achieve effective learning

Dale suggests that children see, hear, touch, taste, plan, make, do and try. Experiencing is a great method of learning. Rich experiences

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