How much do we learn?

Just a quick one tonight as I’ve been busy with work, study and church this week. One thing I learned this week was how well we learn using different senses and different levels of involvement. What’s interesting is that I suspect that most people would get the correct order of success rates (for example, practicing something is more effective than simply reading about it), but some of the percentages are quick shocking.

Take a look for yourself:

What we hear only – 10% effective
What we see only – 15% effective
What we both see and hear – 20%
What we discuss with others – 40%
What we experience directly and practice doing – 80%
What we teach others – 90%

The percentage represents how much of the information we end up retaining (on average) when using that particular technique or communications medium. Yeah, studies show that only 10% of information that we only hear is taken in to our memory, and reading about it fares only a little better. Having someone present the information with visual support is only slightly more effective.

However, it’s when we actually get down and do it for ourselves, that it shoots right up – 80% retention rate – and when we need to do it to explain it for others – a whopping 90% (which I guess you’d hope was true!).

It’s one of the reasons why a number of my fellow Readify guys are always encouraging others within the organisation to have a go at training or user group or RDN sessions – preparing to tell others about a block of information requires that you understand it yourself first.

It’s also why we push stuff like hands on labs as being essential components of training sessions – without that hands on, practice for yourself, experience, you’re likely taking in less than half of the information that’s being thrown at you.

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