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Debunking the Learning Pyramid: What Does Work?

By December 9, 2014Learning Myths
learning pyramid

When it comes to fostering the learning of our children, what works? This popular learning pyramid is still used today even though it’s been thoroughly debunked by multiple sources.

“Education is an act of love and courage,”-Paulo Freire

What we do know from research is that active learning strategies work best and lecturing alone is a limited tool. Active learning involves the parallel processing of experiences (action) and thought (reflection). There are four main categories of active learning strategies that can overlap:

  1. Talking and Listening
    When your child talks with you about what they’re learning, answers a question, or explains a concept, it helps them organize the information and reinforces their learning.
  2. Writing
    Writing is an excellent tool especially for children who need time for introspection. Depending on the personality of your child, they may want to externally process through talking and listening first. Or, they may want to think through their ideas through writing before they talk.
  3. Reading
    Have your child provide a summary, or synopsis of what they read. This helps build the neural pathways to focus on the highlights and key points of what they read. By providing a summary, they internalize the information and actively process it.
  4. Reflecting
    Paolo Freire was a famous Brazilian educator who was one of the greatest proponents of active learning and reflection. For Freire, reflection creates a “critical consciousness” wherein learners become actors instead of passive learners, and are able to make their own decisions.

At home, you can practice active learning by involving the whole family, with a child one-on-one, by encouraging play dates and inviting friends over and engaging in fun, educational activities and games.

The University of Minnesota has great resources on basic active learning strategies. Get involved in your child’s development around values before you need to lecture them. Check out some of our free activities to help spark the conversations on what matters most.

About Kristi L. Kremers

Kristi is an author, RYT-500 yoga teacher, leadership consultant, and founder of Guided by Bliss records.

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