Tuesday, February 17, 2009

How I Learn

I am finally beginning to put into words and understanding the means by which I learn something new. I'm sure that I could spend time looking through various learning methods and match what I do to their assumptions, but for now ... I'm just going to let this be me.

I've always known parts of this about myself, but now, while I'm trying to learn something that is completely alien to my experience, I am actually trying to figure out what frustrates me in the learning process. Because, let me tell you, I have been more than frustrated in these last few days. Things are not locking into place the way that I'd like them to and now that I'm beginning to comprehend why that is, I'm releasing a bit of the frustration.

Learning has always come easy to me, so I'm guessing that my style of learning is not a big deal. But, when presented with something new, I have had to discover ways to assimilate information quickly and then process it so that I can either translate it for someone else or produce a result.

I learn from makros to mikros (Greek - large to small - see, I am trying!). When Max is working on processing his photographs, the extremely large file sizes cause them to open immediately and when opened, they are blurry. With a little bit of processor crunching, seconds later they snap into focus. This is much like my process. But, I don't always get the large file first. Teachers/Professors insist on teaching by building blocks and foundations and adding to those without giving the overall picture first. And that's when I get frustrated.

1. For example: When I need to learn about a new town, the best way for me to know where I'm going is to look at a street map. I get the overall layout of the city in my head, major streets - whether they're going east-west or north-south or maybe it's one of those wacky cities, surrounding communities, etc. Then, as I begin driving through the area, details lock into place based on the overall map I have in my head.

2. For example: If I am presented with new music to play, I scan through the piece quickly, I also then sightread very well, but there are plenty of mistakes and plenty of issues ahead that I need to process while I am learning the piece. But, again, as I work through it several times, details lock into place and begin to make sense based on the overall structure of the piece of music.

3. For example: I've often wondered why it takes me awhile to warm up in a group process. It's because I have to assimilate all of the information in the room before I begin to cooperate. I need to understand the motives of the individuals in the group and then the processes they use to interact with each other. If I rush too quickly into the conversation, I generally say things that I don't mean or regret later. But, as I see the details coming forth and as I get to know the people that I am working with, I can begin to participate fully.

Which brings me to what I am learning right now. The text, etc. is based on a foundational, building block process. And when I'm presented with things that I haven't learned at all, or am given no way of clarifying my own interpretations of the text, I get easily frustrated. Yes, being in a classroom and getting much one on one time with the professor would eliminate some of this frustration, but at the same time ... this learning process is different than the one I use to succeed.

I find myself looking deeper into the text for answers to the big picture questions and searching online to get answers to questions that aren't even being asked right now. I need to have the overall map of this process so that I can lock in details as I go.

Actually, there are no answers to this right now, but it is certainly nice to understand what I'm looking for!

No comments: