Clive Shepherd: ten things I know about learning

By John Helmer January 25, 2016

Clive ShepherdWe’re very pleased to have Clive Shepherd, Founding Director at The More Than Blended Learning Company, and a thought leader in our industry, as a guest on this blog. Clive has contributed this piece to The Curve Magazine – packed with useful tips and insights – which you can pick up at our Learning Lounge event on 3 February 2016.

  1. We will not learn without paying close attention. We will only do that if we regard what’s going on as relevant to us.
  1. Novices are easily overloaded with new information. Paying close attention is tiring.
  1. Five minutes is probably as much time as most of us want to spend attending to new information. On the other hand, we are happy to spend hours engaged with stories or solving challenging problems.

  1. We can’t attend to two verbal stimuli at the same time (say text and speech). We have to choose one or the other and this can be distracting.
  1. For learning to take place in the long term, we must work with new information. We don’t necessarily need to interact with other people or with content to do this, but it will help.
  1. Pictures, stories and emotionally charged situations are much more memorable than abstract ideas and instructions.
  1. All new learning must be connected with prior knowledge through association and pattern recognition. Good teaching helps us to do this.
  1. Recall of knowledge is aided by rehearsal and practice spaced over time. Cramming provides a short-term hit but the benefits fade quickly.
  1. Practice without constructive feedback is ineffective. Feedback that just tells us we are right or wrong is not enough.
  1. The process of learning is not always enjoyable nor does it need to be (although it should not be overly stressful). It is the fact of having learned something that is enjoyable.

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