Sunday, May 16, 2004


I think there are several steps involved in "processing" new learning:

1) Summarize - What just happened? (Either in terms of an experience, or something you've read, etc.)
2) Reflect - What does it mean (to me, to others, to my professional context, to my family, etc.)?
3) Connect - How does it connect to other things I know or experiences I've had?
4) Extend - In what other contexts would this be useful/could this be applied?

I think many people skip all 4. Most stay at Step 1 (Summary). There are a reasonable number who might make it to Step 2 (Reflection) - but generally only regarding one or two of the contexts in their lives--in other words, they may reflect professionally, but not on their personal life, their family, their identity, how they fit into the world or their community, etc., and vice versa. Step 3 (Connection) is a logical outcome of Step 2 (Reflection), but most people only make limited connections to other concepts or experiences that are easily accessible from the original point of reference. To make the "bigger leaps," you have to do more reflecting, and once people have "achieved" one connection or two, they assume they have found them all (or, are at least satisfied to the point that they stop looking for new ones). Plus, many people don't see the value inherent in trying to cross-apply what they learn in one context to a new one. Step 4 (Extension) - Seldom do people (and yes, I do mean adults) make it to this point (at least with any degree of regularity or consistency--it tends to be kind of hit or miss), in my opinion.

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