Ross Reflects on Insights Explorations: Learning Styles

Please welcome back to the Floricane blog:  Ross Catrow! Check out where Ross tweets, here, and what things he likes, here. Ross has been a big Insights® fan from the beginning, so we thought we'd ask him what he learned at our latest Insights® Explorations workshop.

I've always heard that most folks are either visual or auditory learners, and I've always thought of myself as very visual. I can remember lectures in college (well, not really, because I mostly fell asleep) where entire classes would slip by as the professor droned on and not a single thing would stick in my brain.

So color me surprised when Kathy dropped this study in front of me at the most recent Insights Explorations. The long and short of it is: Not only are people probably not stuck to just one specific type of learning for their entire lives, but they really can't tell you how they best learn. This blew my mind! You can present a person with information in a way that they prefer (visual, audio, whatever), give them a test on that information, and when they perform poorly on that test they'll tell you—right to your face—that the preferred-yet-not-as-effective method of learning was better! Even though it was clearly not!

Brains, man. Never trust them.

This is all very fascinating, but how does it apply to the magical Insights color wheel? As a group of us talked about the ways in which we learn and which ways are more comfortable, we started to realize that—who would have guessed—learning strategies correspond to Insights types. For example, "role playing," which, for me, sounds terrible, is way across the Insights wheel from where I live. The unreliable narrator part of my brain says that I should never attempt to use role playing as a learning strategy, because "that's just not my style." Well, au contraire, brain! We just learned that you cannot be trusted when it comes to matters of what is and is not effective learning. It's probably best, and the research shows this too, to mix up learning activities—and even push yourself into places that make you feel uncomfortable. Even things like...role playing.

So as I prepare to tackle my next new task (which is probably something boring like, "how to effectively administer surveys to humans"), I'm going to take a look around the Insights wheel and see if there are some techniques that would have (and still do) give me pause. Maybe some of my immediate family will help me role play through asking a total stranger to fill out a survey about buses?