We’ve all been there.

It might have been our experience in grade school, high school, college, or even professional development….

There’s an adult at the front of the room, standing and delivering.

We sit ‘n git. We might nod our head as they talk, staying with them as they ramble on, maybe even answering questions they pose.

And then we leave the room.

Maybe we have homework….  “How was I supposed to do this again? I don’t think I understand.”

Maybe there’s a test…  “Did we even talk about that?”

Or we’re supposed to apply it at work the next day…  “It sounded really good yesterday. I just don’t know how to apply what it was we talked about.” And real life takes over and what was presented we never apply.

The question is, did we really learn?

If we didn’t learn, did someone actually teach?

See, that’s the thing. There are two sides to learning: there’s the teaching (or training) and the learning: there’s the teacher (or trainer) and the student (or participant). But if what is presented isn’t learned, was there really anyone teaching or training? Learning certainly didn’t occur. Since there are two sides to learning, can one exist without the other?

Teaching, it seems to me, isn’t just about delivering information or presenting. It’s more than that. It’s about facilitating learning.

That means teaching isn’t the focus, learning is.

That changes things, from where I sit.

Sure, there are theories of how to teach and what the best practice is in training and teaching, but at the end of the day, none of it works if I’m standing in front of a mirror talking to myself.

I’ve seen way too many teachers and trainers who act like that’s exactly what they’re doing; talking to themselves. They get wrapped up in what they’re talking about. They’re encouraged by those in the seats who are looking at them, maybe nodding or smiling. But it stops there. There isn’t any kind of process in the learning.

So…   there’s a learning process?

Yeah, a learning process.

I have researched, studied, and explored both in what others have done and what has worked for me (as a learner and a teacher/trainer). I’ve sought to integrate what brain research tells us the brain likes, and how best to set up students for recall and higher order thinking. This is what I’ve discovered:

Learning requires the transference of knowledge AND the transference of competence.

Knowledge + Competence = Learning

Another way to say it might be:

Information + Skills = Learning

It’s the relationship between these two ideas that gives meaning to teaching and learning. It’s the equation that allows us to know what to teach with a process that lays out how we are to teach it so the learner can learn it.

It’s a combination of instructional strategy and design; Bloom’s Taxonomy and delivery; applied brain research; and intentionality and clear direction. It’s about a process.

Here’s the Learning Process I know and love:

I like it for several reasons (besides the fact that it’s my synthesis). It clearly identifies the stages of learning and the order required to move a learner through knowledge and information (the stair step content in the graphic) AND through competence (in the red).

It also gives what is needed to create intentionality in how information is delivered and how skills and competence are developed. Remember, it takes both knowledge and competence to equal learning.

When we design our training and teaching in a way that progresses the learner through the process, what is learned is understood, able to be applied and analyzed, and can be synthesized into what is already known in a way that invites evaluation and improvement.

©Flickr, 2011, Ian Boyd
©Flickr, 2011, Ian Boyd

That is why we are not really “teachers” or “trainers.”

We are learning facilitators.

How does that all sit with you?

I look forward to hearing your thoughts and, perhaps, even your own idea of learning process!

Until next time!

With Respect,

Leah Kyaio, M.ED


Leah is co-owner and CEO of With Respect, LLC where she continues to offer services for educators and trainers. For more information on how you can learn more from Leah and her team, check out https://with-respect.com.
Please note the images in this blog are used from the internet. It is my intention to give credit if it is known. If you know to whom credit should be given for any of the above images (not the graphic – that’s mine) please let me know!