Friday, October 01, 2010

What is Learner-Based? It’s the ‘L’ in Group’s R.E.A.L Philosophy!

How do you learn? I mean really grasp and understand something?

Do you just read and retain? Do you discuss the different elements with a knowledgeable friend? Do you break the content down into an acronym? Or does it come down to brute memorization?

How do you learn?

Fact is; we all have different styles of learning. Some of us are visual learners. We see an image or watch a short film and we’ve got it! That’s why pastors everywhere are always looking for the most poignant illustration possible—they make the point stick.

Others learn with their hands. They have to touch something. Tear it apart. Then put it back together.

Still others have to read and re-read. Some need to study and study and study some more. Essentially, it comes down to face time with the material.

I was reminded of my own learning style last week when I was asked to teach the Greek alphabet to my son’s second grade class. As I was preparing my “lesson”, I couldn’t help but think of the hours I spent in seminary beating the Greek alphabet and language into my head. I had to read and re-read. Memorize. And then I met a group of fellow students to sort through our questions and discuss. My learning style took far more time than many of my classmates, yet that’s what I had to do to learn Biblical Greek.

Group Publishing recognizes that each of us have different learning styles. Within a small group of adults, likely many different styles are represented every time we get together. The question that Group is asking is a good one—what will it take to help everyone learn?

Group also went one step further. They have incorporated many of these styles (visual, interpersonal, etc.) into their study questions and activities.

In R.E.A.L.: Surprisingly Simple Ways to Engage Adults, author Carl Simmons writes, “To help people reach this level of understanding, our questions are surprising, specific, and personal.”

Simmons also adds a trio of elements that could spur others on to deeper levels of learning: interactive experiences, film, and music. Adding these elements into your study may bring the story or content to life for the different learning styles represented in your living room.

How do you learn? If you don’t know, it’s time to find out. Think through a few of the descriptions presented above. Ask your spouse. Ask others in your small group to help you discern how you learn most effectively.

But don’t stop there! Work to find the learning styles of each person in your group. This will help everyone become more consistently engaged in your study time—because they’re actually learning something!

Why? So you can unleash the power of learning in your Christ-centered community!

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This is the fourth and final blog entry on Group’s R.E.A.L. philosophy. I want to hear which element most resonates with you? Which element has challenged your thinking? The top two responses will receive a copy of R.E.A.L.: Surprisingly Simple Ways to Engage Adults for everyone in their small group!

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