How do we learn? – Exhale

Yesterday, I started with this mini-series about how we learn. I wrote about the 2-part-process of learning, my professor told us about in his lectures. They consist of Inhalation and Exhalation.  Today, I will continue with the second part: Exhalation.

Remember that, until now, you didn’t learn anything, but merely understood. However, there is no shortcut to learning. Without the inhalation process there is learning. The exhalation process also consists of four sub-steps. Furthermore, also this process is prone to disruptions. Let’s have a look at the illustration below:


The first step in the exhalation process is to remember. In your mind, go through the information you gathered during the inhalation process. If you have trouble remembering, try to observe if you are mentally and physically up to the task. Eat, drink, and sleep sufficiently. Then, see if thins improve. Moreover, this is a training of our brain. It might be normal to have problems at the beginning.

The second step is playback. This is done verbally. It is best to have a learning group. Then, you can speak about what you worked on and discuss the material. This helps further process the information. Hearing ourselves speak it out loud helps to better understand. That is why they say that by teaching you will learn more than by being a student. If you don’t have the luxury of a learning group, my professor shared with us what he did. He drew a face on a sheet of paper with huge ears. He called it Hugo and said the ears are so big, because they are perfect for listening =). At the end of each learning session, talk to your Hugo what you have learned that day. Once with your material, and another time without.

The third step is transfer. Think about where else this newly won knowledge could be applied. Come up with examples and work on case studies to apply the knowledge. This helps to apply this knowledge in different situations.

The fourth step is realization. As transfer is a theoretical application of the knowledge, realization is the real-life application. Apply the knowledge during a project or an internship. In the end, knowledge is useless, if it cannot be applied. Realization is the ultimate goal of learning and constitutes the final step of the learning process. Now, you have truly learned something.

A perfect way to deepen the acquired knowledge is by playing games. Simulation games and role-playing games help to apply the knowledge in a safe environment. A way to improve the learning process is by creating learning cards. This will be the topic of tomorrow’s entry.

Hugs and love, Stephan


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Really interesting way of seeing the learning process!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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