Teaching Thinking Through Comparison

fruitOne of the best ways to understand or learn something is to relate the new information to something you already know. Most people don’t do this naturally, however. They often struggle with understanding new information and resort to memorization rather than working with the material to really understand it and internalize it.

Since most people don’t take the time to do this on their own (or don’t know how  to), you can assist their learning by designing activities which cause them to focus on this comparison.

One way is to ask them to create an analogy. For instance, How is continuous improvement like a game of golf? Like building a house? Like shopping for a car? Like a basket of fruit?

Another option is to create a story. Assume your learner must learn the inventory  layout in a cooking store. Their story might be about a customer who is throwing  an important dinner party for their boss. What will they need to make it successful?  What would you suggest they buy? Where are those things located in the store?

If you have an on-going curriculum, asking your learners to relate a new topic to  the topics they’ve already learned is a helpful technique. This type of activity  not only causes them to have to really understand the new material, but to understand  it in a bigger context.

Try any one of these activities in your next training course and see if your learners  don’t say, “oh, now I get it!”