Here’s what hell looks like to me: having to wake up every morning and immediately go sit in a room for eight hours while someone talks about a topic of their choosing in far more more detail than is necessary. I’m sorry, did I say hell? I meant school.
If there’s one thing that gets me about school, it’s the lectures. There’s the sitting still. The total passiveness of the whole undertaking.
My preferred way of learning has always been this:
- Get a high-level summary of the main concepts
- Revisit in more detail the particular points you’re unsure about, or clarify those points through applying the concepts in a hands-on way
This type of learning is one where you as the learner are in control. Imagine yourself flipping through a textbook: you can go read the first paragraph of every section to get an overview, then go back and study in more detail in whatever order works.
Listening to a lecture is like having your teacher read the textbook in sequential order all at the same speed without stopping. You don’t have time to pause and reflect on the places you need to, and if your attention flags, there’s no way of going back and rereading. At the same time, you also have to wait for your teacher to read through one section of the textbook before you know what the next section is – there’s no high-level map.
When teaching, many people have a natural inclination to give a slow buildup with lots of details. Heck, as a blogger I’m sure I do the same thing, but the nice thing about the written word is that you can skim, skip forward, or read in whatever order you like! With lectures and verbal explanations, no such luck.
I’ve been talking about school, where I found (past tense, I graduated!) this problem especially frustrating. But it’s applicable to many situations. So often, I just want someone to give me a high-level bullet-point summary, but they intersperse the main points with many unnecessary details.
One problem with this way of explaining things is that the more details you add, the more likely I am to “zone out,” therefore missing the main point when you actually get to it!
So let me ask, on behalf of ADHDers everywhere: please just get to the point!
Image: Flickr/Jason Scragz