received this question the other day. I thought it was such a great one, and I enjoyed responding to it so much, that I thought I’d share with you here..
“When I read I struggle to obtain and hold in information. I’d really like to study NLP amongst other things. I was wondering if any of you had any links, books and ideas that you would recommend on learning and retaining it.”
My response was as follows…
A few things come to mind Hannah. There have been many studies on reading and learning/ retention. It’s pretty well known that for most people, reading is far from the most effective way of retaining learning.
Why? In part because reading is not normally a fully lived and embodied experience of learning, but rather, a cognitive one. Real learning has to be experienced and embodied. Aside that, the structure often gets lost in the content of a book. So I’d suggest the following:
1. Always read with an outcome or purpose in mind. Preferably both! Ask before you even pick up a book – what’s the purpose of me reading this now? That orients learning.. and action.
2. Go for the structure. What’s the essential message in this paragraph, chapter, book etc?
3. Once you have the structure coded in your experience, find a way to use it, or share it, as soon as possible. That will increase retention. Again, it’s taking it into action/ experience rather than remaining theory.
4. The structure of learning goes something like this:
a) Immersion (in this case reading)
b) Reflection (what stands out/ is key)
c) Action/ Application (how am I going to use this now)
d) Feedback (what needs to change in my model and approach) e) Integration (a way of being where the learning is unconscious)
5. It seems to me that the key aspects of the sequence for you currently are the Reflection and Action pieces. How do you Reflect on what you’ve read and then Apply it?
6. Once you Apply it, you’ll get Feedback on whether what you’re applying is working. Then you can adapt your model/ understanding of the learning and ultimately Integrate the learning as a way of being.
I hope that helps! And great question
p.s. this piece of writing could be fertile ground for you to notice your current learning retention strategy and try something new! After all there is learning in this piece of writing. What will you do with it I wonder? [that goes for you too, if you’re reading this now I hope you enjoyed this as much as Hannah, myself and the WhatsApp Group where the question was posted did. It got me thinking that the way I love sharing most is in response to specific questions from people I know. So fire away with questions about love, life and the Universe (or NLP, business development, coaching and creating any kind of change) and I’ll do my best to respond with something that I hope is useful for you, and others!