Learn More About How We Learn…

How do you learn best? Over the years, I’ve discovered that taking action helps me to learn. I call this “learning by doing.” After teaching for seven years now, I’ve seen that my students seem to enjoy “learning by doing,” too. Research backs up this approach. A few months ago, I wrote a post that included this Cone of Learning from Edgar Dale:

Since we “tend to remember 90% of what we SAY and DO,” according to the Cone of Learning, we take this multi-sensory approach to teaching and learning in my classroom (which is actually a computer lab equipped with brand-new Macs) at Rider University, and we’re seeing great results!

Both of my classes are writing classes (COM106 Writing for the Communication Professions and COM107 Persuasive Writing for the Media), so you might be asking, “How are they taking a multi-sensory approach in a writing course?” It’s simple: We take every opportunity to present our work and our assignments to each other. For some assignments (like the “crisis news releases” we learned to write last week), students are “teaming up” and “competing” as they prepare the assignments that are eventually presented to everyone in class. This approach works for us. How about you?

Please tell us how you learn best and if you agree with the ideas presented in the Cone of Learning above. And even if you don’t agree with the “Cone,” you have to admit that it’s a pretty visual that brightens up my blog! 😉 Until next time, take care — and thanks for reading!

Kathy Magrino


  1. Kathy Snavely says

    Exactly why my students in my Product Management for Entrepreneurs class in fall and Marketing for Entrepreneurs in the Spring do class project. That real world interaction with real clients helps reinforce what we discuss in class – use it or lose it! Thanks for the reminder!

    • Kathy Magrino says

      Hi, Kathy. Thanks for your comments! I think it’s so important for today’s students to learn in the “real world” environment where they can take action and apply the information and skills they’re learning. And you’re right when you say, “Use it or lose it!”

  2. I agree with the Cone of Learning to a certain degree.

    I am a visual leaner. I need to see and read to absorb new information. For it to stick I then need to do something with it, to take action.

    I do believe that the action part combined with other learning modalities is the key.


    • Kathy Magrino says

      Hi, Sandy. Thanks for posting your thoughts here! I’m a “visual learner” too. But, lately I’ve been thinking that maybe we’re all just “multi-sensory learners” and some of us haven’t been given the opportunity to make this discovery…

  3. LOL – so that’s why I do so much better when I “talk” something out loud! I find that I can compose perfect speeches and essays by saying them aloud. I used to appear crazy talking while going down the turnpike, but with the proliferation of bluetooth devices, now everyone does it and I fit right in!
    I have to write it (I took copious notes in school) or say it for it to stick.

    • Kathy Magrino says

      Thanks for your comments (and the laughs), Jane! Yes, talking out loud in the car by ourselves seems to be OK these days… I do it, too! 😉 I also recommend to students in my writing classes that they always read their writing out loud because your eyes alone might trick you into thinking a sentence is okay. But you’re more likely to “hear” any awkwardness or errors… Thanks, again!

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