The Learning Pyramid demonstrates a hierarchy of effective study methods which can enhance your retention capability. Once you implement the learning pyramid, you can retain information better and for a longer time. This is a tip that most students miss out on. They follow the traditional method of taking notes and memorizing them.
Once you have the learning pyramid under your grasp, you will be able to make the impossible possible. The Learning Pyramid consists of several levels with a percentage of importance allocated to each of them. Read ahead to understand the concept better.
- What is the Learning Pyramid Model?
- Who Created Learning Pyramid Theory?
- The Learning Pyramid Edgar Dale
- Different Elements of The Learning Pyramid
- FAQs on The Learning Pyramid National Training Laboratories
Imagine a triangular cone divided into several levels. Each level contains a study method or process. Now allocate the following in a hierarchical manner to the pyramid – lecture (5%), reading (10%), audio-visual (20%), demonstration (30%), discussion (50%), practice by doing (75%), teaching others (90%).
A learning pyramid model consists of exactly these levels with these percentages marked beside them. These percentages denote the amount of retention capacity each method provides you. The first four learning methods (lecture, reading, audio-visual, and demonstration) are known as Passive Learning Methods. The next four qualify as active learning methods (demonstration, discussion, practice by doing, and teaching others).
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Years of studies and research at the National Training Laboratory revealed that many students remember only 10% of what they learn from textbooks. But, if the student teaches that concept or topic to another, then they can retain 90% of what they had learned for the longest time.
The learning pyramid came into existence solely for this reason. This cone of learning will help you understand why some methods are more effective than others in helping you retain information.
The earliest representation of the learning pyramid can be traced back to a 1945 book named Audio-Visual Methods in Teaching. This pyramid model was designed and developed by the National Training Laboratories Institute during the 1960s.
The lab was then situated in Bethel, Maine. The internal research of this sample has been lost but it still persisted as the central inspiration from which other models originated. This model by National Training Laboratories (NTL) consists of several levels which are as follows:
- Reading – Helps in 10% memory retention.
- Hearing – 20%
- Viewing Images – 30%
- Watching Videos – 30%
- Attending Exhibits/sites – 50%
- Watching a Demonstration – 50%
- Participating in Workshops – 70%
- Design Collaborative lessons – 70%
- Stimulating, Modelling, or experiencing a lesson – 90%
- Designing a presentation. Gaining real experience – 90%
By reading and hearing, students can mostly learn to define, list, and explain the concepts. By attending audio-visual lessons and practicing in workshops, students can easily apply the knowledge they have gained. This gives them more practical experience and better insight into the subject matter.
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Lastly, by creating presentations or group projects, students get the opportunity to analyze and evaluate the knowledge they have attained and test its practicality. The last method is an extremely effective study method and is recommended that all students inculcate it.
In 1946, Edgar Dale, an American educator introduced to us the concept of Cone of Experience in a textbook focusing on audiovisual ways of teaching. Dale revised the book in 1954 and in 1969 again.
Edgar Dale’s “Cone of Experience” is made up of a handful of theories involving methodical design and studying processes. Edgar Dale theorized this model during the early 1960s and it provided a concrete idea to learners on how to retain more information for a longer time span. Dale’s Cone of Experience asks students to focus on “do” more than “hear” or “read” or “observe”.
Dale’s research suggests that students can only retain 10% of what they hear, 20% of whatever they read, and 30% of what they learn audio-visually. These allocated percentages increase as the method edges towards interactive and hands-on performances.
According to Dale, practical experiences of any acquired knowledge represent reality and help you relate your knowledge to everyday life. This cone draws the standard retention rate of a student based on various methods of studying and teaching as well.
The more you progress downward, the higher your capability to retain the information shared. Thus, the action-learning methods are more effective and contribute up to 90% memory retention.
Dale through this method convinced us to adopt more perceptual learning methods. The more the students get to interact with the source of the knowledge, the better their grip on it.
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Gloss over the steps below to know which learning method will give you the best return in terms of retention rate. The NLT institute presented this Applied Behavioural Learning Pyramid in the ascending order of its importance. They are –
This level of the pyramid is the topmost and has little to contribute to the process of learning and storing information. It is considered to be one of the most passive forms of learning where the student passively listens or takes notes during the class lectures. This is akin to being spoon-fed information by your teacher.
A student won’t be able to learn or retain information just by attending lectures passively. To make this process more fruitful, the students can come prepared for the classes.
Reading is the first and primary approach to learning and understanding concepts. Reading occupies the second level in the learning pyramid. While being a slightly more effective method than passively sitting for lectures, reading still will not make a huge difference. Students who cannot process information through visual learning styles will still suffer from forgetting all they had learned.
In the learning pyramid, the audio-visual method has more importance because it triggers your imaginative capacity and helps you relate. The impression created by learning something audio-visually stays longer. Teachers can use various tools such as video presentations, pictures, graphs, charts, movies, and other graphics in order to adopt this method.
Students who not only go through lectures and read, but also try to inculcate the knowledge in an audio-visual manner is proven to have memorized the information longer. Further, using this learning method makes studying a fun activity and no longer cumbersome.
Demonstration learning involves many educational projects and presentations through which students get the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge. Demonstration learning can be a great experience for both students and teachers alike.
This is one of the active learning methods which proves to be more effective than passive ways of studying. Students can use their extracurricular skills to express their knowledge of the concept. They can do an art project or a photobook or even organize short plays through audio-video presentations.
Group discussion is an apt technique to build students’ interactive skills and confidence. Through this cooperative learning method, students can achieve greater retention capability and their academic results are expected to turn out brilliant.
Group discussion also makes students extremely open-minded to others’ opinions and smart about replying to them as well. This is an awesome personality-development skill too.
Practice by solving/doing
Discover learning is one of the best tried and tested methods that lead to maximum memory retention. Many students will just rote learn or take notes or solve questions that might come in the exams. But, toppers try to discover the meanings of complex topics by themselves and then proceed to clear doubts with the teacher in the class.
This is the most practical way of grasping any new concept/topic. You can only simply explain a concept and teach others when you have a superior understanding of it. Teaching requires patience, skill, and knowledge.
It also builds better retention capability since your brain automatically connects the dots when you teach someone about something. This is a brilliant way for students to retain what they have learned for the longest time period.
Do Check Related Articles:
1. What is the meaning of the learning pyramid?
Ans: A Learning pyramid compiles different study methods divided into passive and active learning. Each kind of learning has been allocated a percentage which signifies the amount each method contributes to memory retention of knowledge for students.
2. Who discovered the learning pyramid?
Ans: It was first discovered in the National Training Laboratories Institute. Later, it was modified by Edgar Dale to create the “Cone of Experience”.
3. What is the highest form of learning?
Ans: Teaching others or gaining hands-on knowledge on the topic, is the best kind of learning that helps with superior memory retention.
The Bottom Line
We hope that this article gave you an apt insight into the learning pyramid and its nuances. You can now judge for yourself as to which kind of learning works for you: passive or active. Following that, you can sketch yourself a properly analyzed learning pyramid. You can also read more articles on studying methods and topper tips on our website onlinestemdegrees.com.