The Most Effective Learning Methods – The Results

Yesterday I posted a blank graph and asked where you thought the labels should go for the most effective learning methods, according to a study they read to me and other teachers here at the University of Washington. Here are the labels in the correct order according to that study – and remember, “Teaching” here means one student explaining something to another:


It isn’t really that surprising to learn that we comprehend best when we have to teach a subject to someone else, and you can see that the “participation factor” is the key in the learning methods. The real shocker was the retention level at the various learning modes – lecture was down near the single digits!

What does this have to do with databases or the DBA? Well, we all need to learn new things – and many of us are asked to teach others a new task. To be a good teacher, we have to know how a student learns best – and of course that makes us better students as well. So next time you’re asked to transfer some knowledge to someone else, take a look at this chart first – and let me know how it affected your knowledge transfer.

Comments (5)

  1. Brian Tkatch says:

    Learning is very much based on personality type (Briggs studied this). Some retain better, some understand better. Some care to know the whole subject, some care to know the "relevant" parts. Some want it all now, some want it piecemeal.

    Saying teaching is better seems to mean they retain what they were taught. But the other methods may well give them even more information.

  2. Brad M McGehee says:

    One of the reasons I like to teach is because it forces me to fully learn and master a topic.

  3. Jason Hasner says:

    Hi Buck, do you have a link to the original study?

  4. squiddo queen says:

    i have read a line somewhere that says, "it doesn't necessarily follow that because you know a thing, you can teach it." but i believe that if the student is willing to learn & the teacher i thorough & patient enough, some real good knowledege will be imparted.


  5. Jason Yousef says:

    Well, I would say the best way of learning is by doing and learning from your mistakes, it works well with me.

Skip to main content