he education system is in constant flux. Teaching curricula and accompanying teaching styles need to be constantly updated in order to keep up with the changing times. The fact is, traditional learning methods no longer take us far enough. It's time to break the cycle of failure in education by learning, unlearning, and relearning.
This blog post will talk about why this approach is essential. We’ll look at practical strategies and ideas to help learners explore, unlearn, and relearn. Get ready to let go of outdated mindsets and be empowered to shape the world by making choices that transform your personal experiences.
We’ll also discuss real-life stories of how the process of learning, unlearning, and relearning led to success. You’ll gain insights into the things that work and those that don’t when it comes to keeping up with our constantly changing world. This post will also equip you with the knowledge and growth mindset needed to make the most out of any form of education.
It’s time to break free. Let's dive in!
What Does It Mean To Learn, Unlearn, and Relearn?
Learning, unlearning, and relearning is a cycle of gaining and applying knowledge, discarding out-of-date information, and gaining new information that builds upon and updates the previous knowledge. It involves staying current in the world and reflecting on one’s current opinions and beliefs to potentially revise them.
This process can be beneficial to education, as it encourages students to think critically and form their own opinions on a subject. It helps learners stay current and up-to-date on recent data and research.
In most cases, the process is iterative, meaning that information and perspectives can be changed and adapted as the learner's knowledge base grows or further research is done. Ultimately, the process can help students become more informed about the topics they are learning, leading to more effective teaching and learning.
How Does The Cycle Work?
The human brain possesses a remarkable capacity to learn, unlearn, and relearn. The formal idea of learning, unlearning, and relearning is based on the fact that the learning process requires individuals to be open to new ideas and ways of thinking.
The learn, unlearn relearn cycle encourages you to use your critical thinking skills to analyze and challenge knowledge to ascertain its current relevance. It begins with the learning phase, which involves acquiring new knowledge, skills, and strategies. This can happen through formal education, job training, or self-teaching. Once the new knowledge is acquired, it is important to practice and integrate it into our daily lives.
Next is the unlearning phase, which is a conscious decision to challenge our existing beliefs and assumptions. This process is important to keep our minds open and to be able to evaluate a new perspective objectively. Through unlearning, individuals can adapt and modify their beliefs to better fit the current context. Learning and unlearning can be seen as two sides of the same coin.
The last phase is the relearning phase, which is the process of taking the lessons learned in the unlearning phase and putting them into practice. This can include experimenting with different ideas and strategies, problem-solving, collaboration, and adjusting goals and objectives.
The learn, unlearn, relearn cycle engages a deeper level of thinking that gives a more comprehensive understanding. Learning, unlearning, and relearning are lifelong learning processes that ensure we stay ahead in a rapidly changing world. The remarkable capacity of humans to learn, unlearn, and relearn skills and knowledge allows us to become life-long learners.
What is Learning?
Learning is acquiring knowledge, skills, and behaviors through studying, practice, and experience. It involves understanding, being able to explain and remember information, and the application of that understanding in real-world situations. It is a process that happens over time and through practice, leading to an increase in knowledge and the ability to perform specific tasks or activities. Learners need a lot of discipline to learn anything today because we are presented with an astounding volume of data amounting to 34 Gigabytes daily. About 40% of students surveyed can’t go 10 minutes without being distracted by their phones/devices.
Learning focuses on understanding and developing the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to become an effective individual and takes place across all age groups, from infancy to adulthood. Learning is an active process, which implies that the learner is actively engaged with the material being studied and making sense of it.
The learner is actively selecting and organizing information, evaluating new information to draw conclusions, and emphasizing some ideas regarding existing knowledge. This active involvement helps the learner to gain a deeper understanding of the material they are studying.
Learning also involves feedback, which can include reinforcement, such as rewards, or criticism and corrective action. By providing feedback, educators or trainers can help to ensure that learners continue to focus on the content to make progress.
Learning could also be transferring information and developing skills from one context to another, as well as from one individual to another. The learning process helps to increase knowledge, develop expertise, and enhance understanding.
Learning is an ongoing process that could involve formal, structured learning in classrooms or self-guided learning. Learning occurs in a variety of contexts and can take many different forms. It is fundamental to personal growth and development, ensuring individuals achieve their full potential.
Types of Learning
The VARK model identifies four distinct primary types of learning: visual, aural, reading/writing, and kinesthetic.
- Visual learning: Visual learning is using visual learning tools, such as pictures, diagrams, and images, to better understand and remember information. Visual learners tend to rely on observing and interpreting visual resources. They excel when they can compare or "see" and understand a variety of different processes or ideas in the same context. Videos are essential tools that aid visual learners. 88% of large businesses in the US used video for employee training in 2019.
- Aural learning: Aural learning is learning through listening and sound. Aural learners remember and process information best through listening to audio recordings, lectures, conversations, and music, sound effects, and stories.
Aural learners may also use sound-based technologies, such as radio and television programs, podcasts, and audio books. This learning process focuses on listening skills, such as interpreting, recalling, and thinking critically about what has been heard.
- Read/Write learning: Read/Write learners absorb and internalize information best through reading and writing activities. They prefer to read written instructions; take notes during lectures; take notes when studying; and use their written notes to review material. The average adult reads at an average speed of 238 words per minute (WPM).
Read/Write learners find that summarizing material and writing essays or reports on it helps them understand and remember the material. Written outlines and diagrams are also helpful study aids. Read/Write learners often see the benefit of breaking down complicated topics into smaller, easier-to-understand pieces and using written conversations or instruction to explain or illustrate the material.
- Kinesthetic learning: This is a type of learning in which students learn by doing physical or hands-on activities. It is a tactile learning style that involves the learner engaging with their environment to understand concepts and remember information.
In terms of learning, this may mean touching and manipulating objects, climbing on playgrounds, reading by tracking words with a finger, or role-playing. Kinesthetic learners often prefer experimenting, physically moving, and constructing problems to understand them better.
Why is Learning Important?
Here are four top reasons why learning is important.
- Learning enables us to understand concepts, acquire knowledge, and develop skills that can be applied in our everyday lives. It lets us stay informed on the latest developments and changes, which can be especially important in competitive or rapidly changing environments.
- Learning gives us the opportunity to gain a sense of accomplishment and achievement, which can be achieved through the mastery of a new form of knowledge. This contributes to our self-confidence and self-esteem.
- Learning encourages creativity and innovation, as it encourages us to explore and experiment with various skills and approaches. Not only can this create new opportunities, but it also allows us to discover parts of ourselves and facilitate professional career growth.
- Learning helps us to develop social and problem-solving skills, which are invaluable in the world today. It encourages us to think critically and take initiative. Learning could also improve the work life balance of professionals.
What is Unlearning?
Unlearning is the act of purging established hard earned knowledge to make room for fresh knowledge. Unlearning is sometimes referred to as the art of "unknowing."
Unlearning challenges previously held conceptions and biases to bring about a growth mindset and positive changes in our lives. It can be imperative in cases where our current knowledge needs to be updated to have improved personal experiences.
Types of Unlearning
- Cognitive Unlearning: Cognitive unlearning replaces existing attitudes, beliefs, and mental models with new ones. This type of unlearning can involve adopting new behavioral strategies, reevaluating ideas and assumptions, and challenging existing thinking patterns. It involves rethinking conventional wisdom, and ideologies and replacing them with more progressive and productive ideas.
- Procedural Unlearning: Procedural unlearning is the process of unwinding existing workflows and replacing them with new methods. The goal of procedural unlearning is to undo existing structures, procedures, and habits and make them less prone to poor results, inefficiencies, and mistakes. This type of unlearning involves removing existing steps in a process, introducing automation and technology, and optimizing productivity to enable employees to be more successful.
- Social Unlearning: Social unlearning refers to reprioritizing values, norms, and relationships within an organization that had previously been harmful. This type of unlearning can involve creating inclusive workplaces, meaningful conversations between stakeholders, and holding individuals accountable for their actions. This type of unlearning represents the concept of addressing historical inequalities and injustices.
- Technology Unlearning: Technology unlearning involves the process of replacing old technology with new and more efficient tools, software, and applications. Organizations can unlearn their old technology stacks and replace them with modern, agile options that reduce complexity, increase speed, and improve scalability. This type of unlearning helps organizations stay competitive, prepare for the future, and provide employees with the necessary tools to work more effectively. It reflects how valuable unlearning could be.
Why is Unlearning Important?
Here are four importance of unlearning.
- Create Space for Adaptability: Unlearning allows you to evaluate their behaviors and beliefs and question their relevance in the present times. It also enables you to constantly adapt to changing circumstances and new trends.
- Generate New Thinking: Unlearning encourages you to challenge the status quo and think of fresh, unconventional solutions to existing problems. It’s necessary to continually unlearn old ideas and consider different perspectives.
- Enhance Creativity: By freeing oneself from existing preconceptions and wrong beliefs, individuals can broaden their perspectives, access higher-order thinking, and increase their creativity and originality.
- Improve Relationships: It is easier to say than to implement: unlearn to learn. But did you also realize that self-development can quickly become a lonely path? Therefore, it is necessary to build relationships. Unlearning helps you reassess problematic beliefs and feelings, leading to healthier, more meaningful relationships with others. You need to continually analyse your belief system and feelings to unlearn.
What is Relearning?
Relearning is remembering what was once known but has been forgotten. It can involve many activities, such as reviewing old material, studying new material, and engaging in relevant conversations. It is a powerful concept that can help us refresh our skills and stay relevant.
Relearning helps us to stay updated with the latest developments, gain valuable insights, and allows us to put what we have learned into practice.
Types of Relearning
- Online Relearning: This type of relearning uses internet-based tools such as websites, podcasts, social media groups, and virtual classrooms.
- In-Classroom Relearning: This type of relearning involves classroom-based instruction with a teacher or instructor guiding all the learning processes.
- Self-Directed Relearning: This type of relearning involves self-directed study, such as reading textbooks and researching topics online.
- Experiential Relearning: This type of relearning involves hands-on learning and problem-solving.
- Coaching and Mentoring Relearning: This type of relearning relies on the guidance of an experienced mentor or coach.
Why Is Relearning Important?
Relearning is important to stay updated with the latest trends and developments in any field. This ensures that professionals have the most up-to-date knowledge and that their skills remain current. Relearning helps to bridge the gap between traditional methods and current state-of-the-art tools.
It helps to build on knowledge and skills already developed, allowing learners and professionals to build on their current level of awareness and expand on their areas of expertise. How to relearn good habits? You’ll need to develop more critical thinking skills.
What Should You Learn?
Upskilling and reskilling in today’s world are essential steps to help individuals acquire new skills. Continuous learning helps you stay competitive in an ever-changing job market. Upskilling and reskilling progressively are necessary for every individual. Research reveals that, by 2025, half of all employees will require reskilling.
- Digital Skills: This includes the acquisition of basic computer skills such as coding, machine learning, and web development. With the vast majority of the world being digital, there is a huge demand for individuals with basic IT skills. With technological advances today, an entire industry could be built through digital skills.
- Soft Skills: This refers to having excellent communication, teamwork, and problem- solving skills. They are vital employment skills all students should acquire. Good communication is particularly one of the top life long skills everyone needs.
- Leadership and Management Training: Given the complexity of today’s world and the continuously changing job market, employers want individuals who can think ahead and lead large teams.
- Mentoring and Coaching: With the increasingly complex job market, tutors need to be able to guide their students on career-related matters.
- Adapting to Technology: As technology continues to become a significant part of our lives, tutors need to learn how to make use of this technology in instructing students.
- Understanding Job Markets: An understanding of the current job markets and their major trends will ensure that tutors remain competitive.
- Data Analysis: With the influx of large amounts of data, organizations need to engage in upskilling and reskilling in data analysis for efficient decision-making. In the US, the average company spent $1,071 per employee for training and development in 2021.
- Understanding the World Market: Globalization has changed the way businesses operate. Companies need to understand different markets and the latest trends in the business world to remain competitive.
How to Adjust to Unlearning and Embrace Relearning
To succeed in self-development, you must unlearn and relearn new things. Here are the best practices for dealing with unlearning while also enjoying the relearning process.
Don’t be afraid of failure
Unlearning and relearning can be difficult, so don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t happen overnight. It can take patience and effort to overcome your old habits, but it’s important to accept that failure is a natural part of the process.
You should be willing to ask questions when you don't know how to unlearn something new. So, don't be afraid to ask questions as you relearn new ways of doing things. Even small improvements in your knowledge can help you progress and make the most out of the process. Asking questions and getting answers ensure your level of knowledge doesn’t remain constant.
Take small steps
Learning to unlearn is not an overnight process. Don’t try to take on too much at once. Change can be tricky, so try to break down the process into small, manageable tasks. This is a way to develop great productive habits. Research reveals that it takes around 66 days to form a new habit.
Read and research
Take some time to familiarize yourself with the topic or skill before trying to relearn it. Doing research can be extremely beneficial when you want to learn and unlearn.
Make sure to practice the new skills you’re learning. Continuously updating knowledge and skills must go together with regular practice. People usually forget 80% of what they learn within 30 days of initial exposure. Regular practice is the best way to ensure you retain information and improve proficiency.
Find a mentor
You'll need a guide if you're going to learn to unlearn. Having an experienced mentor to guide you through the relearning process can be invaluable. Whether it’s a teacher, coworker, or friend, having someone to answer questions and give you advice can make the transition easier.
Real-life Examples of Unlearning, Learning and Relearning
Learning and unlearning are never easy journeys. It is beneficial to gain inspiration from a relearning personal history. This could be individuals or businesses that needed to break old habits in order to succeed. So, to get you started, here are some examples.
Erica Joy Baker
Erica Joy Baker is a globally recognized Senior Software Engineer who has worked with leading tech companies, including Google, Microsoft, GitHub, Slack, and Patreon. She has a great account of valuable unlearning, learning, and relearning.
When she started her career, she had a “traditional” view of the tech industry. She viewed tech as a “man’s world” and believed she had to work twice as hard to keep up with the boys. As she progressed in her career, she had to unlearn those views to succeed.
She had to learn to focus on developing her skills and understanding how to collaborate and network with coworkers. These experiences forced her to relearn what it truly means to be a successful engineer. Through her journey, she became a sought-after expert and instructor in the tech community.
The tech giant Google is another great example of how unlearning, learning, and relearning can be used for success. In its early stages, Google fully embraced the concept of “fail fast, learn quickly” and widely integrated it into its culture.
Google uses rapid iterations of testing and learning to develop its products. By unlearning its old ways and embracing new ideas, Google quickly moved into new markets and became a dominant player in the tech industry. They also learned new approaches to solving problems and being flexible in their product development process in a constantly changing world. These new techniques have allowed Google to stay ahead of changing trends and remain innovative despite its size.
How EducateMe Facilitates Learning, Unlearning, and Relearning
EducateMe facilitates learning, unlearning, and relearning by offering an all-in-one and customizable learning management system. The cohort-based platform allows instructors to create, deliver, and manage engaging online learning experiences easily.
EducateMe LMS allows users to update and customize course content quickly, allowing learning and unlearning to stay on top of emerging topics or changes in the industry. It also facilitates the relearning process through various reporting features and analytics that can help organizations monitor and measure the level of progress in employee training.
With its easy-to-use interface and robust features, EducateMe is an ideal solution for institutions and organizations looking to improve learning outcomes and maximize learner engagement.