Golden principles of teaching and learning

In an ever-interconnected digital world, the concepts of teaching, training and learning are constantly evolving under the auspices of artificial intelligence. There are various ways to teach and learn, including blended, remote and hybrid learning. There are also various tools to teach audiences in both synchronous and asynchronous training, including Microsoft Teams. This article provides the fundamental golden principles of learning, whether that be online, via print materials or in in-person classes.

Golden principles of teaching and learning

  • Answer the “why” first, then the “what” and finally the “how”. Whether you are a trainer or a student, being able to justify why you are learning/teaching what you are learning/teaching is probably the most powerful motivating power in your knowledge acquisition journey. After finding the motive (the “why”), you should then clearly define what the knowledge domain exactly will be (the “what”). When the “why” and the “what” have been answer, only then should you be able to define the “how” of things and get into the details.
  • Understand the big picture. In parallel to being able to analyze complex information and to get deeper into the details, you should also be able to take a step back, reflect and understand the big picture where your piece of learning information resides. This way you should understand your knowledge domain better. Always be ready to research and think about the big picture, the architecture as well as the fundamental concepts and components (building blocks) of your knowledge domain.
  • Review and repeat. Reviewing your learning material has been scientifically proven to increase and deepen the neural synapses in the brain which help you absorb new knowledge and be able to apply it to practice. There are various levels and degrees of competency and familiarity with any taught subject. Bloom’s taxonomy can assist you in understanding the various degrees of understanding depth around any knowledge topic, as shown below. Starting from the total beginner level where “remembering” is the primary capability of the learner, to a Subject Matter Expert (SME), i.e. a topic guru where “creating” genuine training materials and teaching others is the primary natural activity, you should be able to practice all levels of the Bloom’s taxonomy in your learning journey.
  • Keep it simple stupid (KISS principle). Albert Einstein once said, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” Deeply understanding your topic means that you are able to speak about it and explain it to others in a clear and concise way without using too much IT jargon or complex concepts. Beware that simple in this context does not mean simplistic, but rather reflects the ability of the SME to convey complex topics in simple terms.
  • Learn by doing. Simply understanding the theory alone is not sufficient if you want to climb up the ladder of the bloom’s taxonomy. You need to start engaging into practical sessions in which you apply the taught subject into practice. Means to assist you to learn by doing are IT labs, open source projects and the invaluable hands-on experience of more advanced IT professionals. Seek to discover networking possibilities in physical and virtual events and engage with the IT community to acquaint knowledge “from the field”, as provided by experienced IT professionals.
  • Speak/write about it or teach it. Your level of understanding about any IT topic would broaden and deepen if you are able to speak/write about the topic or teach it to someone else. By preparing a training curriculum and by interacting with a trainee audience, you get to approach your knowledge domain in new unique terms and this in turn allows you to enlighten areas you could not imagine of before.