The Learning Pyramid is designed to illustrate how children learn and rate them hierarchically according to their effectiveness. The pyramid is made up of six different learning methods: Listen, Read, Observe, Practice, Do, Teach. These are the six ways humans learn. Modern schools have their students start at the bottom of the pyramid and progress upward until reaching the third phase. This is where the educational journey ends in most schools. Unfortunately, students will never reach full comprehension of a subject until they complete the top stage – TEACH.
For example, let’s say you want to learn how to ride a horse. You would start by asking other people everything they know about horse riding. This is the listening phase. Listening is a great start, but you will never learn to ride a horse by simply listening to others’ descriptions. So, you take the next step. Stage 2 is reading. You read every book you can get your hands on about riding horses. The concept of riding is really starting to grow, but you still have not learned how to ride. The next step is observing people riding horses. Every day after work you go down to a local horse coral and watch others ride.
Now you can see first hand how to ride and can imagine yourself riding, but you still do not know how to ride. You need to practice. So, you take the next step and sign up for riding lessons. You practice for weeks. The instructor takes you by the hand, showing you how to approach a horse, how to put your saddle on, how to mount a horse, how to trot and dismount. Finally, you are ready! You take a horse out on your own. There is no instructor holding the reins. You have finally learned to ride a horse. Or have you? Teaching someone else to ride a horse is the final stage, the pinnacle, of our learning pyramid. If you can successfully teach someone else to ride, from beginning to end, you will have finally mastered the learning pyramid for horse riding!
Listen, Read, Observe, Practice, Do and Teach are the six stages of the learning pyramid, but you do not necessarily have to go through all six. In fact, you could start with the 4th phase, practice, and still learn how to ride a horse as long as you compete the top two stages of the pyramid. Sadly, today’s schools rarely progress past the first three stages. Generally, students listen to lectures and read a few pages in a text-book. Considering that this is as high as they progress, it is no wonder that public schooling has become so ineffective.