There are many forms of learning. I do not even think anyone can make an exhaustive list. However, Section 5 of Learning and teaching methods that work. In, How to teach vocational education: a theory of vocational pedagogy. – by Lucas, B., Spencer, E., & Claxton, G. (2012) listed many notable ones. These include:
- Learning by watching.
- Learning by imitating.
- Learning by practising (‘trial and error’).
- Learning through feedback.
- Learning through conversation.
- Learning by teaching and helping.
- Learning by real-world problem-solving.
- Learning through enquiry.
- Learning by thinking critically and producing knowledge.
- Learning by listening, transcribing and remembering.
- Learning by drafting and sketching.
- Learning by reflecting.
- Learning on the fly.
- Learning by being coached.
- Learning by competing.
- Learning through virtual environments.
- Learning through simulation and role play.
- Learning through games.
One form of learning that is gaining traction, popularity and usefulness in all walks of life, is learning by watching, due to the advent of the YouTube and similar platforms. The ability to watch how a cake is baked, from A to Z, usually enable one to learn how to make it. I myself cannot count how many times I asked someone to show me how something is done to learn it. But, watching in many instances is not sufficient to allow for mastery by itself. How many people can learn to reproduce the great moves of a professional sportsperson, or use the keyboard professionally, by watching alone. Practice, and learning via trial and error is usually needed after watching. Nonetheless, I value learning by watching very much, because not only it shows the learner how something is done, it also proves that it can be done by some other person, and therefore, it confirms possibility. That is, if someone else can do it, the learner can do it as well. Now, let me assume hypothetically that a great handwriting calligrapher is trying to learn to write backwards by watching someone else do it. Do we think they are going to be excellent at backward writing immediately? The answer is most probably no, because understanding the concepts and watching backward writing is not always sufficient. This calligrapher needs some learning by practicing to mater backwards writing. In this example psychomotor skills are required, as in may other similar cases, and are ideally achieved with practicing. At the start, the learner my need to “get the feel” because there is no muscle memory. Once the memory is developed, the learner is no longer needing a conscious though for every part of the movement or action required. Here “automation” takes place. This can be followed with the learner trying to make sense of the situation where the desired outcomes are not generated. Here “picking out the hard parts’ or deconstruction of the whole process to figure out the reasons behind the failures can take place. Good practice can also involve trying different things, being creative, and trying new ways (that is, “improvising”). This add to the learning process and can generate valuable outcomes. Finally, real-life practice can make the learning become concrete, and withstand stresses and pressures common under the normal circumstance of our everyday lives.