Photo by David Travis on Unsplash

What is your preferred way to learn something new? Do you listen to a podcast or a course? Or do you prefer to read books and articles about interesting topics? Maybe you prefer looking at illustrations and images to get a better understanding of what you are currently studying?

I often have discussions with my crowd about how do we learn something new. I have some people around me who are podcast-fans and all they only get new information through listening. On the company’s Christmas trip, I was surprised to learn from one of our overseas colleagues that he only watches documentaries to gather information and learn about specific topics. Some other friends of mine are into online learning, that combines video with audio, and others still, like me, are reading. 

There are several ways how human beings perceive the information – visually, audio, by touch, smell and taste. These can be further classified (here is an example). Depending on the preference (which channel we use most) people can be classified as visual, auditory and kinesthetic learners. Most of us are a mix of few types with one being prominent.

I have tried listening to podcasts and audiobooks, and there are three issues I am experiencing. 

First, I miss around 50% of the information (my humble judgement). Second, I don’t feel comfortable – I miss the physical aspect of reading (holding a book or an e-reader in my hands). Third – I either use music as background noise when working and reading or I enjoy listening to it as a leisure activity. So I either shift the focus from audiobook or podcast to something else (because I perceive it as background noise) or I get uncomfortable because it’s not a leisure activity. 

There are also other issues – I rarely like voices that are reading audiobooks/speaking on podcasts or podcasters have some hard to understand accent.

I have recently participated in a Change management training held by a well-known Swiss business school. I was highly interested in the topic and willing to try out Swiss type of education. 

Due to lockdown, the 2-days course was held online. The presenter designed it as an interactive webinar – she did a short theoretical introduction. She then invited participants to elaborate on the topic by sharing their experiences and thoughts on the subject — obviously, no handouts, working books etc.

My takeaway? Presentation and the list of books and publications she referenced that I am going to read through. No practical, theoretical training at all, but a lot of insights from other participants. 

I have tried my best for a few months and listened to some audiobooks. It never grew into a habit, which means my mind is not comfortable with it. 

I wonder if there is a way how to change the preferred perception? Will I always stay an old-school bookworm, learning most from written materials and missing out on those cool audio and video resources that are popping up hourly on the Internet?