Discussion: How do you learn?

People ask me all the time how I manage to keep all the stuff I know in my brain, and the short answer is that I’ve deleted anything related to cleaning, tidying, or generally not being a slob to make more room for cosmetic chemistry fun. 😝

I paid my way through university the first time as a legal secretary – my goal was to become a lawyer, but I couldn’t afford law school – and one night when I was on my own, I popped the lecture tape from my correspondence class into the Dictaphone and typed as I listened. Around that time, I bought my first computer – a 286 on which that I installed Windows 2 and the card that allowed me to use a mouse – and started applying this method to all my courses. I was feeling more engaged with the material and was definitely learning more.

It makes sense that more exposure = more better. My amazing math prof, Eric, said we needed to engage with the coursework at least five times – in the class, in the assignments, in the longer assignments or quizzes, during the midterm, and during the final – for material to stick.

As both a learner and an instructor, I’m all about the experience of making things, observing how a lotion thickens as it cools or noting how a certain emulsifier feels on my skin. In every class, I always have what I call my oil bar where every single oil in the shop is there to be tried and judged. (Isn’t that a gorgeous oil bar above?)

If I had to describe myself, I’m definitely a read it, think about it, do it kind of learner. I take tons of notes – probably too many – so I can replicate it if I love it or never make it again if I hate it.

So this week’s discussion question is how do you learn best?