Understanding vs Experential Understanding

This is an interesting subject I have been contemplating it the last 5 years of my journey down this most interesting path of Hypnotherapy and NLP! Especially in my business at Synergy Hypnotherapy Melbourne, of which I had no idea I would be travelling. In society so much emphasis is placed on learning facts by rote and being able to repeat the facts back in school's, university's and in most other forms of learning. There are a few exceptions like becoming a doctor, Nurse, engineer to name a few.

Having worked in a university in the past, as an educational developer, I was responsible for teaching academics how to design and deliver subjects to students, to get the best result possible for students. A few things became clear quickly; industry wants graduates who can do things, while our universities are concentrating on delivering graduates who have memorised lots of information, with little understanding on how to apply in their chosen profession by doing things.

There seems to be a gap between what employers want and what universities give them. So it is one thing to learn facts and understand those facts conceptually, it is entirely a different thing to apply that information and understandings in the performance of different activities. I have learned that there are many different levels to understanding which are developed when you apply that information in tasks.

First off there is the first level of knowing the information and an idea of how to apply it next we move into is the area of application where so many things come to light that we were not taught, which deepens and textures our understanding of this information and its application. 

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Then on an ongoing basis we come across more and more situations in performing this activity where new and different variables present them self, which further deepens and textures your understanding of this information and its application. You may also increase your informational learning in this area which further adds more texture to your understanding. This process can go on, and on for ages, you will continue to learn and develop a deeper appreciation and understanding in this area which influences other areas as well, which in turn then re-influences this area.

So what I am hinting at is we need to place more emphasis on the actual, practical application of this knowledge, this is where greater levels of understanding come to the surface for people. An example from my practice of Hypnotherapy I tell clients that I am going to remove all the negative emotions from their body, due to these emotions being a large component of their problem. Now most of the time, they get my explanation of how it works and understand what I am going to do, but I always get stunned looks and disbelief when we have finished and test the work to see the emotions are gone. In this case, the experience completely transforms their understanding and takes it to a completely different level, most of the time people don't believe it is possible they want to believe but don't.

The self help industry is also good at telling people what to do, but they just don't know how to tell you how to do what you should do, so you end up with being taught a very shallow level of understanding of what you have to do. What would transcend this is if they gave you exercises to do to teach you how to do what they say, this would transform and deepen that level of understanding. This has always been the downfall of the self help industry the authors are telling you what they did, unfortunately they, leave the how out which leaves most people high and dry without any results. The exception to this would be NLP, where you do lots of exercises as part of your learning and development so they teach you the theory of what you need to do, and then they do exercises to help you achieve this and develop a deeper level of understanding.

In our teaching institutions, we need to shift from teaching theory and facts to teaching a combination of theory, facts and practical exercises on using that theory, and we need to stop getting people to memorise lots of facts. Especially when we have access to the internet and other forms of electronic information, we should instead teach them how to find what they need quickly and apply it.

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