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Happiness Isn’t Brain Surgery:
How Do You Learn?
Presented by: Dr. Dawn-Elise Snipes
Executive Director, AllCEUs

Continuing Education (CE) credits for addiction and mental health counselors, social workers and marriage and family therapists can be earned for this presentation at

–¬†¬† ¬†Learn why it is important to understand learning style
–¬†¬† ¬†Identify the three components of learning
–¬†¬† ¬†Explore the multiple facets of learning
–¬†¬† ¬†Synthesize the components and facets of learning to understand how you most effectively learn
Why Do I Care?
–¬†¬† ¬†You learn every day:
–¬†¬† ¬†Reading/watching the news
–¬†¬† ¬†Developing a new skill or hobby
–¬†¬† ¬†Watching people and life
–¬†¬† ¬†To change a behavior you need to:
–¬†¬† ¬†Learn the function of the old behavior
–¬†¬† ¬†Learn why the old behavior is not meeting your needs
–¬†¬† ¬†Learn about alternate behaviors
–¬†¬† ¬†Develop that knowledge into skills
Learning Theory
–¬†¬† ¬†Client-Partnership Model
–¬†¬† ¬†Client and coach identify learning goals and methods
–¬†¬† ¬†New information is linked to prior learning
–¬†¬† ¬†Client undergoes an unlearning process before new information is implemented
–¬†¬† ¬†Information is given over time
–¬†¬† ¬†Information is tailored to the needs of the individual
–¬†¬† ¬†Learning is affective, cognitive, social and behavioral
Assumptions about Learners
–¬†¬† ¬†Want to know why they should learn it (Motivation)
–¬†¬† ¬†Intro story you can relate to‚Ķ
–¬†¬† ¬†Define how this will help you‚Ķ
–¬†¬† ¬†Are active, responsible, self-directed learners
–¬†¬† ¬†Identify what you might be able to get out of this?
–¬†¬† ¬†Identify how you can apply the material?
–¬†¬† ¬†Bring experience to learning
–¬†¬† ¬†Knowledge of primary and related topics (i.e. depression and treatment)
–¬†¬† ¬†Biases primary and related topics (i.e. depression and treatment)
Assumptions cont…
–¬†¬† ¬†Are ready to learn when the need arises
–¬†¬† ¬†How can you make mandatory learning more relevant?
–¬†¬† ¬†How can you increase rewards for learning?
–¬†¬† ¬†Provide Task/Problem-Oriented Learning
–¬†¬† ¬†Identify something you need to learn about in order to improve your recovery or happiness.
Context of Learning
–¬†¬† ¬†Positive learning climate
–¬†¬† ¬†How do you create that in your setting?
–¬†¬† ¬†Does it differ for other people?
–¬†¬† ¬†What are some examples of negative learning climates you have been in?
–¬†¬† ¬†Personal characteristics
–¬†¬† ¬†Self-efficacy
–¬†¬† ¬†Expectations
–¬†¬† ¬†Vulnerabilities/confounding issues (crisis, MH, detox)
Context cont…
–¬†¬† ¬†Peers
–¬†¬† ¬†Stage of readiness for change
–¬†¬† ¬†Co-occurring issues
–¬†¬† ¬†Culture
–¬†¬† ¬†Community
–¬†¬† ¬†Stigma/attitudes
–¬†¬† ¬†Availability of peer support
–¬†¬† ¬†Significant Other Expectations
–¬†¬† ¬†Identified patient/why aren‚Äôt you fixed
–¬†¬† ¬†It‚Äôs not me, it‚Äôs him

Motivating the Adult Learner
–¬†¬† ¬†6 factors that motivate adult learning:
–¬†¬† ¬†Social relationships:
–¬†¬† ¬†To make new friends and socialize
–¬†¬† ¬†To improve current relationships with friends and family
–¬†¬† ¬†External expectations:
–¬†¬† ¬†Job/School
–¬†¬† ¬†Other authority‚Äôs requirement (Doctor, probation officer)
–¬†¬† ¬†Social welfare:
–¬†¬† ¬†To improve ability to serve the community
–¬†¬† ¬†To improve the community
Motivating the Adult Learner
–¬†¬† ¬†6 factors that motivate adult learning:
–¬†¬† ¬†Personal Improvement:
–¬†¬† ¬†Enhance health and wellbeing
–¬†¬† ¬†Professional advancement
–¬†¬† ¬†Stay abreast of competitors
–¬†¬† ¬†Escape/Stimulation:
–¬†¬† ¬†To relieve boredom
–¬†¬† ¬†Change the routine
–¬†¬† ¬†Cognitive interest: To learn for the sake of learning
Learning Components
–¬†¬† ¬†Cognition
–¬†¬† ¬†How people acquire knowledge
–¬†¬† ¬†Seeing, hearing or doing
–¬†¬† ¬†Conceptualization
–¬†¬† ¬†How people process information
–¬†¬† ¬†Abstract, specific, memory pathways
–¬†¬† ¬†Affective
–¬†¬† ¬†People‚Äôs motivation, decision-making styles, values and emotional preferences
–¬†¬† ¬†How much does this information matter?

Cognition: Knowledge Acquisition
–¬†¬† ¬†Active/Reflective (When you process)
–¬†¬† ¬†Processing information in the moment
–¬†¬† ¬†Taking information in and having an ah-ha moment when it is assimilated
–¬†¬† ¬†Action without reflection = Trouble
–¬†¬† ¬†Reflection without action = Inaction

Cognition: Knowledge Acquisition
–¬†¬† ¬†Active/Reflective Learner Tips
–¬†¬† ¬†Reflective learners
–¬†¬† ¬†Think it through first
–¬†¬† ¬†Prefer working alone
–¬†¬† ¬†Active learners
–¬†¬† ¬†Difficulty sitting quietly through lectures
–¬†¬† ¬†Like group work
–¬†¬† ¬†Need discussion or problem-solving activities
Cognition: Knowledge Acquisition
–¬†¬† ¬†Auditory/hearing, visual/seeing, or kinesthetic/doing (How you receive)
–¬†¬† ¬†Hearing: Lecture, discussion, podcasts, self-talk
–¬†¬† ¬†Visual: Reading, seeing displays, taking notes
–¬†¬† ¬†Kinesthetic: Doing it, role playing, paraphrasing to write or speak
Cognition: Knowledge Acquisition
–¬†¬† ¬†To meet different learning needs, present material:
–¬†¬† ¬†Visually (notes, graphs)
–¬†¬† ¬†Verbally (talk about it)
–¬†¬† ¬†Manipulatively (questions, group activities)
–¬†¬† ¬†Ask questions and give examples throughout class
–¬†¬† ¬†Take frequent ‚Äúprocessing‚ÄĚ breaks for the reflective learners
Knowledge Conceptualization
–¬†¬† ¬†Sensing vs. Intuitive
–¬†¬† ¬†Sensing people give attention to the details
–¬†¬† ¬†Intuitive people are more concerned with the big picture
–¬†¬† ¬†Global vs. Specific
–¬†¬† ¬†Global learners need¬† an overview to prepare how they are going to conceptualize information
–¬†¬† ¬†Specific learners just want to start learning and see where it takes them.
Sensing vs. Intuitive
–¬†¬† ¬†Big picture vs. details
–¬†¬† ¬†Find a balance
–¬†¬† ¬†Present big picture and basics then let participants ask questions
Global vs. Sequential
–¬†¬† ¬†Bottom Up or Top Down
–¬†¬† ¬†Think puzzles: Box or no box?
–¬†¬† ¬†Think DVDs: Read the back or no?
–¬†¬† ¬†Present a general overview
–¬†¬† ¬†Provide an outline/agenda for direction
–¬†¬† ¬†Answer the question—‚ÄúWhy do I care?‚ÄĚ
Caring (Affective)
–¬†¬† ¬†Attitudinal or Emotional
–¬†¬† ¬†Conceptualizing information using a true/false or a good/bad lens
–¬†¬† ¬†People who tend to learn attitudinally tend to prefer facts and compelling objective arguments
–¬†¬† ¬†People who learn emotionally prefer to learn what will make them feel best
Tips for Learning Success
–¬†¬† ¬†Provide enough information
–¬†¬† ¬†Work collectively
–¬†¬† ¬†Emphasize immediate benefits.¬† Learning is not its own reward.
–¬†¬† ¬†Small group activities provide learners an opportunity to share, reflect and generalize their learning experiences.
–¬†¬† ¬†Promote autonomy and innovation

More Tips…
–¬†¬† ¬†Stress order through consistency, fairness and respect
–¬†¬† ¬†Promote involvement in group governance through shared values, needs and goals
–¬†¬† ¬†Differentiate between the behavior and the person
–¬†¬† ¬†Regularly assess attribution statements
–¬†¬† ¬†Model positive attitude, empathy, acceptance
–¬†¬† ¬†Reinforce the inherent worth of all participants
More Tips…
–¬†¬† ¬†Develop collaborative and cooperative learning activities
–¬†¬† ¬†Seize opportunities to teach conflict resolution, stress management
–¬†¬† ¬†Teach how to accept and learn from mistakes
–¬†¬† ¬†Demonstrate how to build on strengths
–¬†¬† ¬†Help others view patients/family members positively to encourage future learning
–¬†¬† ¬†Adult learners are more likely to retain relevant information
–¬†¬† ¬†Learning is an emotional, cognitive, and situational process
–¬†¬† ¬†Information should be presented
–¬†¬† ¬†Beginning with an overview
–¬†¬† ¬†Using as many senses as possible
–¬†¬† ¬†Focusing on what motivates the person (facts or feelings)
–¬†¬† ¬†Taking periodic breaks to apply the information
–¬†¬† ¬†Highlighting why it matters
–¬†¬† ¬†Ending with a personal application of the material