A. Clarify the CONTEXT - What are insights all about?
When was the last time you had an ‘ah hah!’ moment?
Insights occur when two or more previously unconnected parts connect and you experience a flash of understanding. This is the result of new, enriched neural connections being made in your brain.
Insights come from the intersecting of the knowledge you have acquired along with what you have experienced (either personally or vicariously, i.e., through others).
B. Make the CONNECTION - How Do Insights Help You Learn?
Think of the last time you had insight into a problem, person or situation? For a few moments you felt particularly aware, sensitive, perceptive, and maybe even empowered, clever and shrewd.
Insights are the building blocks that your natural learning system uses to guide your behaviour. Once an insight has been linked to an experience, learning has occurred and you increase your capacity to act in new ways.
Insights bring enjoyment and build your mind’s capacity to interact more effectively with others and the environment.
C. Define the CONCEPTS: What Does the Term 'Insight' Mean?
Insight Defined: The capacity to gain an accurate and deep intuitive understanding of a person or thing. The power or act of seeing into a situation. The act or result of apprehending the inner nature of things or of seeing intuitively.
Insights are about looking inward and connecting fragmented knowledge, resident in different parts of previously unrelated ideas, people, events, or situations. You then create new meaning out of those connections.
D. CONSTRUCT the Content: How Do Insights Happen?
Insights are developed through reflecting on current experiences in light of previous experiences. It is the reflective process that permits insights to crystallize. Without reflection, learning is limited to current understandings and thoughts without the benefit of feedback.
Insights happen when you:
- Visual: See two or more things and see how they relate to one another like never before.
- Auditory: Hear two or more things and hear them together in a blended way that’s new and different.
- Verbal: Say two or more thoughts and then explain how they relate to each other in new ways that you’ve never thought of before.
- Kinesthetic: Touch two or more things and manipulate them so they combine into something new.
E. CONDUCT the Skill / Use the Knowledge: How Do You Gain Insights?
Insights sometimes happen spontaneously. At other times, you can trigger insights and become sensitive to your own insights.
Your current insights, as well as your ability to develop new insights, will be enhanced by doing the following:
Step 1. Recognize your insight(s).
- Visual: Notice when you see something in a new way, or if it’s a BFO (blinding flash of the obvious) that you’ve never noticed before.
- Auditory: Listen carefully when hearing others talk, either one-on-one or during a meeting with others. Their words will trigger an insight. Or, it’s your own internal voice telling you a new way of looking at or thinking about a situation.
- Verbal: Carry on an internal dialogue with yourself until there’s an insight. Ask yourself questions until there's an ‘ah ha’, ‘eureka’, or a quiet ‘hmmm’.
- Kinesthetic: Feel body-awareness insight. It may appear as a big smile on your face. Or you lean back in your chair with an expression of contentment. Or you stand up to express enthusiasm and excitement. Your body signals an important insight.
Step 2. Write down your insight(s).
Step 3. Ground your insights in your knowledge and experience through a reflective process whereby you think about and identify examples that support your insight’s main premise.
Step 4. Describe your insight(s) to someone else to get their reactions and/or opinions.
Step 5. Create a summary statement / write down what you’ve learned through your time of personal insight reflection as well as what you've learned by sharing your insights with others.
F. CONSOLIDATE the Learning: Re-Using Insights
Take time to re-use and re-apply your insights in different contexts, i.e., in a variety of environments, situations and with different people. By sharing your insights with others, it starts a perpetual process of insights igniting other insights. This produces high-value learning for everyone.
The more you participate in and interact with others during various meetings, events and conferences, as well as read a wide variety of materials and experience other cultures, the greater the potential for developing insights. The raw material for insights is available to everyone and everywhere. Take time to identify, reflect on, use and reuse your own and other people's insights.
Note: The Brilliant Brainloading™ Process (6Cs) was used to explain the use of Insights as a Brilliant Brainloader™.
Find out more about Brilliant Brainloading™ at www.learnware.com. Learn easy to use ways to boost your brain's ability to quickly process information based on the neuroscience of learning.
About the Author
Valerie Dixon, M.Ed., CTDP, President of Learnware Design Inc. (www.learnware.com) is a leading learning expert in the field of workplace learning and performance. Valerie has over forty years’ experience in all aspects of performance needs analysis, learning strategy development and learning design. She knows how to help others gain, retain, recall andreuse new knowledge and skills, more efficiently and with less stress. She believes that learning is a skill just like any other skill. Learning competencies can be learned in order to accelerate time to competence.