Skip to main content
Skip table of contents


Due to recent findings from neuroscience, many of the previous assumptions about the human learning system can no longer be upheld. This applies both to learning methods and to the design of learning content.


Learning style → Learning style describes the individual preference for auditory, visual or kinaesthetic information in the learning process.

Motor cortex → The brain area in which the learned motor programmes for automated movements are stored.


Learning only by repetition

The 10,000 hour rule says that a skill must be practiced for 10,000 hours before it can be perfected. This has not been confirmed by many practical examples. Learning is not a linear process and not only the quantity but also the quality of learning is important. Learning needs frequent practice, but not frequent repetition. In addition, transfer from other areas of competence is possible, which can significantly shorten the learning process.

To do "right" from the beginning

Learning, as a problem-solving process, depends on variation. One learns from successes and failures, through trial and error. The guiding principle of getting things right the first time encourages repetition, which does not promote learning but rather reinforces certain approaches to problem solving. However, avoiding mistakes is counterproductive to overall learning. Rather, the guiding principle should be to learn from the beginning. While we shouldn't learn patterns by mistake, it is important to allow for mistakes during learning. It is not for nothing that they say that you learn from mistakes. But this also requires adequate feedback. Also, mistakes should not be practiced and reinforced. Mistakes are "allowed" but must be recognized and used to reach correct conclusions.

Motion memorization

It is not the movement path that needs to be memorized, but a specific motor pattern. The motor cortex cannot store movement paths, but rather complex motor programs that can be assigned to specific movement outcomes. A perfect movement under high precision control is always executed very slowly, especially under the conscious control of the eyes and hands. These feedback-controlled ( closed-loop ) movements are very different from unconscious, rapid, automatic movements that must be learned as a skill. It takes movement experience to optimize a motor program and store it in the motor cortex.

Using general models

Movements are increasingly optimized during training and successful movements are stored. When movements are optimized, they necessarily become individualized. Therefore, individualization is not a deviation from the optimal norm, but a necessary modification to optimize the overall system in the learning process (see individual writing). Therefore, a model might be a starting point for learning, but not a target for it.

Different learning styles

There may be auditory, visual or kinesthetic preferences, but basically we all learn in the same way. We learn with ALL our senses. Certainly, the preferred channel should receive sufficient information during learning, but the more different domains are holistically active during learning, the greater the learning success. For example, learning vocabulary can be helped if the visual cortex is stimulated with images at the same time. And it is precisely the world champions of memory who work with an extreme interconnection of the learning material with the pictorial and content context.

What does this mean for my teaching practice?

Many conventional assumptions about the function of the learning system have been shown to be incorrect. The student must learn, and for that the teacher must understand the learning system. Therefore, it is important that everyone involved learn how to learn properly.


Reflection question

What common assumptions do you yourself have about the learning process that you might want to review?


1) What is the best way to learn a movement

A) through understanding
B) by trial and error
C) by memorising

2) What is important in learning?

A) Quantity
B) Quality
C) Quantity and quality

3) One learns best

A) visually
B) auditory
C) with all senses


1️⃣ → B) through trial and error
2️⃣ → C) Quantity und Quality
3️⃣ → C) with all senses

JavaScript errors detected

Please note, these errors can depend on your browser setup.

If this problem persists, please contact our support.