Advertising
Advertising

Published on December 16, 2019

7 Ways Thinking Aloud Makes You a Better Thinker and Learner

7 Ways Thinking Aloud Makes You a Better Thinker and Learner

It is never a sign of insanity to think aloud, it also enhances your mental ability. It is also called private speech. It enables you to achieve focus. It is a behavioral pattern that you should practice daily to achieve self-regulation.

As a child, you learned by thinking aloud. It was a form of demonstrating your knowledge or opening yourself to learn

You sound out words, express ideas, form sentences. Anytime you were corrected, you rehearse until you have imitated correctly or conformed to the established model in the family, school, or neighborhood, etc.

As you grow older, you internalize this act of thinking aloud, and your speech shifts to interpersonal communication.

So what are the seven ways thinking aloud can help you think and learn better?

1. Spur Curiosity During Learning

The goal of curiosity is to enable you to gain a more in-depth knowledge of things that are crucial within the scope of our experience of the world. This covers the concepts you have learned in school and those that are relevant to your daily lives.

Individuals who think aloud are usually curious about the different range of topics and develop broad interests. Thinking aloud helps you retain inquisitiveness about people and the world around you. It enables you to gain an in-depth understanding of beliefs, culture, and viewpoints that are shared aspects of what makes us human. Those who think aloud are lifelong learners.

They are lifelong learners because they are naturally and practice critical thinking. Thinking aloud will help you apply your best thinking habit to solve complex problems. It also helps you to achieve constructive outcomes.

As you think aloud, you will find answers to crucial questions. You don’t make decisions based on assumptions, but you can explore the topics deeper. You also gain deeper facts locked up within the information.

2. Enhance Your Creativity

Creativity is one of the most significant skills you need to survive beyond school. Learners who think aloud nurtures their creativity and the ability to solve problems. It is a requisite skill to collaborate in the workplace.

Advertising

The tendency to think aloud means you can transfer the same knowledge and process to more complex problems to achieve effective results.

Thinking aloud is relevant in business, marketing, and professional networks. It helps you to develop creativity on how to advertise, increase revenue, and advance your career.

You will also learn to question assumptions about different topics. When you think aloud, you ask ‘how’ or ‘why not?

Private speech has limitless potentials. This applies to young and old learners. It will enable you to train your brain to be creative.

3. Reinforce Your Problem-Solving Skill

You become an instinctual problem solver when you think aloud. Problem-solving has been ranked to be the most crucial ability that you can build on as a learner. You will be positioned to address complex by thinking aloud about how to engineer innovative solutions.

Albert Einstein once said,

‘ It’s not that I am smart; it’s just that I stay with problems longer.’

He once propounded that when you are allocated one hour to perform a task, spend 55 minutes to define and research the problem while you spend 5 minutes to solve it. Private speech affords you this kind of commitment and patience. It is also the very reason you will learn how to understand the problem and solve it effectively.

Thinking aloud also positions you to face complex problems to survive, succeed, and be significant in life.

When you think aloud, you can curate solutions to big problems such as overpopulation, global warming, water shortages, energy crises, pollution, need for health care, and electronic waste management etc.

Advertising

As these problems and others continue to evolve, those who think aloud would continue to be relevant in producing lasting solutions to them.

4. Cultivate Multi-Faceted Skill

As you think aloud, you are nurturing, not just a skill, but many skills.

Thinking aloud is a cross-curricular cognitive talent. It exercises your mind, and once your mind is empowered, you will not only stay healthy, but you will be more productive.

Thinking aloud enhances your:

  • Observational skills
  • Reasoning skills
  • Logical thinking
  • Evaluative skills
  • Language skills
  • Organizational and planning skills
  • Open-mindedness
  • Creative visualization methods
  • Decision making

The list is inexhaustive, but this is an overview of what you develop and promote when you think aloud in your daily lives.

5. Foster Independence

Thinking aloud helps you think independently, which is of the most essential learning goals. It helps you to become independent during the learning process.

You don’t depend on the instructor to achieve learning outcomes, but you learn to take responsibility for your learning. The keyword here is ‘responsibility.’ When you learn how to be more responsible while learning, you can learn how to take charge of your life.

Thinking aloud will not only position you as a great learner but a great thinker and leader. You will learn how to appreciate the world from your point of view and experience. You become more confident, and you learn from your mistakes as you build a successful and productive life.

Thinking aloud helps you to be self-directed as a learner. Your thinking becomes organized. It also means this kind of proactive thinking ability becomes part of you as you nurture it through the lifelong learner.

When you are successful in your thinking ability, you can make progress beyond learning in your future pursuits and relationship with pride and confidence.

Advertising

6. Improve Your Reading Comprehension

You become motivated to identify the distinctions between reading words and understanding the text when you apply the process of thinking aloud. You also gain insights into the reading complexities and expand your understanding of what it means to be a great reader.

How does this apply to life? You will learn how to read through assumptions and base your knowledge on realities.

7. Develop a Life Skill

You develop a lifelong skill, not just a learning skill, as you think aloud. According to John Dewey,

‘Education is not preparation for life; it is life itself.’

Thinking aloud helps you to become successful within and beyond the classroom. You learn how to lead your life through life.

The bottom line is you don’t need your teachers once you have completed a learning phase; you become the leader and the teacher. Learning also becomes a continuum for you.

How to Adopt the Thinking Aloud Strategy

Thinking aloud or private speed is a crucial learning tool. The more you engage your brain in different dimensions, the more you can connect and retain what you learn.

You read, create diagrams or pictures, use motion or music, converse with others, and with yourself. Most time, you talk through with your friends or in a group to recall a topic you have learned. In other cases, you may not need a second party to think aloud.

Thinking aloud helps you to leverage multiple senses and personal experiences in processing and to reinforce your learning.

You can think aloud to:

Advertising

  • memorize vocabulary by vocalizing the words
  • talk through mathematical problems to arrive at possible solutions
  • edit papers by reading the words aloud
  • appreciate poetry through dramatization.

Here are three ways to think aloud:

1. Spot the Juicy Tipping Points

The first approach to adopt if you want to think aloud is to sift through the text.

Read the text while holding your sticky notes, search for spots to make inferences, ask questions or think through the intent of the author. These are the juicy tipping points that lead to the next challenge or comprehension opportunities.

2. Know When and Where to Think Aloud

Examine each tipping point and reflect on the purpose of the point. This will help you scale down the points to more manageable points, so you don’t become overburdened or detracted from the process.

You need to also factor in the purpose of picking the text you want to learn, your objective, and the strategies you are familiar with before reading the text.

3. Write on Sticky Notes

Writing on sticky notes provides a guide for your thought pattern during the learning process.

It helps you to stick to what’s significant and discard what’s less prominent. It also helps you to be purposeful throughout the learning process.

Botton Lime

If you want to be a great thinker and a lifelong learner, thinking aloud shouldn’t be a one-time exercise for you, but an all-the-time endeavor. You will become productive in your personal life and also become relevant to the world.

More About Thinking Smart

Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

More by this author

Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

study habits Hack Your Learning With These 9 Simple Study Habits how to start over How to Start Over and Reboot Your Life When It Seems Too Late Fail Forward: How Setbacks Can Fuel Future Success How to Build New Habits With An Accountability Partner 13 Ways to Develop Self-Directed Learning and Learn Faster

Trending in Brain

1 What Is Analysis Paralysis (And How to Overcome It) 2 How to Unleash the 4 Types of Creativity In You 3 What Are Creative Problem Solving Skills (And How To Improve Yours) 4 How to Improve Memory: 7 Natural (and Highly Effective) Ways 5 9 Types of Intelligence (And How to Know Your Type)

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Published on October 22, 2020

What Is Analysis Paralysis (And How to Overcome It)

What Is Analysis Paralysis (And How to Overcome It)

Have you ever taken so long trying to solve a problem that you just ended up going around in circles? How about trying to make a major decision and just freezing up when the time to decide came?

You might have found yourself gathering too much information, hoping it will help you make the best decision—even if it takes you too long to do so. This probably led to many missed opportunities, especially in situations where you needed to act on time.

Nobody wants to make the wrong decision. However, delayed decision making can have a hugely negative impact on all aspects of your life—from your personal relationships to your career. Delaying important decisions can be the worst decision of all.

At one point or another, people get stuck at a decision impasse they can’t seem to overcome. This is due to a mental blindspot called information bias, informally known as analysis paralysis.

Analysis Paralysis and Stalled Decisions

Information bias, or analysis paralysis, is our tendency to seek more information than is needed to make decisions and take action.[1] It is one of many cognitive biases that cause us to make mistakes during the decision-making process.

A related cognitive bias is the status quo bias, which is our tendency to prefer that things stay the same and fear any changes.[2] Together with analysis paralysis, these two dangerous judgment errors pose a threat to our successful navigation through our rapidly-shifting world.

Consider what happened to Lily, a consulting client of mine who’s a mid-level manager in the UX department of a large tech company. Lily had been there for 5 years and was thinking about switching to a startup after a couple tried to recruit her.

Advertising

However, she had been taking a lot of time making a decision. In fact, before she contacted me, she had already gathered information and talked to a lot of people for 7 months. Realistically, more information won’t sway her decision, but she kept trying to gather more information.

And then, there was the technology company that came to me after their growth started to decline. The company had initially experienced rapid growth with a couple of innovative products. However, its growth started to decrease—unfortunate, but not unexpected.

Essentially, the company’s growth followed the typical S-curve growth model, which starts as a slow and effortful start-up stage. This is followed by a rapid growth stage, then a slowdown in growth, often following market saturation or competitive pressure or other factors. This is the point where the company’s existing products reach maturity.

However, even before a slowdown hits, forward-thinking companies would innovate and change things up proactively. This is so they could have new products ready to go that would maintain rapid growth.

Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case with this particular tech company. Not only did they not address the potential decline but once the company’s growth stalled, the leaders dug their heels in and stayed the course. They kept on analyzing the market to find the cause of the problem.

Worse, a couple of executives in the company proposed launching new products, but most of the leadership was cautious. They kept on asking for guarantees that the products would be a success, demanding more information even when additional information wasn’t relevant.

Both Lily and the tech company remained paralyzed by too much information when they should already have taken action. While this situation isn’t unexpected, it is totally avoidable.

Advertising

As I told both parties when they consulted me, all they needed to do was to face analysis paralysis head-on and make a decision. But they had to follow the best decision-making process available first, didn’t they?

8-Step Decision-Making Process to Avoid Analysis Paralysis

I told Lily and the leaders at the tech company that we should never go with our gut if we want to avoid disasters in our personal and professional lives.[3] Instead, I advised them, as I advise you now, to follow data-driven, research-based approaches, such as the one I’ll outline below.

From hiring a new employee, launching a new product, selecting a Zoom guest speaker for your annual video conference to deciding whether to apply for a higher-level position within your company, the following steps will help you fight analysis paralysis and make the best decisions possible.

1. Identify the Need to Launch a Decision-Making Process

This is particularly important when there’s no explicit crisis that cries out for a change or decision to be made. Such recognition is also applicable when your natural intuitions are keeping you from acknowledging the need for a tough decision.

Remember that the best decision-makers take the initiative to recognize the need for decisions before they become an emergency. They also don’t let gut reactions cloud their decision-making capacity.

2. Gather Relevant Information From a Wide Variety of Informed Perspectives

Listen especially to opinions you disagree with. Contradicting perspectives empower you to distance yourself from the comfortable reliance on your gut instincts, which can sometimes be harmful to decision-making. Opposing ideas also help you recognize any potential bias blind spots, and this allows you to come up with solutions that you may not have otherwise.

3. Paint a Clear Vision of Your Desired Outcome

Using the data gleaned from step 2, decide which goals you want to reach. Paint a clear vision of the desired outcome of your decision-making process. You should also recognize that what seems to be a one-time decision may turn out to be a symptom of an underlying issue with current processes and practices. Make addressing these root problems part of the outcome you want to achieve.

Advertising

4. Make a Decision-Making Process Criteria

Make a decision-making process criteria to weigh the various options of how you’d like to get to your desired outcome. As much as possible, develop these criteria before you start to consider choices. Our intuitions bias our decision-making criteria to encourage certain outcomes that fit our instincts. As a result, you get overall worse decisions if you don’t develop criteria before starting to look at options.

5. Generate Several Viable Options

We tend to fall into the trap of generating insufficient options to make the best decisions, and this can lead to analysis paralysis. To prevent this, you should generate many more options than you usually would. Generate several viable options that can help you achieve your decision-making process goals. Go for 5 attractive options as the minimum.

Keep in mind that this is a brainstorming step, so don’t judge options no matter how far fetched they might seem. In my consulting and coaching experience, the optimal choice often involves elements drawn from out-of-the-box options.

6. Weigh These Options and Pick the Best One

When weighing your options, beware of going with your initial preferences. Try to see your preferred choice in a harsh light. Also, do your best to separate each option from the person who proposed it. This minimizes the impact of personalities, relationships, and internal politics on the decision itself.

7. Implement the Option You Chose

For implementing the decision, you need to minimize risks and maximize rewards, since your goal is to get a decision outcome that’s as good as possible.

First, imagine that the decision completely failed. Then, brainstorm about all the problems that led to this failure. Next, consider how you might solve these problems, and integrate the solutions into your implementation plan.

Next, imagine that the decision absolutely succeeded. Brainstorm all the reasons for success and consider how you can bring these reasons into life. Then, integrate what you learned into implementing the decisions.

Advertising

Finally, develop clear metrics of success that you can measure throughout the implementation process. This will enable you to check if you’re meeting the goals you identified in step 3. It will also help guide your goal-setting process—something to keep in mind when you use this decision-making technique again in the future.

8. Set a Reminder to Use the Process for Future Decisions

Regularly check if it’s time to employ the decision-making process once again. As discussed in the first step, there may be times when there’s no explicit crisis that cries out for a change, even though underlying issues might already be signaling that it’s time for a tough decision.

Setting a reminder—perhaps a visual one such as a note on your desk, or even just a scheduled alert on your phone—will ensure that you can catch decision-making cues before they’re due.

While Lily and the tech company initially had to fight off a lot of discomforts when using the process, they were ultimately rewarded with sound decisions they were immensely satisfied with.

This battle-tested method will do the same for you. It will certainly propel your decision-making and, at the same time, help you thwart analysis paralysis and avoid decision disasters.

Conclusion

Nobody wants to make the wrong decision, but you also don’t want to take too long and miss opportunities. By using a data-driven and research-based approach to decision making, you can nip analysis paralysis in the bud and make the best decisions.

More Tips to Overcome Analysis Paralysis

Featured photo credit: Muhmed El-Bank via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next