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How to Speed up Your Learning With the Humanism Theory

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How to Speed up Your Learning With the Humanism Theory

Most would agree with the opinion that the world is a cruel place. This isn’t targeted towards humans only, although most of what happens is directly or indirectly an effect of human behavior. The humanism theory can be viewed as a step towards a more sensitive world, a kinder world.

You might be thinking how all of this is related to learning and how it can possibly make you more skilled than you already are.

Well, humanism has its origins as a force in psychology as a theory of human motivation, but it is also closely linked to learning theories. This theory links behavior with learning, which isn’t all that unique if you take a look at some other learning models.

However, it is still very different, with unique uses and advantages, which we will cover below.

What Is the Humanist Learning Theory?

To get the most out of the concept, you need to first have a clear understanding of what the theory is.

As per the humanism theory in psychology, it emphasizes the importance of each human’s role in creating a better environment. It is aimed towards an overall strong and united world.

Here’s the thing:

This sense of unity and empathy translates to learning by encouraging every human to not just gain knowledge themselves, but also to spread it so that more people can benefit from it. Altogether, humanism aims to create a world where everyone is helpful, so that even in the toughest times, any sort of crisis can be fought with cooperation.

From a definition point of view, the humanism theory focuses on an individual’s potential. It emphasizes things like free will and personal well-being to minimize stressful effects.

It is not linked to any religion or culture. Instead, humanism believes that regardless of these factors, every single human is capable of goodness. This theory gives every individual the right to believe in whatever they want, without any repercussions, criticism, rewards, or punishments.

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However, since the entire idea of humanism is of collaborative learning, these ideas and beliefs are to be openly discussed and shared, never enforced.

The strongest force, according to the humanism theory, is the human race itself. Every person is responsible for controlling their mind and actions.

Assumptions of the Theory

All these ideas seem to be very idealistic, and they definitely are. The humanism theory has been designed with four main assumptions around human personality:

  1. Humanist researchers assume that deep down, every human is inherently good. There is no evilness whatsoever.
  2. This leads to the second assumption, which is that every human wants to strive to become their best version, regardless of the efforts they need to put in.
  3. The third assumption is that humans can control their thoughts freely.
  4. The final assumption is that being positive and optimistic is the only way to achieve goodness.

Humanism-Based Learning

When it comes to learning based on the humanism theory, the three key concepts include:

  1. Observation
  2. Evaluation
  3. Revision

Observation relies solely on truth and reality. It is free of every sort of imagination. Only those things that can be observed exist in full reality.

This does not restrict the learning to what is already known. Evaluation is where all the imagination, opinions, and personal points of view come in.

In fact, humanism strongly supports learning through creative means such as art, music, and literature. This includes visual, auditory, and reading or writing learning styles. This theory is a strong supporter of creativity.

Revision then helps the individual repeat what’s true and what they think about it. This way, the reality is clearly distinguished from personal biases and societal visions. Yet, the entirety of the concept is imprinted in the brain.

The Development of the Humanism Theory

Humanism may have been in the minds of many, but it didn’t gain popularity until the 20th century. A lot of researchers worked around this theory in their own way. However, they all had one common goal: to find ways of learning that would promote every individual’s personal strengths and weaknesses.

Although there have been several studies, two main people who did wonders for the learning side of the spectrum are Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow.[1] They added the following contributions to this theory:

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Emotional Stability

Carl Rogers had very unique ideas about learning. He mainly suggested the complete opposite of a structured learning environment.

Instead, he emphasized emotions, learning freedom, and the eradication of all boundaries.

Basically, Rogers extended the humanism theory by claiming that for any human to improve their strengths, they need to have stable emotions.

He was certainly right. Have you ever learned anything successfully while you were angry or sad?

Rogers also suggested that every individual should be able to choose what they want to learn. The restrictions of a set curriculum should be eradicated. This also changed the role of teachers from tutors to mere facilitators.

This applies to every part of learning. If you were to go to a gym, as per this belief, you would choose whether you want to go for Zumba or a treadmill exercise. Then, the gym instructor would assist you so that you didn’t pull a muscle or hurt yourself. Other than that, you would have the complete freedom to design your own plan.

Although it may be a great technique for a huge audience, it totally ignores individuals who need a structured learning environment along with a set of rules to follow.

Hierarchy of Needs

Maslow is most famously known for his Hierarchy of Needs.[2]

It is a pyramid of human motives that starts with the broadest category of basic needs, such as food, clothing, and shelter. Then, it moves on to the sense of security.

The next need in this pyramid is love and relationships, which is followed by respect and self-esteem. All these progress to the category of self-actualization. This is supposed to be the final aim.

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From bottom to top, these needs are arranged in the order of most important to least important for effective learning[3].

Maslow's hierarchy of needs for humanism theory

     

    What Are the Goals of Humanism Theory in Learning?

    If the humanism theory were to be summarized into one goal, it would be to support every individual in their own element, style, and personality.

    This goal further divides into numerous others.

    It aims to benefit the entire community instead of one individual. Emotional learning, self-concept, goodness for all, and widespread positivity are concepts that humanism stresses.

    Also, it aims to produce successful individuals who are capable in their own field. In fact, if you look closely, a lot of successful people do practice humanism.

    How to Learn With the Humanism Theory

    The humanism theory is an extremely optimistic approach. The idealistic approach, although doable, is difficult to implement to its fullest extent.

    However, Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow have offered a convenient route for learners to follow. No matter which skill or category of knowledge you want to gain, by implementing the studies of these two humanists, you can enhance your learning immensely.

    1. Learning Free of Boundaries

    Firstly, there’s the approach suggested by Carl Rogers. Since it rids learners from all sorts of set boundaries, you have the freedom to design your own learning plan.

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    Since you’re not an expert, you can receive help from a teacher who will facilitate your learning progress. But, you can have full control over how, when, and what to learn.

    If you are interested in learning a foreign language, you will definitely need guidance from an expert in the language. However, the pace of learning, which aspects of the language you want to learn, how crammed the schedule should be, and other similar factors of the process can be planned by you.

    2. Prioritizing Personal Needs

    One major component of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is self-realization. You can achieve self-actualization by following simple exercises aimed at personal growth.

    Self-actualization is the highest goal in this pyramid. It is the main goal that you should strive to achieve.

    Therefore, once you get on the road to achieving self-actualization, you will find your learning process automatically falls in line with the rest of the theory. It is like a domino effect; once you get on the right track, the rest becomes a piece of cake because your mind begins to move forward along the same lines on its own.

    The hierarchy of needs can be used to prioritize every individual learner’s needs so that the process goes smoothly and reaps efficient results. You can ensure your health, comfort, and emotional stability before moving on with the learning.

    For example, you may postpone a music class until you find a comfortable spot to sit if that’s what your prioritized need is.

    Final Thoughts

    Humanism focuses on putting most of the control in the hands of the learners.

    While it may bring forth certain disadvantages, it is actually rather effective in the case of career-oriented individuals.

    Freedom, along with the responsibility, ensures effective learning to promote the individual’s qualities to overpower the weaknesses.

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    More Tips on Learning

    Featured photo credit: Gift Habeshaw via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Minnesota State University: Humanistic and Holistic Learning Theory
    [2] Highgate Counselling Center: Maslow Hierarchy of Needs
    [3] ThoughtCo: Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Explained

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    Leon Ho

    Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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    Last Updated on August 11, 2021

    23 Killer Sites for Free Online Education Anyone Can Use

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    23 Killer Sites for Free Online Education Anyone Can Use

    Whether you’re five or ninety five, the internet has a lot to offer. Particularly when the topic is education, the resources on the internet are endless. Best of all, many high quality sites are completely free. From history to coding, excellent, free online education awaits on the following 23 sites.

    1. Coursera

    Coursera is a website that partners with universities and organizations around the world. This brings a wide variety of topics and perspectives to one searchable database.

    Coursera is a powerful tool for free online education and includes courses from many top universities, museums and trusts. This gives the site an extremely wide range of in-depth courses.

    Coursera is extremely useful if you’re looking to study many different topics, or want courses from different schools and groups. However, the free courses are now quite limited, so you’ll have to

    2. Khan Academy

    Partnering with many post secondary schools, Khan Academy offers a useable, well-organized interface. Also curating many courses from around the web, Khan Academy offers impressive depth on many different subjects.

    Among the more well-known educational sites, Khan Academy is also incredibly user-friendly, which may make it easier to keep learning goals. If you’re looking for a free online education, you can’t go wrong with Khan Academy.

    3. Open Culture Online Courses

    If you are struggling to find exactly the material you are looking for, try Open Culture’s listing of free online education courses. The page highlights 1000 lectures, videos, and podcasts from universities around the world.

    The site features a lot of material found only on universities’ private sites, all in easy-to-browse categories. This means you can find hundreds of university courses without having to visit and search each university’s site.

    Open Culture’s list features courses from England, Australia, Wales, and many state universities around the United States. It’s a very helpful resource for finding many courses in one area of study.

    4. Udemy 

    Udemy’s free courses are similar in concept to Coursera’s but additionally allows users to build custom courses from lessons.

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    Working with many top professors and schools, the site mixes the customizable platform of other sites with a heavy emphasis on top-quality content. This is another site, however, that mixes free and paid content.

    5. Lifehack Fast Track Class

    Lifehack believes in skills that multiply your time, energy, and overall quality of life.

    In this rapidly changing world, traditional education skills just don’t cut it anymore. You can’t afford to take years learning a skill you’ll never really practice. Besides offering some paid courses that will help you become a better self, it offers a list of free courses which aim to train some of the Core Life Multipliers including:

    These are cross-functional skills that work across many aspects of life.

    6. Academic Earth

    Another site with courses from many different schools is Academic Earth. Much like the three sites above, Academic Earth brings together top notch courses from many different sources and focuses on offering a wide variety of subjects.

    Academic Earth lists courses by subject and school, so it might be easier to find what you’re looking for.

    7. edX

    Another great option for free online education is edX. Also bringing together courses from many different schools, the site has impressive, quality information for everyone. edX covers a great range of topics from universities such as Harvard, MIT, and Berkeley, meaning a high-quality, free online education is entirely possible here.

    8. Alison

    Unlike the previous sites on this list, Alison is a free education site offering certification in some areas. Alison offers courses mainly in business, technology, and health, but also includes language learning courses.

    It’s a great option if users need a professional certificate for their learning, as Alison also offers school curriculum courses.

    9. iTunesU Free Courses

    A very convenient place for free online education is iTunesU, because it integrates seamlessly with your iPod or any app-ready Apple mobile device. On an iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch, users download the iTunesU app.

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    Desktop users can access iTunesU on the upper right hand corner of the iTunes Store. iTunesU is also convenient because the store is categorized much like iTunes.

    Users can search learning materials in many different ways, including by genre and topic. However, courses are often a mix of free podcasts or videos and paid content.

    iTunesU does include courses on a variety of topics, but it does not integrate with Android, Google or Windows mobile devices.

    10. Stanford Online

    Your hub for all the online offerings from Stanford University, Stanford Online offers self-paced and session-based courses. While Coursera features some courses from Stanford, many classes are only available via other hosts. Some courses require iTunes, but most are completed in your web browser.

    Stanford Online is a great site for high-quality courses, though the topics are somewhat limited compared to sites partnered with more than one school. If you’re looking for free courses, make sure to mark the “free” option on the left-hand side.

    11. Open Yale Courses

    Open Yale Courses echoes Stanford Online, in that it offers only courses from Yale. While the site is similarly limited to topics taught at the school, Open Yale Courses offers a lot of videos of actual campus lectures. The availability of videos makes the site a great option if you’re looking for quality courses but learn better by watching than by reading.

    12. UC Berkeley Class Central

    Much like the other schools on this list, UC Berkeley has a variety of free online education options. The school has slightly fewer courses than the schools above, but it includes some supplementary lectures, webcasts, and RSS Feeds, making it easy to keep up with the topics you choose.

    13. MIT OpenCourseWare

    Similarly, MIT offers a variety of free courses. The school has a comparable number of courses to the schools above, and it includes very in-depth course materials on the subjects available. MIT also offers free RSS feeds, a convenient way to continue learning.

    14. Carnegie Mellon Open Learning Initiative

    Carnegie Mellon’s free online education site is comparable with the other school’s on this list. However, Open Learning Initiative also covers a smaller range of topics, but for the topics that are covered, impressive, in-depth material is available.

    15. Codecademy

    Codecademy is a website dedicated specifically to teaching coding. Where other coding sites follow an example/practice session workflow, Codecademy includes a live practice window. This means you can practice coding while still viewing the lesson material.

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    The courses at Codecademy are well-written and easy to follow, and the website is organized very nicely. Codecademy features a centralized dashboard where you can monitor your progress, and it organizes lessons into complete modules. This lets you learn an entire language without needing to pick the next course manually.

    16. Code

    Code is another website focused on coding and app writing. A site with high-quality courses, Code also features learning options for kids.

    In addition to kid-friendly courses, Code offers free online education classes on a wide variety of technology topics. These classes include app writing, robotics, and Javascript.

    Most of the courses are also geared in a such a way that they can be useful in a classroom setting. This makes Code a great resource for harder to find coding topics, as well as various learning settings.

    17. University of Oxford Podcasts

    The University of Oxford features many different podcasts. Most are public lecture series or lectures from visiting professors, with several different recordings available.

    The advantage to this particular site is that podcasts are organized into series, making it easy to subscribe to multiple lectures on one topic. This is another great site for thoroughly in-depth lectures.

    18. BBC Podcasts

    For the more casual learner, the BBC offers a wide variety of podcasts on many different topics. Most podcasts are updated weekly and focus on everything from finance, to sports, to current events.

    Through the World Service line of podcasts, there are also many in different languages. The focus of these podcasts are less in-depth and theory based, which may be more accessible to the average person.

    19. TED-Ed

    Another great destination for more general learning and free online education is TED-Ed. From the same people that brought you the all-encompassing, motivational web series comes a site chocked full of educational videos. Most include impressive animation, and all are ten minutes long or less.

    Not only is TED-Ed an excellent site for the curious, but it also includes supplemental materials and quizzes on the videos. This makes the site extremely useful in formal education settings, as well as in entertaining ways to brush up on new discoveries and topics.

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    20. LessonPaths

    LessonPaths is another great tool for those looking for a more usable and convenient way to access learning material. On this site, users create link playlists of their favorite learning materials from other sites. Users then rank these collections, making it easy to find many different high-quality, accessible sources on a given topic.

    21. Memrise

    Another impressive free online education site offering ease of use and convenience is Memrise. Available both on desktop and as an app, Memrise is a particularly powerful tool if you are studying a language. The site encompasses many other topics as well, though some of the course material is user generated content.

    Part of what makes Memrise special is their integration of games into the learning materials, mixing learning with entertainment.

    22. National Geographic Kids

    The kids site for National Geographic is another site that makes free online education applicable for younger users. For those looking for kid-friendly education, a large variety of games, puzzles, videos and photos keep kids interested on this site.

    National Geographic Kids doesn’t organize learning into courses, making materials available by topic and medium instead. This makes National Geographic Kids a good option for those looking for a more casual learning environment.

    23. Fun Brain

    Fun Brain is another great option for kids looking for free online education, as it focuses on games and fun puzzles. Particularly focused on math and reading, Fun Brain’s game-based approach can be valuable if the child in question struggles to pay attention.

    Fun Brain offers rewards and challenges as well, and it is another site aimed at a casual learning experience for kids K-8.

    The Bottom Line

    With so many amazing free online education resources, everyone has the ability to boost their skills and knowledge. Whether you’re interested in picking up some interesting trivia for your next party, improve your resume with some coding or business skills, or become a more well-rounded person, these resources are perfect for you.

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    Featured photo credit: Dai KE via unsplash.com

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