What comes to mind when you think of learning through insight?
Maybe you’re thinking of a child who is learning about the world for the first time and is amazed by each discovery. Maybe you’re thinking about how that child is typically taught.
Both of those points are important in understanding the way the learning process functions. One of the best ways to learn effectively is to learn by insight.
But how do you implement insight learning whether you’re a teacher or student?
In this article, I will show you the stages of insight learning, its benefit, how to implement it as a teacher or student, and every other important thing you need to know about the learning method.
What Is Insight Learning?
Insight learning also known as gestalt theory of learning, is a critical thinking activity that relies upon the introduction of a problem and a solution to the subject material both of which are introduced at different times.
The human mind is a fascinating thing. In order to make sense of the world around us, we observe what’s going on, categorize it, and then make connections between our observations, experiences, and life in general.
More often than not, these stimuli are presented in the form of a story and the introduction of insight learning teaches the subject to draw comparisons between the new and existing information or stimuli.
Learning by insight is when you learn something through making a sudden ‘Aha!’ type of discovery.
This type of learning shouldn’t be confused with the other types where you learn by rote and you’re not getting it. Or when your learning by repetition and being told this is the exact way to do it.
Stages of Insight Learning
Stage 1: Preparation
The preparation phase is the first stage of insight learning. This is where the problem is introduced and the information about the problem has been laid out.
The subject must take in the information given to him or her and make certain mental connections.
It is important to note that no solution has been made at this point and the subject may experience frustration while attempting to solve the problem. So, the first step to solving a problem is understanding what the problem is.
In a different sense, this forms the introduction of the story to lay down its setting, characters, and conflict.
Stage 2: Incubation
When you can’t figure out a problem and have come to the end of your mental rope, you feel like giving up.
But oftentimes just doing that is the best thing for creative problem-solving. But how? It turns out that using your subconscious mind is the key to insight learning.
This is why the incubation stage of insight learning is also known as a Wake-Up and Sleep Phase.
Incubation is when we subconsciously think about and restructure a problem, allowing new ideas to emerge through mental associations and coming upon insightful moments.
The incubation phase of insight learning is like the rising action in a story, which leads up to the turning point.
Stage 3: Insight
In the insight phase, the problem solvers’ ideas start to come together. They have been vigorously thinking and working hard to get to this point, and their hard work has paid off.
Once they reach this breakthrough moment, they have a sudden change in perspective that makes all of the work they did before feel like it was worth it.
The subject sees all of the pieces fall into place and can finally see themselves doing the task they were trying to accomplish.
All of their hard work has paid off at this point because the problem solver is not thinking anymore. Instead, it feels like he or she is just doing what comes naturally.
Stage 4: Verification
Once the theory is generated, the subject is able to verify if the solution works. In verification, the subject will test their theory and solution. If it does work, the subject learns that their original theory was incorrect or that their initial solution was not a viable option.
Because the verification phase is presented at the end of the insight phase it is often overlooked.
The reason for this is that it doesn’t seem as important to the main problem. This phase is essential to the development of an insight effect because if the proposed solution does not work then the subject must go back and rethink things.
What Are the Essentials of Learning By Insight?
1. Learning by insight requires full comprehension of the situation as a whole
Learning by insight is more flexible than learning by rote since students are able to apply their knowledge in a novel way. But it requires full comprehension of the problem and not just some parts.
Knowing the various components of anything isn’t enough. To learn successfully, one must be aware of the larger picture and how those components integrate into it. This entails perceiving how concepts are related and understanding their significance.
2. The goal must be quite clear
One of the essentials of learning by insight is that the goal must be quite clear to your conscious mind before you start studying.
Too often people speak of “learning” when they mean merely gathering information or memorizing. Insight learning calls for a clearer picture of what is to be achieved, and this call is given to us through an appropriate well-structured goal.
3. The learner must possess the power of generalization along with that of differentiation
The essentials of learning by insight are not easy to define, but it is generally recognized that one of them is the power of generalization.
Another important essential of insight learning is the ability to differentiate between activities that are likely to lead to a solution and those which are likely to obscure rather than reveal the solution.
4. The suddenness of the solution is the hallmark of learning
A key essential of this type of learning is that it involves a sudden solution to a problem or issue that has been encountered.
Previously, the learner has been trying to solve the problem and had not yet experienced the aha moment at which the solution and its implications suddenly leap out at them.
Within a split second, all the pieces of the puzzle fall into place, leaving the learner with a new perspective on life and perhaps what kind of person they’d like to be.
5. Principles learned in one situation are applied to the other situation
Another key element of learning by insight is that principles learned in one situation should be applied to the other situation.
The learners have to be able to identify a situation as similar to another. They have to apply the skills and knowledge they already have to novel situations.
What are the Benefits of Insight Learning?
1. Development of higher mental faculties
Students who practice insight learning tend to develop higher-order mental faculties, including abstract and critical thinking.
Insight learners are typically more creative and innovative than students who learn through trial and error.
2. Places emphasis on understanding
Insight learning is about understanding how the world works, and why certain things happen in certain ways.
This is a problem-solving strategy that requires more from your brain than just memorization and repetition. Thus, it is necessary for you to understand the situation of the problem at hand.
3. Useful for difficult subjects
Insight learning works well for subjects or tasks that are hard to understand, and cannot be achieved through success-error learning. If something is not successful, you will remember one failed attempt – who would want to try again?
Insight learning helps in that the learner will use information from previous attempts and make changes based on what they remember working.
4. Suitable for scientific inventions
Insight learning is the “Aha” moment—the intuitive understanding of a problem or situation.
In this method of learning, past experiences and stored memories interact to solve a problem in a unique way. Examples include scientific inventions, artistic innovations, and mathematical proofs.
5. Insightful solutions can be readily repeated
In contrast to trial and error learning, where the learner must experience numerous temporary solutions before finding the final solution, Insightful solutions can be produced as soon as conditions are appropriate and need not be re-invented in future analogous circumstances.
6. Encourages application
In the classroom, insight learning may be seen when students understand how to solve complex problems and adapt learned information to new contexts and situations.
Learning by insight improves executive functioning in students and allows them to apply information in ways that traditional teaching methods do not.
For example, a student can memorize and recite grammar rules, but may not be able to apply those rules in a way that makes sense.
7. Promotes student-teacher interaction
Insight learning creates collaborative learning opportunities for students and teachers, provides feedback on student engagement and learning, and delivers a rich, personalized educational experience for every learner.
Its primary goal is to provide learners with opportunities to learn and interact with their teachers and peers, forging bonds that can help them throughout their lives.
8. Gives learners the opportunity to identify their own strengths and weaknesses
Insight Learning allows learners to identify their own strengths and weaknesses in relation to a complex task or problem without any guidance, enabling them to think about ways to improve upon it.
Learners have the opportunity to explore, think and then reach a satisfactory solution on their own.
How Can You Implement Insight Learning As A Teacher?
- Create integrated curriculum
- Present the whole problem
- See your student as a whole
- Motivate students
- Adopt goal-oriented approach
- Emphasize intelligent learning
- Use problems solving approach for better learning
- The teacher should present his lesson logically
- Put in persistent efforts
Insight Learning: FAQs
Why is insight learning important?
Insight learning is important because it lets you quickly overcome barriers that can entrance your progress towards a goal. It focuses on the importance of understanding and application rather than focusing on memorizing.
What is the difference between insight learning and latent learning?
Insight learning refers to the sudden understanding of a problem or situation. Latent learning is learning that occurs but is not apparent until there has been motivation to demonstrate it.
Is insight learning cognitive learning?
Yes, insight learning is a cognitive process, not an emotional one. The human brain has the ability to reorganize itself in response to changes in behavior and environment, as well as through everyday life experiences.
Insight Learning: Conclusion
Learning by insight might just be the most powerful way of learning because it lets our brains make connections where there aren’t any. But you might say, “I can understand that concept, but what does that have to do with me? Learning by insight is for geniuses and I’m not a genius.”
In some ways, everyone has the capability to learn by insight. It depends on how you express it and channel it throughout your life. You could get better at learning by insight based on the experiences you collect from the present moment and the lessons you learn from them.
This is a type of learning that is useful for both learners and teachers and can be applied to real-life problems or issues. It requires effort but rewards you with more powerful skills for coping with everyday challenges.
If you’re looking for more methods to learn as a student or teach as a teacher, here is an article on Self-Learning, Differentiated Learning, Continuous Learning, and Social-Emotional Learning you may want to check out.
I hope you found this article helpful.
Thanks for reading.