Choice in Learning, Experiential Learning

The Power of Intuition

What is Intuition? The dictionary defines it as the ability to understand something immediately or to make a judgement which seems to be unconsciously generated. It is the “gut feeling” we receive about something we encounter in our environment. Intuition has always fascinated me, because I’ve wondered exactly how judgements could be made based on a hunch or a feeling. After all, isn’t it supposed to be logic that we use to make decisions. It turns out that logic is not always the right approach to use to make decisions, especially when making important personal ones. For example, you could learn everything about which college you would like to attend simply from reading their brochures, but you would never want to attend a college unless you have had a chance to visit the campus to get a “feel” for it. And, as for a decision like who it is you should marry, you would never marry someone if you didn’t have a good feeling about it. If your gut told you that marrying that person would be a bad idea, you would have to trust your gut.

I have had the opportunity to use the power of intuition in my own life. I was born in a small town about 60 miles West of Chicago. It was a college town that very much had that small town feel to it. However, as the years went by, the town seemed to get pulled into the city. It was becoming like a suburb. When I was growing up, my family and I would take a trip into Chicago once or twice a year to go out to dinner or to see a show, but this was for special occasions. Now, it seemed like people were moving into my town and were commuting every day into the city.

After I graduated high school, I attended college and graduate school, and then I made my way into the Chicago area to start working in my career as a Technical Writer. I also met my husband about this time, and we bought a house together that was on the border of the city. A number of years went by, and we learned that a friend of my husband’s from childhood had recently moved to Montana. We decided to take a vacation to visit him and his family.

When we arrived by train in Whitefish Montana, we exited the train, and I immediately had a feeling that ‘I love this town. I want to live here.’ I remember it was a strange feeling even at that time because I’ve traveled a lot and I’ve been to a lot of places, but I never had that feeling before. The feeling stayed with me when we returned to Chicago. And, two years later, my husband was laid off from his job. We decided to move to Montana. It just felt right, and it was by far one of the best decisions of my life.

The power of intuition is that it can be a guide for decisions that personally impact us. As we go through life, we have emotional reactions to the events that encounter — good and bad. Then, when faced with new events, our minds do a form of pattern-matching to similar events that we have experienced in the past. These prior emotionally-ladened experiences can help to guide us through the many decisions that we have to face. It is an evolutionary process to learn through experiences, and it is our most powerful way to learn. I had grown up in a small town; Whitefish, MT. is a small town, and I intuitively knew that I would be happy there.

In regards to educational technology and learning, students need to be exposed to many different types of experiences, good and bad. They will use those experiences to guide them. It has always been known that wealthy students are exposed to many more experiences, such as travel, as poorer students, and this is unfortunate fact in education. But, all students, and all people, can be exposed to enriching experiences through media-based apps in all areas of life. Through an individualized learning plan, anyone can be exposed to a variety of experiences from which to learn and direct their lives.