When it comes to learning about God and the Bible, we tend to want to “leave it to the professionals” to tell us what to believe or else we just leave it alone. The problem is, listening to experts doesn’t guarantee that you actually learn or believe anything new, and leaving it alone guarantees that you learn nothing new about God.
How about you?
Do you learn better when you are given “ready-made” answers that someone (like a teacher or a preacher) delivers to you? This is called Deductive Learning.
Or do you learn better when you discover the answers yourself? This is called Inductive Learning.
Many studies have shown that people learn more and retain a deeper understanding of what they learn through the Inductive Learning approach.1 Of course, there is value in each learning approach, depending on the topic or situation. When a topic is mainly factual, and when the learner is motivated and ready to absorb new content, the Deductive Learning approach might be the quickest way to learn.
But when you have doubts or major questions about the subject matter—such as God and the Bible—an Inductive Learning approach is much more effective because there are opportunities to question, examine and discuss the topic by identifying, clarifying, exploring and evaluating what you believe.
In the words of mathematician Blaise Pascal (1623-62):
"People are generally better persuaded by the reasons which they themselves have discovered than by those which have come into the minds of others."
At Q Place, we provide everyone an opportunity to inductively explore faith-related questions and topics for themselves. Great questions (rather than neatly packaged answers given by a teacher or spiritual leader) guide the process. Inductive resources are essential to facilitate this Inductive Learning approach.
1 Brudnik et al. (2000) note that students generally remember approximately 10% of what they read, 20% of what they hear, 30% of what they see, 50% of what they hear and see, 70% of what they say, and 90% of what they do by themselves – just as the best way to learn to cook well is not merely to observe an expert chef in a culinary show, but to prepare meals following his/her instructions.