It is into the face of a postmodern academic crisis that L. Ron Hubbard presented his educational methods. Drawn from some four decades of experience as an educator, these methods represent the first comprehensive understanding of the actual barriers to effective learning. Mr. Hubbard further developed a precise technology to overcome those barriers and thus how to learn and apply any body of knowledge.
In total, his contribution to the field is known as Study Technology and provides the first fully workable approach to teaching students how to learn. It offers methods for recognizing and resolving all difficulties in absorbing material, including a previously unacknowledged barrier that ultimately lies at the root of all failures to pursue a given course of study. In short, then, Study Technology allows anyone to learn anything.
Because it is based on fundamentals common to everyone, it further cuts across all socioeconomic and cultural boundaries. Moreover, it achieves uniformly consistent results with all age groups. Indeed, the three definitive texts on the subject, The Basic Study Manual, Study Skills for Life and Learning How to Learn essentially differ only in their treatment of the material. The first is designed for teenagers and above, while the second is aimed at younger readers, with the third offering the basics of Study Technology to children between the ages of eight and twelve.
“The end and goal of any society, as it addresses the problem of education, is to raise the ability, the initiative and the cultural level and, with all these, the survival level of that society. And when a society forgets any one of these things, it is destroying itself by its own educational mediums.”
—L. Ron Hubbard
The point being: Mr. Hubbard’s technology for learning and literacy is no less effective in elementary schools than it is in high schools, trade schools and universities, not to mention executive suites of multinational corporations. Furthermore, end results are uniform from one arena to the next inasmuch as the three barriers to comprehension are identical from one learner to another.
The First Barrier to Study
absence of mass or physical object one is studying
The Second Barrier to Study
too steep a study gradient
The Third Barrier to Study
all becomes distinctly blank beyond a word not understood or wrongly understood
To wit and in brief: the first barrier to study, Mr. Hubbard describes as an absence of mass and defines it in terms of a physiological response to learning when the physical object one is studying is absent. Thus, for example, if one were attempting to grasp the operation of a tractor without an actual tractor present or reasonable facsimile thereof (an illustration or model), one would suffer various adverse reactions, including, but not limited to, headaches and dizziness.
The second barrier to study, he describes as too steep a gradient and defines in terms of attempting to master a particular datum or skill without grasping the necessary previous step. By way of example, he points to the student driver unable to coordinate hands and feet to manually shift gears. Although one might imagine the difficulty lay with complications of shifting, in fact there is some earlier noncomprehended or unmastered skill, perhaps simply keeping the vehicle on the road.
The third and most important barrier is the misunderstood word, which he explains in this wise: Have you ever read to the bottom of a page only to realize you cannot recall anything on that page? Therein lies the phenomena of the misunderstood word, i.e., everything is distinctly blank beyond a word not understood or wrongly understood. Conversely, when the troublesome word is pinpointed and properly defined, all becomes miraculously clear. The misunderstood word leads to a vast array of adverse mental effects and significantly bears upon education as a whole, not to mention the whole of the human learning process. In that respect, it is the root problem behind all inabilities and all failures in education.
To rectify the problem Mr. Hubbard developed Word Clearing. It comprises a complete technology for addressing misunderstood words and is properly defined as “the subject and action of clearing away the ignorance, misunderstoods and false definitions of words and the barriers to their use.” Moreover, when taking into account the totality of his methods for surmounting the Three Barriers to Study—that is Study Technology and therein lies all one need know to assimilate any subject or master any skill.