You never stop learning; learning is a lifetime process that never ends – even after you leave school. You have probably heard of such quotes before. Learning is a significant aspect of human life, after all. However, like all processes, learning consumes time, and time is money. How can you ensure that the learning process is as smooth as possible and make the most out of it? The good news is that you do not need to wonder anymore – thanks to the advances in neuroscience, you have a better understanding of how the brain processes and retains information. In case you are among the many who seek to find ways of jumpstarting the learning process, you can look at these proven methods.
Taking notes with a pen and paper
We live in an age where technological devices have overtaken traditional pen and paper. While it may seem more sophisticated or when you decide to type out important tidbits on your iPad or laptop, consider skipping them and going for the old fashioned method. Scientific research studies have shown that people who choose this writing method have better chances of retaining the information even at lower levels, therefore learning more. While this method may seem more cumbersome than typing them out, it actually encourages retention and comprehension. This also means you will perform better when given a test based on the same subject material.
Take notes effectively
You want to take notes, but you cannot just take them as they are. Generally, the better the notes are, the faster you learn and retain. When you are a good note-taker, you find it easier to remember important points, gain a deeper appreciation for the topic at hand, and develop excellent learning skills. Before learning a new topic, it is important to know the different note taking strategies. Regardless of the method you use, though, some general tips will apply. These include taking notes in your own words, ignoring trivial information and noting the useful information, developing symbols and abbreviations to save time, leaving spaces between main ideas to help you remember to revisit them, and writing in phrases.
Improving your practice
When you are learning a skill and perfecting it, you do not do the same thing repeatedly – it just becomes boring and monotonous. Incorporating slight changes when you are repeating your practice sessions will always help you perfect a skill faster than repeating it the same way all the time. In fact, treat it as you would practicing a betting procedure before placing your money on a casino kiwi jackpot – the more you do it in slightly different ways while observing people who are good at it, the better you become at the game.
However, keep in mind that this strategy only works if the modifications are minor ones, as they build up to changes later on. When tackling skills, making big changes instantly will not help, just like changing your habits suddenly will not help unless you tackle smaller ones that lead to them. For example, trying to lose weight without changing the causes of your excess weight, like your diet, will lead to a disaster later, in contrast to someone who makes small changes in their lifestyle and loses weight slowly but effectively.
Mnemonic devices are useful.
This is among the most effective ways to memorize and remember a large chunk of information very quickly. They are basically sounds, letters, or association patterns that help you to learn and understand something. An example is the alphabet song that you learned in your formative schooling years, and it helped with knowing the alphabet of the head – even for many years to come. These devices help your mind simplify and compress information, making it easier to learn than attempts at cramming. It comes in handy for students studying law or medicine and even individuals that are learning a new language.
Distributing your practice sessions
The brain cannot handle large amounts of information within a short time, and even if it does – it cannot retain it afterward. Distribution of practice sessions helps combat the problem, as it involves spreading out your practice sessions to cover a topic over a certain time period. This, in turn, will encourage more meaningful learning instead of cramming sessions. The first step involves jotting thorough notes when the topic is discussed. After this, you observe the notes and make any necessary changes to ensure accuracy and attention to important details. It is also vital to do it quickly, such as when a lecture is happening, then once or twice after the lecture ends. You can then start to spread the revision sessions. Note that spacing these over longer periods proves to be more effective, as it encourages you to keep learning and do smaller study sessions.
Sleeping and studying
Sleep is underrated, really.
When you have a major project going on or a big presentation the next day and feel like you are not prepared, you try to stay up the whole night and cramming information. Sounds familiar? However, that is not how the brain handles information – and it actually proves to be disastrous in the long term. Scientific research continuously shows a strong link between learning and sleeping. In fact, they all prove that getting some shut-eye is vital to boosting the brain’s ability to retain and absorb information. In particular, deep sleep is when the brain strengthens memories, especially if sleeping happens within the first twelve hours of getting the information.
Incorporating brain breaks
It is easy to suffer from information overloads – and that affects your brain’s ability to learn. Consider taking breaks, even for five minutes – this will help you focus.
Learning is not something for the gifted – it is an activity that you can improve every day, as long as you do it well. These are some of the strategies to use to improve your learning and retention abilities – which help you perform better at tasks and increase your motivation overall.