On the one hand, there exists a trend for slow living, being here and now – slowing down the pace of life and skillfully balancing its various aspects. On the other hand, there is an increasing avidity in acquiring knowledge and skills, a desire to learn quickly, and to achieve dizzying successes. Are these values mutually exclusive or complementary?
It is said that one of the skills necessary for success is the ability to designate for yourself an optimum learning pace. Although success is immeasurable, learning is always an investment that returns with a profit. You can also make learning enjoyable. It can be much more pleasant if it is done with enthusiasm and openness. Understanding each topic or a new way of thinking requires a sense of observation and, above all, constant curiosity. It is essential to focus on your own life goals and cultivate this attitude. That is how motivation is born, and that is directly projected to learning and developing skills.
Many polymaths (people excelling in various abilities), such as Leonardo da Vinci, Darwin, or Feynman, claimed that they do not have a unique natural intelligence, that the human brain has enough power to master any field. And a person can learn almost anything using appropriate techniques.
Mind training: reading
Reading is the best source of learning, knowledge, and information. It is to the mind what exercise is to the body. It gives freedom of wandering in time and space and more in-depth insight into concepts, emotions, and imagination.
A person can learn almost anything using appropriate techniques
Many successful people share this sentence and see in reading a chance to improve their lives and careers. Reading books activates the brain, which grows, changes and creates new connections and patterns, depending on the type of content that stimulates it. Through reading, the brain trains concentration, readiness for complex tasks, and acceptance of new information.
How to remember – methods:
1. Making handwritten notes
This simple learning method forces you to think about the essence of the material. It also creates a type of frame that helps you check how much you have learned. Write down only the most essential information – this is how you will remember the rest. And although it seems that writing on a laptop (e.g., during a lecture) is good, studies have shown that those who take manual notes on paper learn more. It’s a slower method, but reformulating the information yourself helps to memorize it long-term. This skill serves to remember the concept, understand the topic, and develop further learning abilities.
- Listen carefully and take notes in your own words;
- Develop a coherent system of abbreviations and symbols to save time;
- Write phrases, not full sentences;
- Leave spaces between main phrases to come back later and add more;
- Learn to pick out important information and ignore others;
- Combine what you learn with something you know.
2. Creating mind maps
They are one of the best tools to speed up the learning process. After creating a visual representation of the things we want to learn, the mind will process information more effectively. Make nice graphics: take a large piece of paper, colorful markers, and organize all the information and facts. Draw pictures and use symbols that you come up with yourself. Through patterns and colours you can group similar ideas, objects and concepts.
3. Teaching others and explaining
One of the most effective ways to remember is to transfer knowledge. According to research, people who teach and explain to others retain about 90 percent of the information. Psychologists call this the “retrieval practice”. It is also a reliable way to build lasting traces of memory. Richard Feynman, a physicist, came up with a mental model: “Learn by teaching someone else a topic in simple words so that you can identify holes in your knowledge”.
4. Using a distributed learning method
It is based on using short sessions spread out over time. The first step is to take accurate notes on a selected topic. Then take a few minutes to review them, make additions and changes, and add details. Do it quickly after each session or learning period. Distribute sessions over time – from one a day to three a week. The brain’s neural networks process information over time, so spacing out practice over a more extended period helps remember new information more effectively.
5. Give the brain a break
Frequent rest is as crucial for learning as practice. When we are overwhelmed or worried about something, our brain shuts down. It can be observed in long lectures when, after some time, students divert their attention from what is being said. Overload of new information prevents the brain from effectively processing and storing it. To bring back the mind’s sharpness, you need to take a “brain break” or transfer activity and focus on something new. Even a five-minute break can remove mental fatigue and revitalize your brain again, resulting in faster learning. So:
- Work in 30–50 minutes sessions;
- Take short breaks, early and often;
- Give the brain time to rest and regenerate.
What kind of student are you?
- Auditory: Does your memory relate to sound? Maybe you remember what you read when a song was playing? If so, you belong to the category of auditory learners. To learn more effectively, record lectures, and listen to them instead of reading textbooks.
- Visual: If the information obtained is related to visual content, then you probably are a visual learner. While learning, you should implement images, charts, infographics, flashcards, and other similar forms. Using colors will make the process even more effective!
- Physical: If none of the above, then you are a physical learner. You have a lot of energy – during the lecture, you tap your feet or play with something. A walk before the lecture might help tol calm you down. You can also study or listen to audio lectures while walking.
A bit about educational techniques
They are fashionable today: they support traditional methods, give the ability to plan, save, and remember. Wordplay is one way to increase your productivity. You can create your word cards or reach for ready sets online. The Internet offers countless learning platforms and applications for learning.
Research proves that playing dynamic games improves learning skills
Mnemonic devices are useful for quickly memorizing a large amount of knowledge: patterns of letters, sounds, or other associations. Mnemonics help to categorize, summarize, and compress information. They can be helpful for medical or law school students or language learners. Moreover, the latest research proves that playing games, especially dynamic ones, improves not only skills in the game itself, but also learning in general. Such players become better students, are multitasking, and more efficient.
- Create a suitable space for learning and study at the same time of day;
- Develop a habit of learning every day;
- Learn and sleep to make your brain work more efficiently;
- Appreciate physical activity and short training sessions;
- Stay hydrated for the body to function well.
Becoming a super learner can help you with much more than just quickly mastering the knowledge for the exam. By improving learning techniques, you can improve intelligence, ability, and performance. That is how the foundations for deepening extensive knowledge from various fields are born. As a result, it can significantly affect the quality of life, career, and success.
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