For centuries how we taught barely changed. Then we started making some real progress in how the human brain worked and from there made some big innovations in terms of how to make learning easier, faster and better, how to translate studying materials written in another language? In the latter case, you can get help from TheWordPoint.com. So, what to do with the rest? These aren’t just innovations that work in the classroom, but will also make a difference to you at home.
In that way, you’ll be able to learn more quickly and while tiring yourself out less – leaving you far more time for other things. That sounds good, right? So let’s stop warbling on about what we’re going to do and instead get right to it.
You remember that day dreaming you used to do, where you took some idea that the teacher taught you and then ran with it in your imagination? It turns out that isn’t a waste of time at all. Instead, by taking something abstract and trying to apply it to your own life, you’re going to be far more likely to remember it.
Even better, if you can attach emotions to it, it will be even more likely to stick in your memory. This is because our brains are programmed to hang onto any memory that has an emotional element for longer. That makes sense. You’d want to remember how you escaped the Jaguar (or found the berries) more readily than how you walked to the waterhole yet again today.
Just in case you didn’t know, interest is an emotion. So if you’re interested in what you’re learning, then it will be far more likely to stick around.
Particularly for an adult brain, revising things is a good idea to make it stick around for long. The trick is to have a nice big space between the revisions. The first time it should be at least a few hours. Then a few days. Then make it a week.
In this way whatever you’re learning won’t just stick around for a few weeks or months, but will stay with you for months, years and possibly even the rest of your life.
The best way to do this is to make notes as you go through. Really these can be bullet points or shorthand. It doesn’t really matter, as long as you can understand what you wrote. Then, you can simply revise the notes several times in the future to get the ideas to stick.
The human brain doesn’t have terribly good short-term memory. In fact, some recent research suggests we’ve now got worst short-term memory than goldfish. That is pretty depressing. Fortunately, there is a way around it. That’s called chunking.
Here the idea is that you take basic concepts and turn them into slightly bigger concepts. Then you take those slightly bigger concepts, put them together and create even bigger and better concepts.
To give you a metaphor, first, you learn the words. Then you learn the sentences. Then you put together the paragraphs. So first you learn the basic concepts and make sure that you really understand them. Only after that do you move onto more complicated things.
Yes, that does mean most courses go way too fast, as they will often race past things far too quickly. The trick is to take the time in between to really rehearse what you’ve learned. Don’t just think you know it, make sure that you know it. In that way, when you have to call on that ‘chunk’ it will be there. From there you can deal with more advanced concepts far more easily.
A lot of students get rid of the material that they learned last semester. Big mistake! Instead, you should keep it around a little longer and leaf through it once or twice a week, rereading sections that you covered last semester.
Revisiting information later is a great way to make sure that the information will stick around for long. This works well too when you’re trying to learn something somewhere else, of course. Don’t just go through a course once. Instead, reread the material after you’re officially ‘done’ with the course. That final rehearsal can make certain that you actually keep the information for years instead of just for the time that the course takes.
What most people don’t realize about learning is that there are several stages to knowledge. First, there’s the stage where you know nothing. Then there’s a stage where you recognize the information if you hear it again. And only after that is there actually remembrance, where you can recall information immediately. It’s like trying to recall the face of somebody you met once. It’s hard. But when you see them again, you remember them immediately.
Because people don’t realize that there are these three levels, they often stop at level two. This means they don’t actually have the information down as well as they should have. Then, in a few month’s it flows away again, to be lost forever.
So if that happens, why exactly did you study? Don’t let that happen. Take the time to really remember the information. From there you can chunk it and really use it. And then you’re smarter than you were. Now that’s the real secret to learning.