Millions of Topics I have learned about how can we learn faster. I highly recommend various points for learners:-
- Skip Laptop: Though you might be quicker at typing, writing with pen or paper is the way to go when taking notes. Not only are there oodles of distraction online but researchers have found that those who type process the information at a shallower level. As opposed to simply transcribing verbatim re-framing the information into your own words while out physically links to better performance on tests.
- Study-Sleep-Study: In a French experiment two groups were taught this Swahili translation for 16 French words over 2 sessions. Group 1 study in the morning then took a break and studied again in the evening. Group 2 studied in the evening, slept for the night and resumed studying in the morning. Though there was the same amount of time between the 2 study sessions. The sleep group could recall 10 of the 16 words while the no sleep group could only get seven and a half.
- Take Notes by hand: While it’s faster to take notes on a laptop, using a pen and paper will help you learn and comprehend better. Researchers at Princeton University and UCLA found that when students took notes by hand, they listened more actively and were able to identify important concepts. Taking notes on a laptop, however, leads to mindless transcription, as well as an opportunity for distraction, such as email.
- User the power of metal spacing: While it sounds counterintuitive, you can learn faster when you practice distributed learning, or “spacing.” Benedict Carey, author of How We Learn: The Surprising Truth About When, Where, and Why It Happens, says learning is like watering a lawn. “You can water a lawn once a week for 90 minutes or three times a week for 30 minutes,” he said. “Spacing out the watering during the week will keep the lawn greener over time.”
- Take a study nap: “Our results suggest that interweaving sleep between practice sessions leads to a twofold advantage, reducing the time spent relearning and ensuring a much better long-term retention than practice alone,” writes psychological scientist Stephanie Mazza of the University of Lyon. “Previous research suggested that sleeping after learning is definitely a good strategy, but now we show that sleeping between two learning sessions greatly improves such a strategy.”
- Learn something new: It might sound obvious, but the more you use your brain, the better it’s going to perform for you. For example, learning a new tool improves your skill of translating something you see (sheet music) to something you actually do (playing the instrument). Learning a new language exposes your mind to a different way of thinking, a different way of expressing yourself.
Here are more top 10 tips:
- Ingest information in multiple ways – A study by Judy Willis in 2008 states that “The more regions of the brain that store data about a subject, the more interconnection there is. This redundancy means students will have more opportunities to pull up all of those related bits of data from their multiple storage areas in response to a single cue. This cross referencing of data means we have learned, rather than just memorized.” So as an example, let’s say your learning to speak Spanish. You could combine many different methods of learning to make it more effective including:
- Writing exercises
- Youtube videos
- Audio exercises
- Using an app like Duolingo or Busuu
- Practicing with someone in person or over Skype
- Stay fit – Almost every morning, around 6 or 7 AM, I’ll do either a cardio workout (Usually a 4 mile run to the Golden Gate Bridge and back) or a 50 minute circuit training session with P90X. When I do that, my mind feels incredibly clear and sharp. There’s a study published in PLoS One that backs this claim. (This was also covered in the New York Times) Basically this study involves 81 young women who were native German speakers who were randomly divided in to 3 groups. In each of the groups they wore headphones and listened for 30 minutes to a number of paired words. One word as a Polish noun and the other was its German equivalent. Each person was asked to memorize the unfamiliar word. One group listened after sitting quietly for 30 minutes and the other group listened after riding stationary bikes at a light pace for 30 minutes. Guess what happened? The group that rode the bikes performed best.
- Learn by experience – I was a terrible writer when I first. Like I said, one of my first posts only got 354 views. But I kept writing. Now I’ve written over 50 posts, started my own motivational blog and have over 2.4 million views. There are few things that beat learning by experience. When I held my first marketing event, it was hard to get even just 30 people in the room. I had no idea how to build a landing page and registration site, no experience in building an email invite and no idea on how to get the word out effectively. After years of hosting marketing events, now I can get 100 people in a room easily and can launch an event in less than a day. But…maybe my stories aren’t good enough for you. Let’s use a celebrity. Richard Branson is a great example of this. He wasn’t an expert on the airline industry when he first started. It didn’t matter, he dove in anyway. Here’s the quick story from Virgin.com: “Richard Branson was stuck in Puerto Rico while trying to get to the British Virgin Islands. ‘They didn’t have enough passengers to warrant the flight, so they cancelled the flight,’ he explains. ‘I had a beautiful lady waiting for me in the British Virgin Islands and I hired a plane and borrowed a blackboard and as a joke I wrote Virgin Airlines on the top of the blackboard, $39 one way to BVI. I went out (and got) all the passengers who had been bumped and I filled up my first plane.'” Now Virgin Airlines is one of the top airlines in the world.
- Stay focused on one task at a time – Research at Stanford has shown that focusing one single task at a time is far more productive than multi-tasking. Travis Bradberry has written that “The frequent multi-taskers performed worse because they had more trouble organizing their thoughts and filtering out irrelevant information, and they were slower at switching from one task to another. Multitasking reduces your efficiency and performance because your brain can only focus on one thing at a time. When you try to do two things at once, your brain lacks the capacity to perform both tasks successfully.” Stay laser focused.
- Constantly test – When I would prepare for interviews, I would constantly practice role plays. This form of testing helped me to prepare for commonly asked questions and also taught me how to stay calm and collected when I get curve ball questions. Push yourself through tests. Whether it’s multiple choice, free form, role plays or flashcards, find ways to test whether or not you really understand the material you’re studying.
- Express yourself – It turns out that writing about your fears and worries might actually help your scores. According to Scientific American, “Psychologists at the University of Chicago found that college students who first wrote about their thoughts and feelings about an upcoming math exam for 10 minutes solved more arithmetic problems than did students who sat quietly. And the writing task improved the scores of highly anxious ninth graders so much that they performed as well as students with low anxiety on a biology final exam. The authors say that the technique may be most useful for habitual worriers in high-pressure situations.”
- Set up incentives – Studies have shown “findings (that) are consistent with the hypothesis that reward motivation promotes memory formation via dopamine release.” So for example, after completing a study session of reading a chapter, you could reward yourself with a short walk, a green smoothie or a funny Youtube video.
- Space out your learning – Have you ever crammed for a college final before? I have. I passed the test. But I don’t remember 99% of what I learned in those cramming sessions. Let’s face it: cramming isn’t effective. A study done by Nicholas Cepeda (York University, UCSD) shows that periodically reviewing information is a better approach than cramming.
- Stop wearing that 3 hour sleep badge with pride – We get it, you work hard. But don’t lose sleep over it. It’s simply not worth it. And there are a ton of studies that show getting enough sleep will help you learn faster and your memory will improve.
- Don’t sprint non-stop – It’s hard to sustain that and studies have shown that having regular breaks will actually boost productivity and improve focus. For example, nowadays, I’ll spring really intensely for about 30 minutes and then take a 5 minute break. I’ll usually meditate during that time or drink a green smoothie to relax. When I’m done with that 5 minute break, I usually feel re-energized and ready to crush it again.
Learning is one of the best things we can ever experience. When we are growing mentally and physically, it makes us feel alive. It gives us a sense of accomplishment. It gives us a sense of momentum. It gives us passion.
Hopefully this post helped you learn something today. 😉