Lifehack is going to help us all learn better and faster.
These aren’t really cheats or shortcuts but practical ways to learn faster which not only saves precious time but provides an advantage over slower learners.
1. Repeat and then repeat. We often make the mistake of focusing on how much time we depend studying something, “I sat studying for six hours straight” when this is not an accurate barometer of our effort. Time is not always quality time and we fail to accurately calculate distractions and focus. Instead, look at the number of times you have repeated material. Repetition is one of the most powerful learning tools because it actually wires our brain for better retention have because it wires our brain.
2. Take small bites. Break down your subject into self-contained chunks. They are easier to remember, easier to study when time is limited and easier to remember. Once you have successfully “chunked” your subject and applied repetition to remember them (step 1 above), we can proceed to “chain” those chunks.
3. Chaining Chunks. This doesn’t sound too elegant but it is the key to creating a comprehensive understanding of a subject as opposed to separate unrelated parts. When preparing a chunk chain, focus on how each chunk relates to the one before and after it. This can be done on paper by titling each chunk and drawing a line connecting it to the next chunk in the chain and labeling the line with a connecting word such as “if successful, then” or “this leads to” or whatever other word helps you establish the connection between two or more chunks.
4. Play the game. Most people like games and our brains seem to like them too. (Witness the popularity and success of lumosity.com) Turning our learning into a game with rules and rewards, makes learning more enjoyable which leads to kore repetition which is, as mentioned, the primary route to better retention. A drill is a task, a game is fun!
5. Get intense then rest. “Focus bursts,” where we give our very best effort for a short period of time, then take fulfilling and refreshing breaks allows us to intensely focus and then to rest. Research shows that rests help us assimilate material and gives our brains new focus for the next burst. Focus burst, recharge, focus burst, recharge. Over and over again. Try the Pomodoro Technique which is based on 25 minutes of focus and 5 minutes of break.
What are you going to learn in the New Year?