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What are you learning? It's Indian history. It's Pythagoras' theorem. It's Fashion Designing. Everyone might have an answer. But what if the question is, 'how are you learning?'. Not many of us will be conscious decision-makers in that case. But let me tell you one thing, it's more crucial than anything - the 'how' part. Because learning is also a skill that can be honed, that needs to be understood, tweaked and personalized. And definitely not something you should dismiss as some tedious affair which you've no control over.
So let's get started. Here are 9 ways which can help you improve your learning capacity.
Keep learning and learn something new every day. Because, like every other skill, the first step to mastering the art of learning is to actively practice it. And it doesn't matter what you're studying; it can be a 5-minute Ted Talk or an informational video you randomly find on YouTube, or a new skill you've wanted to learn since forever. It's about actively trying to learn and understand it.
Whether you know it or not, everyone has specific learning modes that work best for them. Some of you might be visual learners who easily understand information when depicted as diagrams, some of you might be auditory learners who can recollect the information best when listened to them, some of you might prefer reading and writing above all, and some of you might be kinesthetic learners who rely on hands-on experience as a way of learning. Or you can even be multimodal- someone who prefers a mixture of different approaches. So it's about figuring out what works best for you and practicing them intermittently.
3.Learn by doing
Learning doesn't end with memorizing information. Try teaching what you've learnt. Because teaching is a two-way street - the more you teach, the more you'll understand. And the more heterogeneous your student circle, the better. It not only helps you reinforce or refine the subject matter or skills yourself, but also improves your communication, comprehension, creativity and presentation skills. Or, so says the Protégé effect.
But what if you can't get someone else to tutor? Just tutor yourself, then. Try giving self-explanations on the concepts you're learning. Elaborate on them and ask open-ended questions to yourself.
Cramming for the finals? We've all done it or are still doing it. Aren't we? It can help you in the quick review of topics or the short-term memorization of the same. But for the long term? That isn't a healthy learning practice at all. You can always split your study material into manageable chunks and take purposeful breaks in between to recharge yourself. Because spaced practice improves retention, and repeated revisiting of the same topic after a short period can help you recall or recollect the information quickly.25-minute study sessions with 5-minute intervals after each session, is what the popular Pomodoro technique for time management suggests. According to the technique, you can even have an extended break after completing four such sessions.
Remember the regular class tests, assignments and mid-semester exams you've always hated? They're perfect for retrieval practice. So once you're done with a chapter, try taking some tests related to it. Do the same when you're revising a subject or chapter. Instead of simply re-reading them again, try recalling the information from memory. By doing so, you'll get to understand your weak spots better. And that can make learning all more effective for you
7.Switch between subjects
Learning the same subject for God knows how long? Just Don't. Switch between topics, subjects or skills. An interleaved practice is more effective than 'blocking' or focusing entirely on a single topic. Because when you're switching back and forth between subjects, you'll be continuously retrieving the information you learnt, making connections and memory associations. And that will be beneficial for you, especially if the two topics are related or comparable. Following this practice can also make you more motivated to study, with renewed energy.
A healthy mind and brain require a healthy lifestyle. It requires proper sleep, exercise, food and hydration. Only they can help you boost your cognitive function and memory to the extent that you've always strived for.
9.Identify and work on your strengths
Anyone can learn, but not everyone knows how to learn effectively. Let's learn how to learn with our latest blog.