Advertising

How to Be More Knowledgeable

Advertising
How to Be More Knowledgeable

Learning new skills at any age reaps a huge amount of benefits including raising self-esteem, increasing our sense of accomplishment and personal growth, as well as keeping those brain cells active and well-used.

We can all struggle to find the motivation to carry on learning no matter what the subject is but there are several different ways that can help us along the way. So how exactly can we learn effectively and become more knowledgeable as a result?

Motivation, the Sweet Spot and the Information Gap

To learn something effectively, we need to be present in the sweet spot. This is the magical space where we are neither sitting in our comfort zone nor forcing ourselves so much that we become demotivated.

Motivation is paramount in keeping us on track when learning new things and the sweet spot is the key to keeping this motivation going. Lingering too long on information we already know can lead to boredom and going too far into unknown territory can cause us to lose that much-needed motivation very quickly. It’s important that you keep a good balance and take small but challenging steps to keep you moving forward.

By doing this you need to be aware of the information gap. This is crucial when keeping up the motivation to gain more knowledge; we should always start with a subject in which we have basic understanding but where we still need an advancement of information to fill the gap. This way we can better connect our knowledge to what we’ve previously learned.

Remember, curiosity is one of the greatest motivations for learning, but this can be easily killed off if the level at which we are learning is too difficult. Maintaining a good pace and remembering that small steps achieve big goals will keep demotivation to a minimum.

Advertising

Not Everyone Learns in the Same Way

The important thing to remember is that we are all different when it comes to learning new information and skills. Intelligence is commonly thought of as our intellectual potential which can be measured with IQ tests, but in fact, research has shown there is a large spectrum of intelligence that differs from person to person and cannot be limited to conventional tests; this means that people have the potential to excel with different cognitive abilities and therefore, learn effectively in completely different ways.

Understanding your learning technique and utilizing it will allow you to become more knowledgeable on the subject you’re learning. Once discovered, make this your main source of learning, making sure you throw in some alternative ways for optimal results.

With this in mind, here are the most effective ways for retaining information and gaining the skills that you’ve learned.

Memory Tactics

mobile-phone-iphone-music-38295

    Memorizing information can come more easily to some than others. If you struggle with retaining key points and more complicated topics then improving your focus is one way of dealing with this.

    Neuroscientific studies have shown that listening to certain type of music not only increases productivity but helps to focus the mind and retain information. Websites such as focus@will aim to keep you in the state of flow and concentration allowing your brain to utilize its memory function.

    Advertising

    Cramming too much information into a short space of time can be tempting but ultimately, this is laziness in disguise. When we cram, we don’t think carefully about the meaning of what we’re learning; in other words, it’s all about quality not quantity.

    Make sure you structure your time well. Structured study sessions over a period of time allows you to process the information more adequately and research has found that the brain takes in more of this information through small regular sessions than one long, marathon.

    Relatable Learning

    woman-hand-desk-office

      Relating and applying what you’ve learned to already-known situations is an effective way to understand new information. By doing this, you allow your brain to see connections through experience and previous knowledge, cementing this in the mind and allowing it to stick.

      If you try to apply it to the relevance in your own life or how it relates to things you find interesting and important, then this will help with focus and motivation in the long run.

      Learning Through Practice

      Advertising

      desk-office-pen-ruler

        This is one of the most popular methods of learning and one that I find the most effective. Lifting words from a page can be good in doses, but often our brain needs to experience the theories to fully understand the connections.

        A good example of this is when we learn a new language. The most effective way is the immersion technique where you are in a situation where you’re forced to speak the language and the brain is pushed to reach in and find translations as well as picking up on subtleties of speech, intonation, and assumption through gestures. Putting your mind through this trains it to find connections fast and efficiently much more than sitting down with a book.

        Explain What You’ve Learned to Someone Else

        people-woman-coffee-meeting

          Another great method is to attempt to explain the new information to someone else. Doing this reinforces what you’ve learned in your mind, allows you to pinpoint any gaps in information or points you haven’t fully understood, and helps you translate the information you’ve gained into your own words and in a way that others can understand.

          This is an effective way to test whether or not your techniques are working for you. Start a blog, create a presentation or participate in discussions on the subject to solidify your knowledge.

          Try Different Methods of Learning

          Advertising

          balance-865087_640

            As I pointed out earlier, finding a particular way of learning that resonates with you is your first port of call. However, don’t limit yourself to just one method. The brain needs stimulation and even if one method is very effective, you can run the risk of getting bored and it’s in this space that motivation can wane.

            Once you find your most effective method, then utilize it but try to also mix it up by reading, watching related video clips, practical sessions, and explaining to others; being visual and verbal are both important factors when learning effectively and becoming more knowledgeable in your chosen subject and creates a good balance.

            Always remember that becoming an efficient learner takes time and practice as new habits need to be formed and established. Be patient with yourself and focus on one method at a time to allow yourself to find out what suits you. Motivation is key so do what you can to keep this up; focus on the small, steady and effective steps to get you to the next level.

            Featured photo credit: Unsplash via pixabay.com

            More by this author

            Jenny Marchal

            A passionate writer who loves sharing about positive psychology.

            How to Celebrate Small Wins to Achieve Big Goals Success In Reaching Goals Is Determined By Mindset How To Overcome Self Imposed Limitations For Goal Setting To Reach Your Goals, Start With Planning For The Worst Why Setting Intrinsic Goals Can Make You Happier

            Trending in Smartcut

            1 10 Effective Ways To Make You a Fast Learner 2 8 Time Management Strategies for Busy People 3 50 LinkedIn Influencers To Follow, No Matter Your Industry 4 How to Break Bad Habits (The Only Effective Way) 5 15 Daily Rituals of Highly Successful People

            Read Next

            Advertising
            Advertising

            Last Updated on August 11, 2021

            23 Killer Sites for Free Online Education Anyone Can Use

            Advertising
            23 Killer Sites for Free Online Education Anyone Can Use

            Whether you’re five or ninety five, the internet has a lot to offer. Particularly when the topic is education, the resources on the internet are endless. Best of all, many high quality sites are completely free. From history to coding, excellent, free online education awaits on the following 23 sites.

            1. Coursera

            Coursera is a website that partners with universities and organizations around the world. This brings a wide variety of topics and perspectives to one searchable database.

            Coursera is a powerful tool for free online education and includes courses from many top universities, museums and trusts. This gives the site an extremely wide range of in-depth courses.

            Coursera is extremely useful if you’re looking to study many different topics, or want courses from different schools and groups. However, the free courses are now quite limited, so you’ll have to

            2. Khan Academy

            Partnering with many post secondary schools, Khan Academy offers a useable, well-organized interface. Also curating many courses from around the web, Khan Academy offers impressive depth on many different subjects.

            Among the more well-known educational sites, Khan Academy is also incredibly user-friendly, which may make it easier to keep learning goals. If you’re looking for a free online education, you can’t go wrong with Khan Academy.

            3. Open Culture Online Courses

            If you are struggling to find exactly the material you are looking for, try Open Culture’s listing of free online education courses. The page highlights 1000 lectures, videos, and podcasts from universities around the world.

            The site features a lot of material found only on universities’ private sites, all in easy-to-browse categories. This means you can find hundreds of university courses without having to visit and search each university’s site.

            Open Culture’s list features courses from England, Australia, Wales, and many state universities around the United States. It’s a very helpful resource for finding many courses in one area of study.

            4. Udemy 

            Udemy’s free courses are similar in concept to Coursera’s but additionally allows users to build custom courses from lessons.

            Advertising

            Working with many top professors and schools, the site mixes the customizable platform of other sites with a heavy emphasis on top-quality content. This is another site, however, that mixes free and paid content.

            5. Lifehack Fast Track Class

            Lifehack believes in skills that multiply your time, energy, and overall quality of life.

            In this rapidly changing world, traditional education skills just don’t cut it anymore. You can’t afford to take years learning a skill you’ll never really practice. Besides offering some paid courses that will help you become a better self, it offers a list of free courses which aim to train some of the Core Life Multipliers including:

            These are cross-functional skills that work across many aspects of life.

            6. Academic Earth

            Another site with courses from many different schools is Academic Earth. Much like the three sites above, Academic Earth brings together top notch courses from many different sources and focuses on offering a wide variety of subjects.

            Academic Earth lists courses by subject and school, so it might be easier to find what you’re looking for.

            7. edX

            Another great option for free online education is edX. Also bringing together courses from many different schools, the site has impressive, quality information for everyone. edX covers a great range of topics from universities such as Harvard, MIT, and Berkeley, meaning a high-quality, free online education is entirely possible here.

            8. Alison

            Unlike the previous sites on this list, Alison is a free education site offering certification in some areas. Alison offers courses mainly in business, technology, and health, but also includes language learning courses.

            It’s a great option if users need a professional certificate for their learning, as Alison also offers school curriculum courses.

            9. iTunesU Free Courses

            A very convenient place for free online education is iTunesU, because it integrates seamlessly with your iPod or any app-ready Apple mobile device. On an iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch, users download the iTunesU app.

            Advertising

            Desktop users can access iTunesU on the upper right hand corner of the iTunes Store. iTunesU is also convenient because the store is categorized much like iTunes.

            Users can search learning materials in many different ways, including by genre and topic. However, courses are often a mix of free podcasts or videos and paid content.

            iTunesU does include courses on a variety of topics, but it does not integrate with Android, Google or Windows mobile devices.

            10. Stanford Online

            Your hub for all the online offerings from Stanford University, Stanford Online offers self-paced and session-based courses. While Coursera features some courses from Stanford, many classes are only available via other hosts. Some courses require iTunes, but most are completed in your web browser.

            Stanford Online is a great site for high-quality courses, though the topics are somewhat limited compared to sites partnered with more than one school. If you’re looking for free courses, make sure to mark the “free” option on the left-hand side.

            11. Open Yale Courses

            Open Yale Courses echoes Stanford Online, in that it offers only courses from Yale. While the site is similarly limited to topics taught at the school, Open Yale Courses offers a lot of videos of actual campus lectures. The availability of videos makes the site a great option if you’re looking for quality courses but learn better by watching than by reading.

            12. UC Berkeley Class Central

            Much like the other schools on this list, UC Berkeley has a variety of free online education options. The school has slightly fewer courses than the schools above, but it includes some supplementary lectures, webcasts, and RSS Feeds, making it easy to keep up with the topics you choose.

            13. MIT OpenCourseWare

            Similarly, MIT offers a variety of free courses. The school has a comparable number of courses to the schools above, and it includes very in-depth course materials on the subjects available. MIT also offers free RSS feeds, a convenient way to continue learning.

            14. Carnegie Mellon Open Learning Initiative

            Carnegie Mellon’s free online education site is comparable with the other school’s on this list. However, Open Learning Initiative also covers a smaller range of topics, but for the topics that are covered, impressive, in-depth material is available.

            15. Codecademy

            Codecademy is a website dedicated specifically to teaching coding. Where other coding sites follow an example/practice session workflow, Codecademy includes a live practice window. This means you can practice coding while still viewing the lesson material.

            Advertising

            The courses at Codecademy are well-written and easy to follow, and the website is organized very nicely. Codecademy features a centralized dashboard where you can monitor your progress, and it organizes lessons into complete modules. This lets you learn an entire language without needing to pick the next course manually.

            16. Code

            Code is another website focused on coding and app writing. A site with high-quality courses, Code also features learning options for kids.

            In addition to kid-friendly courses, Code offers free online education classes on a wide variety of technology topics. These classes include app writing, robotics, and Javascript.

            Most of the courses are also geared in a such a way that they can be useful in a classroom setting. This makes Code a great resource for harder to find coding topics, as well as various learning settings.

            17. University of Oxford Podcasts

            The University of Oxford features many different podcasts. Most are public lecture series or lectures from visiting professors, with several different recordings available.

            The advantage to this particular site is that podcasts are organized into series, making it easy to subscribe to multiple lectures on one topic. This is another great site for thoroughly in-depth lectures.

            18. BBC Podcasts

            For the more casual learner, the BBC offers a wide variety of podcasts on many different topics. Most podcasts are updated weekly and focus on everything from finance, to sports, to current events.

            Through the World Service line of podcasts, there are also many in different languages. The focus of these podcasts are less in-depth and theory based, which may be more accessible to the average person.

            19. TED-Ed

            Another great destination for more general learning and free online education is TED-Ed. From the same people that brought you the all-encompassing, motivational web series comes a site chocked full of educational videos. Most include impressive animation, and all are ten minutes long or less.

            Not only is TED-Ed an excellent site for the curious, but it also includes supplemental materials and quizzes on the videos. This makes the site extremely useful in formal education settings, as well as in entertaining ways to brush up on new discoveries and topics.

            Advertising

            20. LessonPaths

            LessonPaths is another great tool for those looking for a more usable and convenient way to access learning material. On this site, users create link playlists of their favorite learning materials from other sites. Users then rank these collections, making it easy to find many different high-quality, accessible sources on a given topic.

            21. Memrise

            Another impressive free online education site offering ease of use and convenience is Memrise. Available both on desktop and as an app, Memrise is a particularly powerful tool if you are studying a language. The site encompasses many other topics as well, though some of the course material is user generated content.

            Part of what makes Memrise special is their integration of games into the learning materials, mixing learning with entertainment.

            22. National Geographic Kids

            The kids site for National Geographic is another site that makes free online education applicable for younger users. For those looking for kid-friendly education, a large variety of games, puzzles, videos and photos keep kids interested on this site.

            National Geographic Kids doesn’t organize learning into courses, making materials available by topic and medium instead. This makes National Geographic Kids a good option for those looking for a more casual learning environment.

            23. Fun Brain

            Fun Brain is another great option for kids looking for free online education, as it focuses on games and fun puzzles. Particularly focused on math and reading, Fun Brain’s game-based approach can be valuable if the child in question struggles to pay attention.

            Fun Brain offers rewards and challenges as well, and it is another site aimed at a casual learning experience for kids K-8.

            The Bottom Line

            With so many amazing free online education resources, everyone has the ability to boost their skills and knowledge. Whether you’re interested in picking up some interesting trivia for your next party, improve your resume with some coding or business skills, or become a more well-rounded person, these resources are perfect for you.

            More About Online Learning

            Featured photo credit: Dai KE via unsplash.com

            Read Next