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Learning Can Be Much Easier If You Follow This 5-Step Approach

Learning Can Be Much Easier If You Follow This 5-Step Approach
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Learning a new concept can be a rewarding experience, yet it is frustrating when new information simply floats around in your head without sticking. Often times, we are forced to read a book repeatedly just to get the information to store in our memory.

Learning should not be simply about forced memory, and it should not be a difficult task. The mind is an amazing tool. Luckily, there are powerful methods that can assist us in truly grasping difficult concepts. The ADEPT Method for Learning is a practical approach to improving your brainpower. Incorporate this approach into your way of thinking and use it to learn everything with ease.[1]

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    Start with an Analogy

    A simple trick to improve how we learn is to compare it to something we already know. For example, how would you explain the function of a neuron (otherwise known as a brain cell)? What analogy would you use to explain how a neuron functions? How would you compare it to something the learner is familiar with?

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    Let’s give this analogy a shot: Neurons are like transportation systems. They carry neurotransmitters (we will refer to them as information) from one neuron to another, similar to how transportation systems transport people from one city to another.[2]

    Think with both sides of your brain by way of a Diagram

    Use a diagram if you are unable to find the correct words to describe a concept. A great resource for identifying diagrams to visualize and grasp difficult concepts is Pinterest. By using diagrams, we are able to visualize new and abstract ideas. Understanding complex and abstract ideas requires both sides of the brain to function together and form powerful connections.

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    Experience the idea by using an Example

    What should you do if you are confused about a topic? You can either ask someone to show you or you can attempt to figure it out for yourself. By figuring it out for yourself, your mind is then able to learn through connections. By using examples, it allows you to experience the idea. By exposing yourself to examples, you are able to formulate your own understanding of the concept.

    Describe the concept in Plain language

    By using The Feynman Technique, constructed by the late theoretical physicist Richard Feynman, we are able to take an abstract concept and explain it in Plain English. Feynman posits, “Explain it like I am 5.” This forces us to make it really simple, and allows us to truly comprehend the concept. Avoid using technical jargon and remember to keep it simple. If you are unable to describe the concept in Plain English, then you most likely do not truly understand it.

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    Convert your comprehension of the concept into a Technical description

    Once you have a basic understanding of the concept, the final step is to comprehend the technical description of it. By using the ADEPT method, we can start with a rough idea and sharpen it until we clearly identify the technical details. For example, if you have been using the ADEPT method to grasp the Pythagorean Theorem, you must then be able to provide the technical terminology (such as an explanation of the formula) for other people to use.[3]

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      Follow this advice when using the ADEPT method: Find an intriguing Analogy to describe what it’s like; use Pinterest to help you find a Diagram; conduct a Google search to find websites for Examples; describe the concept in Plain English by visiting websites such as Reddit; and finally, use easy to access websites (such as Wikipedia) to convert your concept into a Technical Description.

      The ADEPT method is a powerful tool that will help you strengthen and comprehend concepts in a faster and more effective way.

      Reference

      More by this author

      Dr. Jamie Schwandt

      Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt & Red Team Critical Thinker

      10 Hacks to Increase Your Brain IQ, Focus, and Creativity How to Upgrade Your Critical Thinking Skills and Make Smart Choices The Ultimate Exercises to Improve Posture (Simple and Effective) How Cognitive Learning Benefits Your Brain and Grows Knowledge 9 Game Changing Tips on How to Write Goals (and Reach Them!)

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      1 7 Effective Ways To Motivate Employees in 2021 2 How a Project Management Mindset Boosts Your Productivity 3 5 Values of an Effective Leader 4 How to Motivate People Around You and Inspire Them 5 The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

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      Last Updated on July 21, 2021

      The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

      The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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      No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

      Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

      Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

      A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

      Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

      In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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      From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

      A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

      For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

      This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

      The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

      That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

      Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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      The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

      Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

      But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

      The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

      The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

      A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

      For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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      But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

      If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

      For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

      These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

      For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

      How to Make a Reminder Works for You

      Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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      Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

      Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

      My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

      Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

      I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

      More on Building Habits

      Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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      Reference

      [1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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