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A Powerful Learning Approach That Smart Students Use to Learn Fast and Get Great Results

A Powerful Learning Approach That Smart Students Use to Learn Fast and Get Great Results
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Are you looking for new approaches to learning? If so, there are powerful approaches you can learn outside the conventional techniques you were taught in school. For some, unconventional approaches are a necessity, as typical approaches simply do not work for us. It’s like requiring everyone to be a PC, yet you are a MAC. So, continue reading if you are a MAC stuck in a PC world.

I have developed an approach to learning that uses a combination of some of the most effective outside-the-box approaches to learning. Behind this approach lies one simple formula called The Learning Formula (TLR). With TLR, we start by learning something new, followed by actively processing new knowledge, then applying it as soon as possible; thus, demonstrating that learning updates in our brain by using the following formula: Learning = Download + Process + Apply.

Using this formula (and similar approaches to learning), I created the Deep Rabbit Hole (DRH) Learning Theory.

What Makes DRH an Effective Learning Approach?

I will demonstrate the algorithm for this theory. However, before I dive into the algorithm, let’s first discuss two key concepts I used as the framework for the theory. Think of these two concepts as my heuristic (a tool or approach to problem solving or learning).

To understand something quickly: Solo Taxonomy

    The structure of observed learning outcomes (SOLO) taxonomy is a model describing the levels of increasing complexity of a student’s understanding of a concept. With Solo Taxonomy, you are moving from the prestructural form (where the student is unsure of the concept) to the extended abstract (where the student, not only understands the concept, but looks at the ideas in a new and extended way). This approach is effective in guiding us in asking the right questions. [1]

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      To remember ideas better than others: Chunking

        Chunks are small units of knowledge logically fitting together allowing us to practice and remember what we learn. We have a better chance of storing the new information in our long-term memory by breaking these larger pieces of information down into smaller chunks. [2]

        With chunking, imagine that you are trying to solve a problem, where the problem has four basic elements. We can only hold approximately four thoughts in our working memory, so we must find ways to group related elements into chunks. Once we successfully assemble useful elements into chunks, we can then use our working memory to manipulate concepts. In order to do this, we must first understand how concepts fit together. This is why the use of analogies are so effective. [3]

        How to Apply DRH Learning Theory to Learn Fast?

        My informal definition of an algorithm is simply a step-by-step process or set of rules I use in my theory. Using an algorithm helps in solving difficult and abstract problems, such as a wicked problem. Let’s take a look at each step of the algorithm.

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          1. Identify what you are trying to solve or learn.

          Using this article as an example, here we are trying to understand what smart students do to learn fast with good results. This would form the question or problem we are trying to solve or understand.

          2. Clearly state the purpose.

          It is important to have a clear direction and understanding of your objective. In this article, my objective is to clearly outline how students can learn fast with the best results.

          3. Identify what you’ve already known.

          This provides students a perfect opportunity to use Solo Taxonomy as discussed earlier.

          4. Use a Deep Rabbit Hole (DRH).

          Here we are using a combination of chunking with a semantic tree. With this tool, you are deconstructing the concept, question, or idea. We are clearly identifying the parts of the rabbit hole we want to apply. We do this by coloring or circling those components we would like to further apply or break into their own DRH.

            5. Use an Analogy.

            An analogy is simply a comparison between two concepts for the purpose of explanation.

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              6. Create or use a Diagram.

              A diagram is a drawing that represents the appearance or structure of something in graphic form. This could be anything from a simple sketch, to a detailed outline of a building.

                7. Form your Theory or Hypothesis.

                A powerful approach we can use to form a Hypothesis is to use a form of deductive reasoning called syllogistic reasoning. For example, let’s take a look at one of Aristotle’s famous syllogisms.

                • Premise #1: All humans are animals (represented as H).
                • Premise #2: All animals are mortal (represented as A).

                Conclusion: Therefore, all humans are mortal (represented as M).

                8. Practice and apply your Theory or Hypothesis.

                Finally, let’s look at how we can firmly secure what we are studying or learning in our memory. By applying what we learn, we are able to secure it in long-term memory. Let’s look at two powerful techniques to use in order to practice and apply our new knowledge.

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                To enhance your memory: The Method of Loci

                The Method of Loci is a mnemonic device dating back to Ancient Greek times. It is a method of memory enhancements using visualization combined with spatial memory. [4]

                  To learn a difficult concept: ADEPT

                  The ADEPT method of learning is a way to help us learn a difficult idea or concept by using the following: Use an Analogy, create or find a Diagram, personally Experience the concept, try to explain the idea or concept in Plain English, and then describe the Technical Details of the concept.

                    Start to take up these powerful approaches and make them your good study habits to learn fast and smart!

                    Featured photo credit: Flaticon via flaticon.com

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                    Reference

                    More by this author

                    Dr. Jamie Schwandt

                    Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt & Red Team Critical Thinker

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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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