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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

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

                    Reference

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                    Dr. Jamie Schwandt

                    Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt & Red Team Critical Thinker

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                    Last Updated on December 9, 2019

                    7 Techniques to Stay Focused and Avoid Distractions

                    7 Techniques to Stay Focused and Avoid Distractions

                    The world has become a very distracting place, you don’t need me to tell you that. Where once we could walk out of our house or office and disappear into our own world with our own thoughts, we are now connected 24 hours a day to a network that’s sole purpose is to make us available to anyone and everyone at any time they choose to disturb us.

                    Of course, it is very easy to sit here and say all you have to do is turn off your electronic devices and just allow yourself several hours of quiet solitude; but the reality is far harder than that. There is an expectation that we are available for anyone whenever they want us.

                    However, if you do want to elevate yourself and perform at your best every day, to produce work of a higher quality than anyone expects and to regain control over what you do and when you will need to regain some control over your time, so you can focus on producing work that matters to you…

                    The good news: You do not have to become a recluse. All you need are a few simple strategies that will allow you enough flexibility in your day to stay focused to do the work that matters and still allow you to deal with other people’s crises and dramas.

                    Here are 7 ways you can stay focused and be less distracted.

                    1. Find out When You Are at Your Most Focused

                    According to research, brilliantly documented by Daniel Pink in his latest book, When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, our brains have a limited capacity to stay focused each day.[1]

                    From the moment we wake up to the time we turn in for the day, we are using up our brain’s limited energy resources and, depending on the time of day, we will be moving between strong concentration and low concentration.

                    This means that for most people, their optimum time for sustained concentration and focus will be soon after they wake up. For others, it could be later in the evening—a kind of second wind—but that is rare.

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                    Once you understand this, you can take time to learn when you are at your best and to protect that time on your calendar as much as possible. If you can, block it off and use that time for the work you need to do that requires the most concentration each day.

                    2. Get Comfortable Using ‘Do Not Disturb’ Mode

                    We have the ability to switch our electronic devices to do not disturb mode. Where all notifications are off and your phone or computer will not alert you to a new email or message.

                    Now after testing this function for a number of years, I can happily report that it does work.

                    When I sat down to write this article, I put all my electronic devices to do not disturb, closed down my email and began writing. I am safe in the knowledge that until this article is written, and I turn do not disturb off, there will be no interruptions or distractions.

                    Of course, it is not really about whether do not disturb works or not, it is whether you are willing to turn it on or not.

                    Most people believe they have to be constantly available for their boss or customers. This is not true at all. What has happened is because of your always available status, you have conditioned these people to turn to you first whenever they have a problem.

                    You are not actually helping them at all. You are preventing them from having to think for themselves and develop the skill of problem-solving. By not being so readily available, you help them a lot more.

                    What it comes down to is your boss and customers are going to be far more positive with you, if you deliver your work to the highest quality and on time than you being available 24/7. Trust me on that. I also tested that one.

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                    3. Schedule Focus Time Every Day

                    This technique is a lot easier than you may think.

                    First, you figure out when you are least likely to be disturbed. For me, that is between 6 and 9 am. for a lot of my clients, they find the first 90 minutes in the morning at their workplace is when they are not likely to be disturbed. This is important because you want to be building consistency.

                    Most people start their day by checking their email and other messages. While they are doing that, they are not going to be bothering you. Now there is no rule about when you should be checking your email. The chances are email is not going to be where you want to spend your most focused time, so you can decide to check your email at say 10:30 am.

                    Dedicate 30 minutes from 10:30 am to 11:00 am for email processing and use the first 90 minutes of your day for doing your most important work. You will surprise yourself by how much work you get done in that ninety minutes.

                    4. Plan Your Day the Night Before

                    One of the inevitabilities of life is there is always a plan for the day. The choice is whether the plan you have is a plan of your own making or not. If you don’t have a plan, then the day will take control of you. Other people’s priorities, urgencies and dramas will fill your day. As the late Jim Rohn said:

                    “Either you run the day or the day runs you.”

                    If you take control and make it a habit to plan out what you want to accomplish the next day before you go to bed, you will find yourself staying more focused on your work and be less likely disturbed.

                    Now when I say plan your day the night before, I do not mean you need to spend an hour or so planning and mapping out every minute of the day. Planning your day should only take you around 10 to 15 minutes and you only need to decide what 10 things you want to complete — 2 “must do” objective tasks and 8 “would like to do” tasks. What I call the 2+8 Prioritisation Technique:

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                    Do not be tempted to go beyond 10 tasks for the day. When you do that, you do not have enough flexibility in your day to handle crises and other unknown issues that will pop up throughout the day.

                    When you do not build in flexibility, you will soon stop planning your day. Only plan tasks that will have the biggest positive impact on your work and projects.

                    5. Learn to Say “No”

                    I am sure you’ve been told this before. We are wired to please and this results in us wanting to say yes to every opportunity that comes our way. The problem is we cannot do everything and every time you say “yes” to one opportunity, you are saying “no” to another opportunity. You cannot be in two places at the same time.

                    Jay Shetty shared an inspiring video on JOMO “Joy Of Missing Out”. Here’s the video:

                    Rather than allowing ourselves to be succumbed by FOMO (the Fear Of Missing Out), we should replace that ‘fear’ with the “joy” of missing out. Because of our need to please, we say yes to things we really don’t want to do; yet when we do that, we miss out on doing things that bring us joy—creating something special, spending time educating ourselves and just having some quiet alone time with ourselves.

                    Learn to say “no” every time you get a notification to your phone. Ignore it. Learn to say “no” to your colleagues when they want to gossip. Learn to say “no” to volunteering when the thing you are being asked to volunteer for does not excite you. Just learn to say “no”.

                    By saying “no” to opportunities, distractions and interruptions, you are saying yes to better and more meaningful things. Things you do want to focus your attention on.

                    6. Create a Distraction-Free Environment for Your Focused Time

                    This has been possibly the most powerful tip I learned when it comes to focusing on what is important. Have a place where you do only focused, high-concentration work.

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                    Now this place needs to be clean and only have the tools you need to do your work. If it is writing a report or preparing a presentation, then it needs a table and a computer, nothing more. Files, paper and other detritus that accumulates on and around people’s desks need to go. A clean, cool and well-lit environment is going to do a lot more for your focus and concentration than anything else.

                    The dining table in our home is where I go for undisturbed, focussed work. I take my laptop or iPad, and only have my writing app open. Everything is closed down and the computer is in “do not disturb” mode. There is nothing else on the dining table just my computer and my water tumbler.

                    Because that is my designated focus area, I only go there to work when I have something that needs total focus and concentration. I am there right now!

                    7. Be Intentional

                    The reality is, if you absolutely need to get something done then you need to be intentional. You have to have the intention of sitting down, focusing and doing the work.

                    There’s no magic tricks or apps that will miraculously do all your work for you. You need to intentionally set aside time for undisturbed focus work and do it. Without that intention, you can read as many of these articles as you like and you still will not get the work done.

                    It is only when you intentionally set yourself up to do the work, turn off all notifications and do whatever it takes to avoid distractions will the work get done.

                    The Bottom Line

                    The strategies and tips I shared in this post will go a long way to helping you become better at focusing on the important things in your life. No matter what they are, you are in control of your time and what you do with it and where you spend it, never give that control away to anyone else.

                    Protect it and it will be your servant. Give that control away and it will become your master and that is not a good place to be.

                    More About Staying Focused

                    Featured photo credit: Manny Pantoja via unsplash.com

                    Reference

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