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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

                    More by this author

                    Dr. Jamie Schwandt

                    Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt & Red Team Critical Thinker

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                    Last Updated on October 17, 2018

                    7 Natural (And Highly Effective) Ways to Improve Memory

                    7 Natural (And Highly Effective) Ways to Improve Memory

                    How is your memory? Is your cognitive function as strong as you’d like it to be?

                    If not, then you’re definitely going to be interested in the memory improvement tips I’ll be sharing with you in this article.

                    Despite what you might think – or have been told – improving your ability to recall information is certainly possible. You just need to know the right ways to do it. (Don’t worry, as you won’t need to make any significant lifestyle changes.)

                    So how to improve memory? Let’s dive straight into the first of seven easy ways to improve your memory significantly.

                    1. Meditate

                    We live in a world of non-stop, 24/7 information. It’s like a waterfall that’s endlessly pouring news, data, facts and figures into our conscious minds.

                    Unfortunately, our brains are not designed to absorb this tremendous amount of information. It’s no wonder then, that most people struggle to remember information and recall things.

                    Even if you believe you have a good memory and are comfortable with multi-tasking, you’ll also be aware that there’s only so much information your brain can process at one time. And research suggests that the more information and distractions, the harder it is for you to transfer information to your long-term memory.[1]

                    Fortunately, meditation can help you out.

                    Even if you just meditate for 10 minutes per day, you’ll boost your ability to focus, which in turn, will make it easier for you to remember important facts.

                    If you need help in shifting into a meditative state, I recommend trying an app like Headspace – which can assist you to achieve this in a convenient and structured way.

                    And don’t forget, meditation doesn’t just have to be closing your eyes and sitting in a lotus position. Some people prefer to simply take a short walk in nature. This clears and calms their mind, and still provides the all-important boost to their focus.

                    2. Get plenty of sleep

                    If you’re sleep deprived or have not been sleeping well, then I’m guessing you’re not remembering well either. This is because sleep and memory are intimately connected.

                    If you have a busy life and regularly find yourself not getting enough sleep, then this will negatively impact your cognitive abilities – including your memory.

                    How much sleep should you be getting?

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                    Well, according to the National Sleep Foundation, you need a minimum of seven to nine hours of sleep per night. If you get this amount of sleep regularly, then within just a few days, you’ll see a tangible improvement to your ability to remember and recall things.

                    Now, I’ll be honest with you, maintaining a proper sleep cycle is not always easy (especially when the latest Netflix series has just been released!). But if you care about improving your short-term and long-term ability to remember things, then it’s critical that you try to get at least the recommended amount of sleep every night.

                    Are there ways to hack the sleep cycle?

                    Yes, there are.

                    Try these three things:

                    • Have a fixed bedtime (preferably before 10pm)
                    • Don’t eat too late
                    • Make sure your bedroom is as dark as possible

                    Sleeping is a precious activity. It regenerates your body, clears your mind, and helps with the storing and retrieval of information.

                    However, don’t sleep just yet, as I want to tell you about another great way to increase memory…

                    3. Challenge your brain

                    When was the last time you challenged your brain?

                    I don’t mean challenged in the sense of overeating or undersleeping. I’m referring to stretching your mental capabilities through things like crossword puzzles, Sudoku and memory games.

                    To expand your memory bank, and to make your recall razor-sharp, you need to continually challenge your brain.

                    Feedback from Lifehack readers such as yourself, has suggested that brain training apps are a super-effective way of doing this. Used regularly, these apps can enhance your focus, attention span, problem-thinking ability and memory.

                    There are hundreds of these apps available (most of them for free), but I recommend starting out with one of the big three:

                    • Peak (Android/iOS, free, 10 million+ downloads)
                    • Lumosity (Android/iOS, free, 10 million+ downloads)
                    • Elevate (Android/iOS, free, 5 million+ downloads)

                    If you normally spend a chunk of your week playing computer games, then instead of shooting and killing your enemies, why not let some of them live – while you put your attention into boosting your brain power!

                    Challenging your brain will strengthen your neural pathways and enhance your mental abilities. But don’t just take my word for it, try one of the apps above and see the positive benefits for yourself.

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                    4. Take more breaks

                    When I think back to my days as a budding entrepreneur, I distinctively remember working all the hours under the sun – and many under the moon too!

                    At that time, I believed that breaks were for the weak, and to become wealthy and successful, I needed to shed blood, sweat and tears.

                    However, I was wrong.

                    Taking regular breaks is the best way to keep yourself productive, creative and alive to opportunities. It’s also the best way to learn new information.

                    Let me explain.

                    Typically, when studying lots of new information, most people will spend hours reading it – in an attempt to learn and remember the content as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, they’ve overlooked something.

                    Namely, extended study sessions are rarely a good thing, as your ability to retain information naturally declines after a certain period of time.

                    It’s similar to physical exercise. You wouldn’t attempt to train vigorously for four hours in a row. Instead, you’d take regular breaks to give your lungs, heart and muscles adequate time to recover. Failing to do this will result in muscle cramps and overexertion.

                    It’s the same with your brain. If you overload it with information, you’ll suffer from mental fatigue.

                    What’s the answer?

                    Make sure you take regular breaks when learning new information. I recommend at least a 10-minute break every hour. (You may also want to take a look at the Pomodoro Method.)

                    If you don’t want to be as regimented as that, then take breaks as soon as you find yourself losing the ability to focus on the new material. Your brain will thank you – and your learning aptitude will move up a level.

                    5. Learn a new skill

                    I love this quote, as it’s 100% true – but frequently overlooked:

                    “Learning never exhausts the mind.” – Leonardo da Vinci

                    From my experience of helping to develop the careers of dozens of Lifehack employees, I can definitively say that participating in meaningful and purposeful activities stimulates the mind. It also reduces stress and enhances health and well-being.

                    Let me give you an example of this:

                    Imagine you work for a global financial institution in one of their call centers. You take over 100 calls a day – many of them complaints. When you started the job a few months back, you were excited to be in full-time employment and working for a household name.

                    Unfortunately, your initial enthusiasm quickly turned into frustration.

                    The endless complaint calls began to take their toll on you. And the supervisors irritated you too, as they were far too interested in micro-managing you – rather than letting you work in your own way.

                    Now, in the story above, the ending could be that you put up with a job you didn’t like, and led a dull and frustrated working life for years and years. However, an alternative ending is this: you channeled your dissatisfaction in to learning a new skill (computer coding). It took you a year or two to get up to speed, but it allowed you to successfully upgrade your career – and the ongoing learning made the call centre job much more bearable.

                    Clearly, learning new skills gives you impetus, focus and something to aim for. Your brain loves to learn, and you should tap into this by always seeking our new information. And when learning becomes a habit, you’ll find your ability to remember and recall things effortlessly, becomes a habit too.

                    6. Start working out

                    If you’re not already working out regularly, then here’s another reason to do so:

                    Exercising for 20-30 minutes three times a week will improve your long-term memory.

                    Regular exercise increases blood flow in your body and supplies the brain with extra oxygen and nutrients. And a well-nourished brain is a well-functioning brain!

                    “But I just don’t have the time?,” I hear you say.

                    Not a problem.

                    A research has shown that a daily burst of 60 seconds of high-intensity exercise, offered many of the benefits of the longer exercise routines.[2] So, if you’re short on time – now you know what to do.

                    Interested in getting started?

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                    Here are five different ways that will help you work out:

                    • Join a gym
                    • Join a sports team
                    • Buy a bike
                    • Take up hiking
                    • Dance to your favorite music

                    7. Eat healthier foods

                    I’m sure you’ve heard the expression: “You are what you eat.”

                    This applies to your brain too.

                    The food that you eat helps determine your brain’s capacity to store and recall information. A poor diet (think junk food + soda!) harms not just your physical health, but your mental health too.

                    Fortunately, there are several foods that are especially good for your brain and your memory. These include: blueberries, celery and dark chocolate. But anything high in antioxidants will have a positive effect on your brain and memory.

                    Conversely, highly-processed foods and those loaded with sugar will have a negative impact on your memory. This is due to them providing insufficient nutrients for your brain – leading you to easily suffer from mental fatigue.

                    Want to be mentally healthy? Then eat and drink an abundance of these for brain health:

                    • Turmeric – helps new brain cells grown
                    • Broccoli – protects the brain against damage
                    • Nuts – improves memory
                    • Green tea – enhances brain performance, memory and focus[3]
                    • Fish oilfish oil supplements can increase your brain power

                    Here’re more brain food options that improve memory!

                    Final thoughts

                    I sincerely hope these seven memory boosting ways that I’ve covered in this article will be of help to you.

                    You don’t need to implement them all. I suggest just trying the ones that appeal to you.

                    But, if you’re serious about dramatically improving your memory, then make a start right now on adopting one or more of the ways I’ve suggested. I’m confident you won’t regret it.

                    Featured photo credit: Eric Ward via unsplash.com

                    Reference

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