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Published on October 14, 2019

Essential Learning Methods to Help You Learn Effectively

Essential Learning Methods to Help You Learn Effectively

You’re never too old to learn, and this isn’t just some fancy statement; this is many people’s motto in life.

We all learn different things ever since we are little — our parents teach us morals, our teachers teach us maths, society teaches us acceptance, our work teaches us how to do our job, etc. Even if you’re 70, life has a whole new book of things to teach you, you just need to have the heart and willingness to learn.

Learning is important to our everyday life. Everything originates from learning. If you didn’t learn to read, you’ll not be able to read this article. If you didn’t learn to speak, you probably can’t express your thoughts and needs to others today. What you learn today will always benefit your current and future self. The question is, with such limited time in life, how can we learn effectively?

In this article, I’ll introduce to you the essential learning methods and some of the best ways to learn.

The Best Ways To Learn

There are so many different ways of learning, and here, I’ve handpicked some of the best ways that will definitely help you in being an effective learner.

1. Your Comfort Zone

or most people, staying in their own comfort zone opens their minds and helps them retain information. For instance, many learn and retain information when they’re taking notes on a piece of paper; others learn by watching videos and documentaries relevant to the topic.

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By finding out how you’re comfortable learning will surely help you in effectively retaining new information and, you will remember it for a longer period of time.

2. Learning Through Play

Just like children, you can learn through play. This doesn’t literally mean building blocks out of plastic Lego, but by implementing what you have learned. If you’ve just learned a new way to make quiche, the best way of making sure you know it properly and remember it is by immediately making it at home.

3. Pass That Information On

If you’ve learned something fresh, pass the information on to someone else. When you go through what you’ve learned and are explaining the process to someone else, you will learn and remember better.

In classrooms, there is a frequent activity of dividing students into groups and one of them explains to other classmates what the day’s lecture was about. This not only helps the speaker understand concepts better, but when other classmates are being reinforced with the lesson, they also remember better.

4. Rote Learning Is a Big NO

Many people try to memorize word by word what they have been taught, as if they were sitting in a written exam. Teachers discourage rote learning in students as well because by only memorizing some words, the goal isn’t met. The main point here is to truly understand and connect the dots of what you’ve learned.

The generation today has grown up with computers and is used to getting all the information needed at the click of a button, and without really understanding the concept, people are used to copy pasting. Rote learning is just like that. You just pick up the information from somewhere and learn it word for word, which doesn’t really help you understand anything, only to memorize.

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Learning is all about being able to express what you have understood about a particular concept. It is being able to give your own opinion about a certain event, instead of just knowing the facts. Somewhere along the lines of life, we do want to learn new things, but some of us have the attention span of a goldfish or simply haven’t known the smart ways of learning.

We need to understand that there is not just one way of learning and understanding different concepts. Learning is taking place all around us, from the day we are born. There are various methods of learning. Some people may be more receptive to one kind of method, and some to another. A smart person would try and find out which method of learning is best suited to them, and use that to enhance their learning process. The following learning methods will be helpful for you.

Different Types of Learning Methods

Essentially, there are 7 types of learning methods that researchers have compiled over time, other features of learning basically just fall under the umbrella of these listed types:

  • Visual: This type of learning requires visual material to understand, these could be in the form of videos, graphics and images. This method helps people in visually understanding what they see.
  • Aural: This kind of learning style uses audio like music and sounds to understand.
  • Verbal: This method is usually for people who like to speak and narrate their stories in order to learn. This can be done through scripted speeches, impromptu narrations or even just daily conversations.
  • Logical: Many people like learning through logic, they won’t understand if they’re just spoon-fed something. They want proper reasoning to why and how something happened for them to properly learn something.
  • Social: This is when people learn better when they’re divided into groups and are with other people. These social groups help expand their horizons and gives them confidence to ask questions and solve problems.
  • Solitary: This learning style is usually just meant for people who prefer to learn alone in a confined place that has no distractions whatsoever. They are either easily distracted with other people or don’t feel confident enough to be with other people while learning.
  • Physical: This is a learning technique where people learn through physical acts like using their hands or simply by the sense of touch. This technique is used when children are learning, to help them understand what fluffy is, they are asked to touch a cotton cushion or a hairy cat. This is how children learn and understand better.

What types of learning methods suit you better? You can find out in this article: How This Learning Style Quiz Can Help You Make the Most of Your Life

But in order to support any kind of learning listed above, you have to be physically fit and healthy. Your mind and body need to be nurtured in order for any kind of learning method to be effective. Here are some of the things that can be done on a daily basis to keep a receptive mind and body.

Habits to Keep Your Mind and Body Receptive

To be an effective listener, you also have to be able to retain that information. People learn new things every day, but only a portion of those people are able to remember what they learned by the end of the day. There are some tried and tested home remedies that have worked like a charm for people who are looking to increase their memory or generally want enhanced memory retention.

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Sleep More

An active brain is one that sleeps almost 8-10 hours a day. If you’re overworked and sleep for barely five hours, there are chances that your brain needs rest to retain information.

But if you’re somebody who sleeps for 11-15 hours a day, you may just be too lazy and need to engage yourself into healthy activities to keep your brain active and running.

Healthy Diet

include lots of protein and almonds in your diet. Drink lots of water and generally stay away from fatty foods. You don’t have to quickly switch over to salads and all, but just generally try to adapt to a healthier eating pattern. Limit use of alcohol and caffeine because they slow down your brain causing a hindrance in your learning journey.

Here’re 15 Brain Foods You Should Be Eating Regularly to Keep Your Mind Sharp.

Socialize

By meeting new people every day, you’re not only giving your brain a chance to open up, but you’re also having your brain exercise by getting new information. Talking to people and engaging into daily conversations helps the flow of information going.

Brain Challenging Activities

The only reason why you’re not an effective learner is because your brain hasn’t yet been exposed to challenges where you really have to think and work your mind. There are many activities that increase your motor skills like puzzles, mathematical questions, even solving crossword in your daily newspaper. You can also try these 11 Brain Training Apps to Train Your Mind and Improve Memory.

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When your brain is active and running, you possess a better chance of learning new things and actually retaining that information.

Final Thoughts

Learning has been a safe haven for so many people, whether it’s about learning to cook a complicated dish for a family gathering or simply about sewing a button shirt; we all learn and inspire every day.

The best among us are people that don’t let anything come in the way of their learning process — not age, not health, not money; these people make it their life motto to wake up every day and learn at least one new thing before going to bed. And these people are all around us, WE are these people.

The learning techniques mentioned in this article are effective ways and tips for you who like to learn every day. The knowledge we gain today can benefit our career, relationships and our everyday life. Learn today, succeed tomorrow!

More About Learning

Featured photo credit: Sarah Noltner via unsplash.com

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Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

5 Proven Memorization Techniques to Make the Most of Your Memory

5 Proven Memorization Techniques to Make the Most of Your Memory

Do you forget stuff every now and then? Are you trying to enhance your memory but not sure how?

All you need is the right memorization techniques to make the most of your memory.

The human brain is fascinating. More specifically, the vast interconnections within our mind. Mendel Kaelen compares the human brain to a hill covered in snow,

“Think of the brain as a hill covered in snow, and thoughts as sleds gliding down that hill. As one sled after another goes down the hill a small number of main trails will appear in the snow. And every time a new sled goes down, it will be drawn into preexisting trails, almost like a magnet. In time it becomes more and more difficulty to glide down the hill on any other path or in a different direction.”

The intent of Kaelen’s discussion is to think of new ways to temporarily flatten the snow. Kaelen remarked,

“The deeply worn trails disappear, and suddenly the sled can go in other directions, exploring new landscapes and, literally, creating new pathways.”

The idea here is to temporarily rewire your brain, or as Michael Pollan remarked in How to Change Your Mind,

“The power to shake the snow globe, disrupting unhealthy patterns of thought and creating a space of flexibility-entropy-in which more salubrious patterns and narratives have an opportunity to coalesce as the snow slowly settles.”

So, how can we rewire our brain allowing deeply worn connections to disappear and new connections to form? The answer is quite simple. We must change the way we store information in our mind.

    Let’s examine 5 specific memorization techniques that will change the way you think and remember information.

    1. Build a Memory Palace

      What is it?

      The method of loci[1] (aka memory palace) is a method of memory enhancement using visualizations with the use of spatial memory. It uses familiar information about your environment to quickly recall information. It is a method that was discussed by Cicero in an ancient dialogue called De Oratore.

      How to use it?

      Ron White discusses in How to Memorize Fast and Easily: Build a Memory Palace, that it’s essentially a room or building that you have memorized and you use locations in the room to store data. Ron informs us,

      “You memorize locations in a room and then you later go back to those locations to retrieve the data that you want to remember.”

      Example

      An easy 5-step example, in the form of a Wiki, can be found at Artofmemory.com. Let’s examine the the steps:

      • Step 1. Choose a place that you know well. For example, your house or office.
      • Step 2. Plan the route and pick specific locations in your route. For example, your front door, bathroom kitchen, etc.
      • Step 3. Decide what you want to memorize. For example, geography, list of items, answers for a test, etc.
      • Step 4. Place one or two items, with a mental image, and place them in your memory palace. Exaggerate your images. For example, use nudity or crazy images forcing it to stick in your mind.
      • Step 5. Make the image into a mnemonic.

      You can learn more about this technique here: How to Build a Memory Palace to Remember More of Everything

      2. Mnemonic

        What is it?

        A mnemonic is a memory device that aids in retention and/or retrieval of information. Mnemonic systems are techniques consciously used to improve memory by helping us use information already stored in long-term memory to make memorization easier.[2]

        How to use it?

        Mnemonics make use of retrieval cues to encode information in our brain allowing for efficient storage and retrieval of the information. The trick is to learn how to easily create mnemonics. If you find that you struggle with creating your own, try the following website: Mnemonic Generator.

        Example

        I recently came across a video using mnemonics to memorize countries. Memorizing Countries using Mnemonics is a video created as an introduction to a class for using memory techniques to learn the names of countries on maps.

        I actively search for videos that provide enormous educational value, yet receive very little exposure. At the time of this writing, this video has received less than 4k views. Let’s examine the video.

        Goal: Create a mnemonic to memorize the countries in the Caribbean (just the countries you need to learn).

        Step 1. Looking at a map – write out each country (for which five were chosen).

        Cuba, Jamaica, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico.

        Step 2. Write the first letter of each country vertically.

        C

        J

        H

        D

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        P

        Step 3. Create a sentence or phrase.

        Cubs

        Just

        Hate

        Doing

        Push-ups

        Cubs just hate doing push-ups. (Cuba Jamaica Haiti Dominican Republic Puerto Rico)

        3. Mnemonic Peg System

          What is it?

          According to Artofmemory.com, a mnemonic peg system is a technique for memorizing lists and it works by memorizing a list of words that are easy to associate with the numbers they represent.[3] These objects are the pegs of the system.

          How to use it?

          The trick is to create a Number Rhyme System with each number having a rhyming mnemonic keyword.

          Example

          Let’s look at an example of a Number Rhyme System:[4]

          0 = hero

          1 = gun

          2 = shoe

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          3 = tree

          4 = door

          5 = hive

          6 = sticks

          7 = heaven

          8 = gate

          9 = line

          Another technique like the Peg system is the Number Shape System.[5] Here you are assigning mnemonic images based on the shape of the number. Watch the following video for an example of this system: Number Shape System for Memorizing Numbers.

          4. Chunking

            What is it?

            Chunking is a way to remember large bits of information by chunking them into smaller pieces of information. We are more likely to then remember the information when we put the small pieces back together to see the entire picture.

            How to use it?

            In the video Chunking – A Learning Technique, we can see that there are several ways to chunk information.

            Example

            Let’s examine a simple example using a nine-digit number.

            Step 1. What is the number you are trying to remember?

            081127882

            Step 2. Cut the number into smaller pieces through chunking.

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            081 – 127 – 882

            Let’s look at one more example from the same video.

            “Piano teachers will first demonstrate an entire song to students. They will then ask their students to practice one measure at a time. Once the part has been learned and the neural connections in the brain have been built, then students go on to the next measure. After all chunks have been played separately, they are combined until the entire piece is connected.”

            5. Transfer of Learning

              What is it?

              Transfer of learning is a way to learn something in one area and apply it in another. Authors of Thinking at Every Desk, Derek and Laura Cabrera inform us about the transfer of learning,

              “If a student has a high transfer skills, she can learn one thing and then teach herself 10, 50, or 100 additional things.”

              How to use it?

              There are two specific ways to use it:

              1. Vertical Transfer (aka Far Transfer). Think of learning something in grade school and applying it another grade or later in life.
              2. Horizontal Transfer (aka Near Transfer). Think of learning a concept in history and applying it in math.

              Example

              I provide a detailed step-by-step example for this technique in this article:

              Learn How to Learn: How to Understand and Connect Difficult Ideas Easily

              The Bottom Line

              The key to using the techniques discussed here is to remember that we must actively think about information.

              We cannot simply drill information into our brain through rote memorization. We must change the way we think about memorization. We must find a way to “shake the snow-globe” in our mind or flatten the snow so that we can create new learning paths.

              Or as Derek and Laura Cabrera point out, we must insert “Thinking” into the equation,

              “Information X Thinking = Knowledge”

              More About Enhancing Memories

              Featured photo credit: Nong Vang via unsplash.com

              Reference

              [1] Remember Everything: Memory Palaces and the Method of Loci
              [2] The Learning Center Exchange: 9 Types of Mnemonics for Better Memory
              [3] Art of Memory: Mnemonic Peg System
              [4] Art of Memory: Number Rhyme System
              [5] Art of Memory: Number Shape System

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