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Last Updated on January 27, 2021

9 Remote Learning Tips for Efficient and Effective Learning

9 Remote Learning Tips for Efficient and Effective Learning

If you’re taking a course or working on a degree at the moment, chances are that you have to take most of your courses from home instead of at a physical location. This is called remote learning and brings with it some unique challenges.

How do you learn efficiently when learning remotely? How can you absorb the material and learn at an accelerated rate, and most importantly, find enjoyment in it and keep up the motivation? We’ll talk about all of this and more here.

What Is Remote Learning?

It’s easy to confuse remote learning with online learning. Before we continue, it’s important to define what remote learning is and how it differs from online learning.

The main difference that I want to point out is this: Remote learning is when the classes or courses have been designed to be taught in-person but are being conducted in an online environment. This kind of distance learning usually happens, for example, during a pandemic.

Online learning, on the other hand, is when the classes have been specifically designed to be taken online instead of in a traditional classroom environment. Courses taken on Udemy or EdX are examples of online learning.

Preparing Your Environment for Efficient Learning

Before we get into some of the more advanced accelerated learning techniques, we need to cover some basics first. Without these fundamentals in place, it might be difficult to effectively apply the accelerated learning techniques that I will share with you later.

1. Have a Dedicated Learning Space

For efficient learning, focus is everything. Having a dedicated learning space that is set up in a way that makes you feel comfortable is a great help for your focus.

A lot of people find that this helps, mainly for two reasons:

  1. Since you associate that space with learning, you will be less distracted and find it easier to get into the correct mental headspace that is conducive for efficient learning.
  2. If you have a nice space with a good vibe, you are more likely to associate learning as something you enjoy.

2. Get Rid of Distractions

Once you have set up your dedicated learning environment, get rid of all distractions. Distractions include everything from people, TV, the radio, other open tabs on your computer, and most definitely your phone.

We are all different, and we get distracted by different things. Therefore, knowing which distractions you have to get rid of is about knowing yourself and being honest about what distracts you personally.

3. Have a Dedicated Learning Time

If learning or studying isn’t your favorite activity, then scheduling in a set time every day as your dedicated learning time is a great aid. Apart from the obvious benefits of the structure you get, it has an amazingly helpful side-effect: It requires less effort to get started.

When you have promised yourself to abide by a strict time to go over your notes and revise, you don’t have a choice when that time comes. If it’s entirely up to you to choose when to study, you might sometimes put it off completely.

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As a result, you won’t establish the habit of getting started, and a habit is your greatest ally. Why? Because a habit has the extraordinary ability to make difficult things easy.

In his amazing book, Essentialism, Greg McKeown says:

“Learning essential new skills is never easy. But once we master them and make them automatic we have won an enormous victory, because the skill remains with us for the rest of our lives. The same is true with routines.”

Priming Your Brain for Efficient Learning

What you do before a remote learning session can be just as important as what you do during it. If you’re not in a mental state where your brain absorbs new information with ease, half of your learning session might be wasted.

In this next section, I am going to give you 3 tips on how to get into the right mental headspace so that you can access states of laser-sharp focus and absorb the material with ease.

1. Look Forward to Your Learning Session

Jim Kwik, a world-renowned expert on learning and memory, says that learning is “state-dependent.” This means that the mood you’re in affects how efficiently you’re learning.[1]

Here is how memory works, according to Joshua Foer, the author of the brilliant book Moonwalking with Einstein:

You remember things by what you associate with them. If you’re on holiday or you’re having an amazing experience at an event, you are likely to remember this event because it had such a profound impact on your emotions. As a result, it’s very likely that you will remember a lot of what was said at that event. This is because you connect what has been said to how you felt emotionally during the event.

Humans are incredibly emotionally driven creatures. The way we learn and memorize things is also profoundly impacted by our emotional state.

If you struggle with looking forward to your learning session, try to realize what a great thing learning is. For many adults, learning is the most fun thing that will happen to you today. It’s a break from work and all obligations. It’s about upgrading yourself—it’s your time.

Now, I’m going to give you a simple but effective tool that will hack your brain into looking forward to the learning session. This will get you into an excited and positive state of mind—the best state for learning at an accelerated rate and to soak up knowledge like a dry sponge.

2. Segment Intending

Founder of Mindvalley, Vishen Lakhiani, has developed a great mental tool called segment intending that sets your day up for success. It’s the perfect tool if you struggle with staying positive about your remote learning experience.

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The best part is that it takes only 1-2 minutes and is easy to do. You can do this in the shower or while you’re preparing your coffee in the morning.

Here is how it works:

In your head, go through the course of your day, and split it into segments. The first segment might be your morning routine before going to work. The next one might be your commute to work, then the hours where you are at work. The last segments might be the time right after work, dinner time, then your evening activities, and the last one should be when you go to sleep.[2]

For each of these segments, imagine that they are going remarkably well. Imagine that you’re having a stress-free commute to work. Imagine that you’re having an extraordinarily productive workday while having fun with your colleagues. When you get to the segment including your study session, imagine that it will be really exciting learning something new.

It’s called segment intending because you split the day into segments and produce good intentions for each segment.

3. The Reset Technique

Let’s say you have had a long, stressful day. When you get home, you are supposed to study for two hours through remote learning. How on earth are you meant to focus completely on your learning when the events that happened previously that day are gnawing away at your mind?

By using the Reset Technique, of course!

The Reset Technique removes emotional baggage from your mind. It “resets” your mind so that you can carry on with what you’re supposed to do with a clear mind free of all distractions. This will enable you to focus 100% on the task at hand.

I call it the Reset Technique because it pretty much works the same for you as a reset or restart button does for your internet router or computer.

Here is how it works:

Sit down on the chair by your study desk, and close your eyes. Take a deep breath and count slowly down from ten to zero. Feel yourself getting calmer as you approach zero, and when you reach zero, your mind is in a relaxed state. For the next 2 minutes, just breathe in and out slowly and deeply, and focus your attention on nothing else but the fact that you’re breathing in and out.

When you open your eyes, you’ll have just done a quick reset of your whole “system.” Now, you can approach your learning session with a much less distracted mind.

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I first heard about a similar technique from author and high-performance coach Brendon Burchard in an interview. He just called it “a quick 2-3 minute meditation” (which is exactly what it is) and proposed it as a way of not carrying emotional baggage from one part of your day into the next.[3]

Accelerated Learning Techniques for Remote Learning

So far, we have talked about how to prepare yourself and the environment around you to maximize your learning efficiency. Now it’s time to focus on the actual learning session.

This is where the magic happens.

1. Note-Taking

Note-taking is incredibly important if you want to learn fast and efficiently. It sounds obvious, but few people know how to actually use their notes after they have taken them.

If you’re watching a lecture on your computer screen, take a quick note of everything that sounds like it might be important. Right after the lecture, while the information is fresh in your head, go through your notes and collect all your key points on a single sheet of paper.

The reason why this helps is that having an overview of the whole topic makes it easy to understand the big picture of the subject you’re learning. Having all the key points neatly on a single page makes you feel less overwhelmed. If all the key points can get space on one page, you feel confident that you can learn it easily.

If your teacher has already provided you with a list of key points, it might be tempting to think that this relieves you of the obligation to make notes yourself, but it’s important that you make your own notes with your own words. The reason why this is so important will become evident when I tell you about the Feynman Technique, which is my next tip.

Learn to make note-taking your habit during remote learning: Why Successful People Take Notes And How to Make It Your Habit

2. The Feynman Technique

“If you can’t explain it to a six-year-old, you don’t understand it yourself.” –Albert Einstein

What Einstein said above is what the Feynman technique is all about. This is a learning technique that Nobel prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman developed and used himself.

Using the Feynman Technique is easy:

Pretend that you are explaining a concept that you’re learning to a child. You can either write it down or say it out loud. Identify the parts of your explanation that you’re struggling with communicating clearly, and take note of gaps in your understanding of the concept.

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Then, read up on the concept again and try to simplify the explanation one more time. Repeat this until you can confidently explain the concept in simple terms.

Why is the Feynman Technique so effective? Shane Parrish from Farnam Street puts it well:

“Sometimes we use jargon and complicated language to hide what we don’t understand. The Feynman Technique lays bare the true extent of our knowledge.”[4]

To explain something in your own words, you are forced to really think about it. This is exactly why teaching is one of the best learning techniques, even in remote learning. If you want to learn something really well, teach it to somebody.

3. Spaced Repetition

Spaced repetition is the single most effective technique for solidifying something in your long term memory.

Spaced repetition is a memorization technique based on progressively increasing the time between each time you review the material you are learning. Repetition is essential if you expect to remember something long term, and spaced repetition is one of the most successful structured repetition systems for this purpose.

Spaced repetition has been tested by psychologists and has proven to be more successful than repeating previously learned material at random intervals. This is because you take advantage of your brain’s psychological spacing effect, which involves reviewing the material at the point when you are about to forget it.[5]

This technique stems from the work of the psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus. He developed something we call the forgetting curve. This is a graph that shows that each time we actively recall the same information, it takes longer for it to decay from our memory[6].

Ebbinghaus' forgetting curve and review cycle.

    In my opinion, the best way to start taking advantage of spaced repetition is with an app such as Anki. This app will automatically space out the time intervals for you, based on how well you remember the information you are reviewing.

    Learn more about spaced repetition here: How to Use Spaced Repetition to Remember What You’ve Learned

    Summing Up

    Once you set up your environment, prime yourself for learning, and use accelerated learning techniques, you’re ready to get moving with remote learning.

    Now it’s up to you to take action and apply the tips and techniques we went through above. Remember, the hardest part of doing something hard is starting it. Once you’ve done that, you’ll be on a better path to learning and growing.

    More Tips on Learning Efficiently

    Featured photo credit: Windows via unsplash.com

    Reference

    More by this author

    Sindre Kaupang

    Entrepreneur and filmmaker, founder of Productive Headspace and Beyond Music

    9 Remote Learning Tips for Efficient and Effective Learning 6 Strategies For Auditory Learners To Learn Effectively How to Master Speed Reading and Comprehend Faster 4 Proven Ways To Improve Your Memory (And Learn Faster)

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    Published on April 13, 2021

    How To Find Motivation To Learn Anything Outside of Comfort Zone

    How To Find Motivation To Learn Anything Outside of Comfort Zone

    One of the best ways that we can make sure that we grow and develop as people is to keep learning as much as we can. Learning teaches us some new knowledge and new skills, and it also keeps our brains alert and active. Learning is great, but sometimes you can lose the motivation to get on and study. This can be all the harder if you learn something outside of your comfort zone or something that you wouldn’t usually think to learn.

    The important thing to remember when it comes to learning, whether within or outside of your comfort zone, is that motivation is yours to find. But how do you get the motivation to learn?

    Here are 10 ways to help you find the motivation to learn anything outside of your comfort zone.

    1. Find Out Why You Are Procrastinating

    Procrastination is one of the biggest reasons why people don’t have the motivation to learn. So, working out why you are procrastinating and putting your learning off is one of the first steps to finding your inspiration.

    There are a variety of reasons why you may be placing it on the back burner. Here are some examples:

    • You are worried that you are going to fail.
    • You are finding the learning boring.
    • You are waiting for the perfect time to start.
    • You are feeling overwhelmed.
    • You are not sure where to start.

    Once you know the reasons why you lack motivation, you can start to work on fixing it and getting back out there.

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    2. Find Out Why You Are Doing It

    As well as finding out the reasons why you keep procrastinating when it comes to your learning, you also need to remind yourself why you are doing it in the first place. Having this end goal in mind can be all the motivation that you need to get there in the end.

    Everyone has their own reasons for wanting to learn, and you cannot say that yours is the same as someone else’s. This means that you need to think about what matters most to you.

    It could be simply to develop yourself, it could be to take the next step on the career ladder, or it could be to retrain and be something else totally. No matter what reason you have for learning, finding out why you are doing it can motivate learning that you may find you need, helping you to get where you want to go.

    3. Break It Down

    Sometimes, you may lack motivation because you feel overwhelmed by how much you need to do. It may sound obvious, but one of the best things you can do is break down the material into more manageable chunks.

    Think about how much realistically you can fit into one chunk and then assign a period to it. This could be one day or one week, depending on your end deadline. Once you break it down, you will see that it is not as daunting as you were worried that it would be and that you can get it done.

    The important thing to remember is that you are in control of your chunks, which means you can decide how big they are and how often you focus on them.

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    4. Choose a Reward

    We are simple creatures by nature, and when we feel that we have done well, we will want some kind of reward. It doesn’t matter what the task is or what we want to do, if we reward ourselves, we will be much more inclined to try harder next time. This can help us to greatly improve our motivation to learn.

    The reward doesn’t have to be anything huge. Sometimes, it can just be your favorite chocolate bar, some free time to read a book, or perhaps even a short session to soak in a nice hot bath. Whatever it is, you will want to try hard if you know something positive is in the future.

    5. Stick to a Routine

    The idea of sticking to a routine might not sound like an exciting way to get you motivated to learn, but the truth is that having a pattern can actually be one of the most valuable approaches to take.

    The thing about routines is that they are something that we can get used to. When you do the same thing and the same kind of time or in the same order, then you will start to think of it as a habit that you do rather than something that you need to put a whole lot of thought into. While you need to focus on your learning, not having to think about the task at hand means that you won’t need to find excuses not to do it.

    6. Seek to Understand, Not Just Memorize

    When it comes to learning, most of the time, you will feel somewhat like a sponge, trying to soak all the knowledge up and keep it in your brain. Of course, this is in part true, but you must try your very best always to understand what you are learning.

    Not only will this help you to succeed in your learning, but it can also help you focus if you are trying to make sense of the topic, rather than just reading through it and trying to memorize it. You will find it much more interesting, which, in turn, helps you stay motivated and push towards your end goal.

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    7. Keep It Short and Sweet

    The chances are, you are going to find it hard-going to study for long periods of time, especially if you have lots of other things in your life to focus on. This means that one of the best things that you can do to maintain motivation for learning is to keep it short and sweet.

    When you study in a short burst, you will be allowing your mind to focus on that task and then have a break. This will help you stay motivated, and you can have multiple shorter bursts of learning but spread them out throughout the day.

    8. Realize That You Can’t Stay Motivated All the Time

    While you should do whatever you can to stay motivated, you also need to remember that sometimes, you are just not going to feel it. No one—not even the most successful people out there—will feel motivated all of the time. This doesn’t mean that they are any less dedicated to whatever they want to do or that they stand less of a chance to get there.

    When you recognize that it is okay not to be motivated all the time, you can start to understand what you can do to get that motivation back and drive yourself forward.

    9. Study With Someone

    You may find that being lonely and studying alone is what is behind your lack of motivation to learn. We are social beings, which means that we need to be around others to feel the best.

    This is not only in friendships but also in learning. Having someone else to study with makes you feel much more motivated for learning. Not only will you look forward to your time together, but you can also bounce ideas off of one another. You will also feel somewhat obliged to study with them, which means you will want to learn and want to find out as much as possible.

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    10. Look After Yourself

    When you want your brain to work the best that it can, you will need to make sure that you are taking proper care of it. Looking after yourself may sound like the simplest thing, but it can be really worthwhile.

    When you look after yourself, you are thinking about your mental health, physical health, and any relationship issues you may have. There are so many ways you can take care of yourself, and you should know some of the basics if you want to focus on your extra work.

    The main things that you need to remember to do are to eat well and drink plenty of water and other hydrating drinks. You also need to stay active and exercise as much as you can as being active is known to really positively impact how well you focus.[1]

    You also need to make sure that you are sleeping as much as possible because tiredness never goes well with learning. It can make you feel sluggish and lose concentration.

    Final Thoughts

    It really is down to you to find your own motivation to learn. So, what are you waiting for?

    Think about what you are studying, how much time you have, and how you can make things that little bit easier to manage. Then, you can start to ensure that you reach those end goals, whatever they are.

    More Tips on How to Find Motivation to Learn

    Featured photo credit: Chris Benson via unsplash.com

    Reference

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