Learning new things is a huge part of life — we should always be striving to learn and grow. But it takes time, and time is precious. So how can you make the most of your time by speeding up the learning process? Thanks to neuroscience, we now have a better understanding of how we learn and the most effective ways our brains process and hold on to information. Here is the Learning Strategies to Help You Retain Information Fast that we listed.
Learning Strategies to Help You Retain Information Fast
1. Study, Sleep and Study More
Research says that there is a correlation between sleep and learning. Sleep aids learning by optimizing your focus. You cannot focus if you deprive yourself of quality sleep. Not only that, but sleep also facilitates memory consolidation, which is crucial for learning.
You have a big project or a major presentation tomorrow and you’re not prepared. If you’re like many of us, you stay up too late trying to cram beforehand. Surely your hard work will be rewarded, even if you’re exhausted the next day… right? However, that’s not the most efficient way for our brains to process information.
Research shows a strong connection between sleep and learning. It seems that getting some shut-eye is an important element in bolstering how our brains remember something. Deep sleep (non-rapid-eye-movement sleep) can strengthen memories if the sleep occurs within 12 hours of learning the new information. And students who both study and get plenty of sleep not only perform better academically; they’re also happier.
2. Note-Taking Skills
The old-fashioned way of taking notes is more effective than typing your notes on the sticky notes provided by your device. If you want to learn faster, forget the laptop and use your pen and paper to take notes. Research showed that students who use paper and pen to take notes in class retain more information than those who type their lecture notes on a laptop. Writing skills utilize different sections of your brain than reading. When you spend time writing thoughts in your notepad, having reviewed the material, you will have additional opportunities to cover the concept again. This will interest visual learners while the auditory learners can read the content aloud in addition to writing it down. While it may be difficult and slower to take notes by hand instead of typing, writing fosters retention and comprehension. You retain information longer in your mind when you write with your hand, which means you can quickly recall information and perform better during an examination. Quality notes aid faster learning. Developing the capability of taking accurate notes will assist you to grasp concepts and gain a thorough understanding of the subject matter. Therefore, it is better to learn the art and strategies of note-taking before you learn a new idea.
3. Distributed practice
This method involves distributing multiple practices (or study sessions) on a topic over a period of time. Using short, spaced-out study sessions will encourage meaningful learning, as opposed to long “cram sessions,” which promote rote learning. The first step is to take thorough notes while the topic is being discussed. Afterward, take a few minutes to look over your notes, making any additions or changes to add detail and ensure accuracy.
Do this quickly, once or twice following each class or period of instruction. Over time, you can begin to spread the sessions out, starting with once per day and eventually moving to three times a week. Spacing out practice over a longer period of time is highly effective because it’s easier to do small study sessions and you’ll stay motivated to keep learning.
4. Stay Hydrated
You have read that water is beneficial to your body system and skin. It optimizes your body’s performance and boosts your immune system. Now staying hydrated also impacts your cognitive performance positively. You can become smarter when you drink water. A study found out that students who take water to the examination hall performed better compared to those who did not.
5.Teach Learning Strategies to Others
If you find it challenging to explain a concept to others, you might as well find it challenging to retain the concept. Studies have found out that the average individual retains 90% of what was learned only when they teach others or practice the idea immediately. You can discover your weak points when you apply or teach a concept.
6. Modify your practice
If you’re learning a skill, don’t do the same thing over and over. Making slight changes during repeated practice sessions will help you master a skill faster than doing it the same way every time. In one study of people who learned a computer-based motor skill, those who learned the skill and then had a modified practice session where they practiced the skill in a slightly different way performed better than those who repeated the original task over and over. This only works if the modifications are small — making big changes in how the skill is performed won’t help. So, for instance, if you’re practicing a new golf swing or perfecting your tennis game, try adjusting the size or weight of your club or racket.