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Ways to become an effective learner

Mathew J Maniyamkott
18th Jan 2017
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The one thing that successful people never stop doing is learning. To stop learning is to halt the pursuit of attaining success and knowledge. Once people graduate, they tend to think that the part of life which involved continuous learning is over. People either want to learn things faster or get the most out of their time. The speed at which you read is as equally important as the retention of that knowledge. Here are a few ways to become an effective learner:

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Find your style

All of us have different learning styles; some prefer watching videos and learning while others learn by doing or listening. What kind of person are you? Do you prefer a book to a podcast or a video? Experiment with it on your time to identify your learning style. Try using these different styles when you study and stick with the one that you prefer and gives you greater retention. Learning using multiple ways is also beneficial to you. Rehearse the information gathered both verbally and visually. Describe what you learned to your friend, draw it on a piece of paper, or create a video of you explaining it. The more regions your brain has stored data in, the more the interconnection.

Schedule a time and place for learning

Have a study habit. Find a place in your house or office which is entirely dedicated to learning. When it comes to achieving learning goals, it is easy to focus when you have rhythm and consistency in your timings and work ethics. Remove all distractions, like cell phones, so that you have a clear mind. Time the amount of work put in, include buffers for relaxation, travelling, making calls, and other activities.

Test your knowledge

There is a lot of difference in your ability to recall an hour after studying and two days after studying. We might also be under the illusion that we can recall more than we know. This is where testing what you have studied becomes vital since you will be able to quantify how much you know. Studying is a continuous process. It is necessary that you go back to your previous lessons to brush it up now and then. Not only does it help with recall but it also helps you connect with the new content that you have consumed, thus eventually helping in connecting the dots. If your mind can connect different streams of information, it shows that you have learned well.

Explain it in your words

As Einstein said, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” Whenever you learn something new, try explaining it to someone by putting in your words. You are forced to understand it properly when the onus is on you to explain it to someone else. You could also write a blog post, create a podcast, or participate in a discussion where this topic is spoken extensively.

Get practical experience

Learning involves reading voluminous books, attending lectures, presenting a paper, and doing research on the Internet. Although all of these are important, nothing replaces the act of putting all the knowledge acquired into action. Go in the field and do it. Gain practical experience on it, and perform the activity whenever you get the time. Enroll yourself in a competition. It becomes easier to learn it faster when you are working on the field.

Use white noise

If you are working on your laptop, poring through terabytes of data and text, after a point it becomes difficult to concentrate as the mind starts to wander. This is where white noise can help you focus better. White noise allows the brain to ignore the surrounding sounds. The annoying chatter that happens in the office can be distracting and doesn’t allow your mind to waver.

By using these tips, you can improve your learning potential. When you learn, ask questions to clarify your doubts, it helps you to structure your learning style. Make connections when you read something.

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