Learning how to learn fast is the holy grail of learning right? Surely there is some magical way we could just click our fingers and boom we become experts at learning. It’s kind of funny how learning to learn is a ‘thing’ but it definitely helps to understand how the brain actually works to learn how to learn faster. How to learn fast can be done through some specific tactics and in this article I will cover several ways you can adopt in how to learn like a jet and put into practice methods that will help you adopt the growth mindset.
So what is is that you want to learn? It might be a new language or a new skill, perhaps you want to learn how to dance but you have the coordination of a giraffe. Whatever the task there are proven ways which can assist you in getting to the end point much quicker than traditional methods. A lot of these will seem basic but at the end of the way they are test methods on how an individual can learn faster than just winging it. As most of us do. Little tactics typically go into learning but simply adopting some of the following will help you dramatically. Pracitising a lot of these will help you also develop the growth mindset into your thinking.
“LEARNING IS NOT ATTAINED BY CHANCE, IT MUST BE SOUGHT FOR WITH ARDOR AND ATTENDED TO WITH DILIGENCE.”Abigail Adams
Method 1 – Learn the task or information in different ways.
So you need to learn something. Why not try consuming the information you need to learn in different ways. A research study shows that using different methods of activation will allow for more areas withing the brain to be activated. This method will then create a greater likeliness of you understanding and retaining the information that you are trying to learn.
So to learn about a specific topic why not try the following methods
- Read a book on the topic
- Watch a video on the topic on youtube or other online learning resources
- Look for a website that specialises on the topic
- Brainstorm on the topic and mind map your thoughts
- Use what you have learned and try and teach someone about it
- Create your own practice questions and answer them
It goes without saying that trying to attempt all these things at once would be difficult. But for every time you refresh your learning on the topic and using different sources and methods, you will definitely learn faster.
Method 2 – Stay Clear of Multitasking and stay focused
Who ever came of the whole idea of human multi tasking had it all wrong. Studies show that people who say that they are good at multitasking are full of BS. In fact they are not better than the average person according to the findings.
To be effective you to be focused, So it would make sense if you are going to learn fast you need to be concentrating on a singular thing. So if you are in the habit of getting distracted by external things, to learn fast you need to get into the zone and apply full concentration on what you are trying to get soaked into that brain of yours.
Below are a few tips to removing distractions and focusing on the task at hand. Follow these to provide full concentration to the task at hand:
- Turn your phone off and put it away out of sight. If you’re a chronic phone checker this will aid in the trigger of it being in front of you.
- If you are on your computer as part of this learning exercise, close down all things that will distract you from the task. That includes all email, social media platforms. Everything that is a distraction turn it off.
- Turn off any instant messaging programs on your computer as well.
- If you do not need internet access for the learning, turn that off too.
- Clean up your study space from any clutter so that you are in a clean environment free from any distraction.
Method 3 – Write down your learning notes rather than typing them.
This kind of revolves around the previous point about focus. Staying away from your computer will tempt you away from any distractions. Even so it has also been shown that note taking on your computer is much less effective than writing notes out by hand. You are most likely wondering why now?
This is because people who takes notes by writing them tend process the information and reframe them. While if you are using your computer, you will tend to write down word for word whatever it is you are learning rather than processing the information first.
So people who takes notes by written format out perform those that use their computers to take notes.
Method 4 – When learning key information read it out loud.
It sounds odd, but why does this happen? Your mind is about to be blown but here it goes. when you read out loud the information you are consuming is being consumed in two ways rather than one. You are seeing it and also hearing it at the same time.
While you don’t want to look like a raving lunatic when you are studying if you have the ability to read the key information that you want to stick out loud you will indeed learn faster. Have a go.
So here’s the process I recommend:
Step 1 – In the previous method I spoke of writing your notes down rather than typing them on computer. Now on these notes, re-read them and underline the key areas to remember. Continue through your notes and underline accordingly.
Step 2 – Now that step one is complete go back to the start and now read each of the main points to remember out loud. Do this as many times as you feel comfortable to remember them. Do not rush this process and read each key idea slowly and out loud!
Step 3 – Make sure between each concept that you take a break to allow your brain to process and work with this concept reflecting on what you have just learned.
Step 4 – A test for recall. Cover your notes and now go one by one and try and say out loud each key point that you have just tried to instill within your mind. This will help you know whether you have memorised it.
Step 5 -If you are having trouble remembering any of what you have tried to learn. Simply repeat the steps above.
Method 5 – Try to connect what you are learning with something you are familiar with.
According to the book Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning, the more that you relate new concepts that you are learning with things you already understand, it will help you to learn the new information.
To conceptualise this, take learning about electricity. You could relate this to how water flows. The voltage is similar to water pressure and the current is similar to the rate of flow of water. Such a batter is then similar to a pump. You get the drift?
Another example of this would be to look at your body. Take your white blood cells. Look at your white blood cells as the soldiers that are defending against the enemy. In this case the diseases that are trying to attack your body.
This particularly works well for concepts you are finding hard to understand. If you relate to something you are already with then it will more likely stick. This may take some time but it will rapidly increase your ability to learn.
Bonus – Don’t forget to take breaks from your learning
Yes there is a thing such as too much learning. When you take breaks this will improve your overall focus and improve your productivity.
So while you may have a yearning or need to learning something fast. Locking yourself away for hours with out any breaks will do more harm than improve your ability to learn fast.
The studies show that you take a 5 to 10 minute break for every 40 minutes of learning you are trying to accomplish. To make sure you’re not doing overkill on your study, it might be wise to use something like a stopwatch to remind you to take breaks.