Learning Strategies That Actually Work: Boosting Your Learning Efficiency
July 6, 2023
5 min read
Life is all about constantly learning new things and striving to grow and acquire new skills every single day, no matter how small. It is not only the speed of learning that matters; but also important to remember information accurately, recall it later, and use it effectively in various situations.
Whether you're learning a foreign language or trying to improve your math skills, it takes time to understand and learn each lesson. In these kinds of situations, knowing effective study techniques empowers you to make the most of your available time, ensuring that you maximize your potential and knowledge while acquiring new ideas and concepts.
So, what are learning strategies and how can they help you make the most of your time and learn faster?
Before we explore the different types, let's understand what these strategies are and how you can use them to your advantage. Learning strategies are methods we use to acquire new knowledge and ideas. Their main goal is to help us extract information from a specific source and learn how to apply that knowledge in practical situations for our benefit.
Many of us already use some of the techniques and strategies without even realizing it. For example, we often use the blurting method (explained below) as a revision strategy. We can incorporate several easy learning techniques or study strategies into our lives, and they can have a significant impact on our learning process. So here are a few effective strategies on how to learn faster and remember more:
Every day, we come across numerous interesting things around us - on our phones and computers, in books and newspapers - and make a note (physical or mental) of this information. However, when we actually need this information, we struggle to remember it.
Having the correct information at the right time and the right place is the key to achieving anything. For example, when you forget an important fact you read a while ago and didn't save it anywhere for your reference, building a second brain can help you out. Let me explain briefly.
Tiago Forte's latest book, Building a second brain introduces a productivity hack that involves actively saving any useful information you may require in the future. This could include various things such as quotes and ideas from books and movies, helpful screenshots, voice memos, web pages, documents, and much more.
The whole process of building a second brain goes by C.O.D.E - Capture, Organize, Distill, Express.
This method saves time and effort, prevents information overload in your brain, and frees up your mind for creativity and productivity.
As mentioned before, many people find blurting a useful method for revision and learning. Blurting is a simple and quick way to understand and learn things. In this method, you read through the material or content, such as notes, topics, or presentations, and then put away your notes. After that, you assess how much you know and remember by writing it down.
The main purpose of the blurting method is to identify your areas of weakness and work on improving them. It helps you save time in the future by avoiding the need to revise things you already know. This technique utilizes the active recall method, which is a proven and effective approach for studying and ways to improve memory recall.
“I was born not knowing and have had only a little time to change that here and there.” – Richard Feynman
Richard Feynman was a Nobel Prize-winning physicist known for his contributions to quantum mechanics, quantum electrodynamics (QED), and particle physics.
The Feynman technique simplifies learning complex concepts and helps you understand them deeply. This is one of the most effective ways to learn and it consists of four simple steps to grasp a concept thoroughly.
Retrieval practice is a learning strategy where you actively remember information from your memory instead of just reviewing it. It helps you learn better and train your memory to remember things for a longer time.
You can practice retrieval by testing yourself, using flashcards, taking practice exams, summarizing information from memory, or explaining concepts to others.
When using this technique, you actively recall information by answering questions, solving problems, or completing tasks related to what you're learning. This strengthens the connections between different facts in your brain, making it easier for you to remember them later on and improve long-term memory.
Sebastian Leitner, a German psychologist, developed the Leitner system in the 1970s. It is a widely-used method for long-term memory retention. This learning system utilizes flashcards, which are organized into various boxes or groups according to your familiarity with the material. Each box corresponds to a different level of knowledge, ranging from Box 1 (containing new or unfamiliar information) to Box 5 (consisting of well-understood concepts).
Here's how the Leitner technique works:
The Leitner system optimizes your study time by allowing you to focus on challenging cards and reduce the time spent on easy ones or those that you know well. It makes learning easier and more effective.
Have you heard about the Pomodoro Technique? Francesco Cirillo invented this clever time management method in the late 80s. It aims to improve productivity and focus by dividing work or study sessions into 25-minute segments called "pomodoros." Here's how you can use it:
With the Pomodoro technique study, you can maintain your motivation and concentration by breaking your study or work sessions into smaller parts and taking regular breaks, which prevents burnout, improves productivity and helps you learn/study effectively.
To summarize, In today's fast-changing world, where information is easily accessible, learning effective study techniques and strategies to improve memory is crucial. By incorporating these strategies, we can continuously learn, adapt to new challenges, and grow our knowledge and skills. These strategies optimize your study time, improve your understanding and retention of the subject matter, and ultimately lead to better results.
However, different people learn in different ways, and what works for one person may not work for another. It's important to remember that everyone has unique learning preferences and study strategies that work best for them. You may need to experiment and reflect to find the strategies that resonate with you. Consider factors like your own traits, the subject you're studying, and the environment you're in when choosing how to learn.
Ultimately, effective study strategies empower you to take control of your education, making the process more enjoyable and rewarding. By embracing the right learning strategies, you can maximize your learning potential, adapt to new challenges, improve your academic performance, and cultivate a love for lifelong learning.