Steps For Learning Effectively

It was Henry L. Doherty who said, "Get over the idea that only children should spend their time in study. Be a student so long as you still have something to learn, and this will mean all your life." So, there is no age for learning. In fact, learning should continue till our last breath. At the same time, we should become more effective learners. We should remember what we learn and should be able to recall it whenever required for utilizing it effectively. There are a few steps we can take to improve the quality of our learning.

- There are a few effective ways to improve our memory. The best way is to improve our focus. It has been proved that if you structure your study time and stop cramming things, you can improve your focus which will ultimately improve your memory.

- If you learn and practice new skills, you can improve the quality of your learning. This means that you should never stop learning new things or new skills. A study also revealed that the gray matter in the occipital lobes of those who learned how to juggle increased phenomenally. These people were asked to halt practicing this new skill and the gray matter that amazingly increased, simply vanished. For example, if you learn a new language, you are advised to use the language continuously. A brain process called "pruning" is involved in this phenomenon of "use-it-or-lose-it". This process of "pruning" is like pruning or cutting the weak branches of a tree. So, if you stop using the new language you have learned, it will typically be like "a weak branch of a tree" and will be "pruned". If you keep using the new language continuously, the brain creates and maintains certain pathways and eliminates certain others. So, for effective learning, you need to practice what you learn continuously.

- The next important step is that you should use more than one way to learn a new skill or a language. In addition to auditory learning, you can reproduce what you have learned by writing it down in your own words or describing it to a friend or a close associate. This makes your learning more effective. According to experts, the brain will be using more regions in this process and so, it will store what you have learned in all these regions. This increases the interconnection between these regions. For a particular requirement, you will be drawing data from all these regions. What you actually do is "cross-referencing" and not "simple memorizing". Another great way to learn effectively is to teach what you have learned to some one else. In the above example of learning a new language, you can translate your lessons using your own words, thus strengthening the knowledge you have acquired. You can also try participating in a group discussion and expressing what you have learned in your own words.

- Relational learning is a great way to make your learning more effective. In this process, you will be using your past learning to help you in your new learning. Since you already know certain things, your efforts to learn new lessons using them will bear fruits more quickly.

- Similarly, practical experience will help you in learning more effectively. There are many skills that can be put to practice. Even in the case of learning a new language, if you practice speaking with another person who already knows the language, you can find it immensely useful.

- When you are learning a new skill and if you have forgotten a particular step, instead of struggling to recollect the step, it is better to look up for the answer. Studies have revealed that if you keep trying to recollect the right answer, you will remain in the "error zone" for a longer period and this will prove to be detrimental for your learning.

- Every person has his or her own best way of learning. You should try to find it out and adopt it for learning a new skill effectively.

- Testing what you have learned as often as possible will boost your capacity to learn. You will remember things more comfortably by following this step.

- Recent studies have disproved the theory that multitasking is good for learning. In fact, it hurts effective learning. Multitasking retards the learning process. You will ultimately become an inefficient learner. So, you should focus on learning one skill and only after you complete it to the required extent, you should switch to the next one.

Raman Kuppuswamy writes highly interesting and informative articles on various topics. You may kindly visit and read his articles on many other topics.


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