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"Learning is deeper and more durable when it's effortful... Learning that's easy is like writing in sand, here today and gone tomorrow."
- Make It Stick: The Science Of Successful Learning
Retrieval is so effective is that it strengthens the neural pathways associated with a given concept.
When you're attempting to recall an idea, method, or technique from memory, you're retrieving. Flash cards are a great example: They force you to recall an idea from memory, unlike a technique like highlighting where you're not burning anything into your brain.
... to what you already know.
When you try to put a new idea into your own words, you're elaborating.
For example, if you're in physics class and trying to understand heat transfer, try to tie the concept into your real-life experiences, say, by imagining how a warm cup of coffee disperses heat into your hands.
When you try to give an answer before it's given to you, you're generating.
In an academic setting, you could work finding your own answers before class starts. In a professional setting, you could supply your own ideas when you're stuck before talking with your boss.
When you take a few moments to review what happened with a project or meeting, you're reflecting.
Reflective writing is super powerful. You might ask yourself a few questions: What went well? Where can you improve? What does it remind you of? Reflective writing to be super powerful.
When you're using an acronym or image to recall something, you're using a mnemonic.
Example: The hall of fame includes abbreviations — Roy G. Biv for the colors of the spectrum ( Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet) — and rhyming, like "in 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue."
SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:
Don't just re-read your notes. When you first read, you extract a lot of information, but when you do it the second time, you read with a sense of 'I know this, I know this.'
Read once and then quiz yourself. Retrieving that information is what actually produces more robust learning and memory.
Even if you get the answers wrong, you'll still have an idea of what you don't know. This helps guide your studying more effectively.
Relate new information to prior information for better learning.
During a second reading, try to connect new information to something you already know.
... you need two kinds of prior knowledge:
When learning is difficult, you're doing your best learning, in the same way that lifting a weight at the limit of your capacity makes you stronger.
When you keep trying to remember a piece of information, you interrupt the forgetting process and help cement the memory of that information into your brain.
It's a strategy of mixing up the type of problems you solve when you're testing yourself.
That way, the testing conditions are more similar to real life, where you first have to figure out what kind of problem you have on your hands and then solve it.
When learning, there are times in which you are focused and times in which you allow your mind to wander. Both modes are valuable to allow your brain to learn something.
Take regular break...
The goal is to learn each concept in a way that they each become like a well-known puzzle piece.
In order to master a concept, you not only need to know it but also to know how it fits into the bigger picture.
Instead of highlighting or underlining, rather take brief notes that summarize keys concepts.