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These 10 Scientific Ways to Learn Anything Faster Could Change Everything You Know About Dramatically Improving Your Memory

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Most of us can type very fast, but research shows writing your notes by hand will allow you to learn more.

Taking notes by hand enhances both comprehension and retention.

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These 10 Scientific Ways to Learn Anything Faster Could Change Everything You Know About Dramatically Improving Your Memory

These 10 Scientific Ways to Learn Anything Faster Could Change Everything You Know About Dramatically Improving Your Memory

https://www.inc.com/jeff-haden/these-10-scientific-ways-to-learn-anything-faster-could-change-everything-you-know-about-dramatically-improving-your-memory.html

inc.com

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Key Ideas

Say it out loud

Learning and memory benefit from active involvement. When you add speaking to it, the content becomes more defined in long-term memory and more memorable.

Take notes by hand

Most of us can type very fast, but research shows writing your notes by hand will allow you to learn more.

Taking notes by hand enhances both comprehension and retention.

Chunk your study sessions

Studying over a period of time is more effective than waiting until the last minute.

Distributed practice works because each time you try to remember something, the memory becomes harder to forget.

Self-testing is highly effective

Regularly testing yourself will speed up learning. When you test yourself and answer incorrectly, you are more likely to recall the right answer after you look it up. You will also remember that you didn't remember.

Change the way you practice

Repeating anything over and over might not be the best way to master that task. If you practice a slightly different version, you will learn more and faster. For example, if you want to master a new presentation:

  • Rehearse the basic skill. 
  • Wait at least six hours to allow your memory to consolidate.
  • Practice again, but speak a little faster. 
  • Practice next by speaking slower.
  • Break your presentation into smaller steps. Master each chunk, then put it back together.
  • Change the conditions. It will prepare you better for the unexpected.

Exercise regularly

According to research, regular exercise can improve memory recall.

Exercise also increases a protein (BDNF - brain-derived neurotrophic factor) that supports the function, growth, and survival of brain cells.

Sleep more, learn more

When you sleep, most of the consolidation process occurs.

In contrast, sleep deprivation can affect your ability to commit new data to memory and consolidate any short-term memories.

Concepts in parallel

Interleaving - studying related concepts or skills in parallel - improves your brain's ability to differentiate between concepts or skills. It helps you to really learn and gain an understanding at a deeper level.

Instead of focusing on one subject during a learning session, learn several subjects or skills in succession.

Teach someone else

Research shows that those who teach, speed up their learning and remember more.

Even just preparing to teach means that you will seek out key points and organize information into a coherent structure. 

Build on what you know

When you have to learn something new, try to associate it with something you are already familiar with. Then you only have to learn where it differs. You'll also be able to apply greater context, which will help with memory storage and retrieval.

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

"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 Suc...

Bring it back from memory

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. 

Connect new ideas

... 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.

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How Memories are Formed
  1. Create a memory. Our brain sends signals in a particular pattern associated with the event we're experiencing and creates connections between our neurons, called s...
Effective Ways to Improve Your Memory
  • Meditate to improve working memory. Take a pause to empty your mind and to reduce stress.
  • Although still debatable, drink coffee to help improve memory consolidation.
  • Eat berries for better long-term memory. Berries contain flavanoids,  which appear to strengthen connections in the brain.
  • Exercise not only to improve memory recall, but also to enhance cognitive abilities.
  • Chew gum to make stronger memories. It is proven that it increases activity in the hippocampus. It also increases heart rate which causes more blood to flow in the brain.
  • Sleep more to consolidate and easily remember memories.
Albert Einstein

“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”

Albert Einstein
Boost Learning Speed
  1. Learners proficient in fast-paced games are significantly faster at performing new cognitive tasks.
  2. By pretending you are teaching something to someone using simple language, you understand it better.
  3. Bilingual people may have a leg up when it comes to understanding new things and processing information, regardless of the learned language.
  4. Learning new material right before sleeping provides a significant retention advantage.
  5. Establishing as many connections as possible is an effective way to learn, and the best way to do that is to relate new information to known information. 
  6. The brain processes visual information faster than text. Include relevant visuals (charts, symbols, diagrams…) with learning materials to improve retention.
Perceptual Learning

Is the idea that we learn unconsciously through our senses in a self-regulated way, without requiring external reinforcement. 

More simply, you can learn to intuitively identify different situations or images through directly experiencing them in a fast-paced manner.

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Quiz yourself

This is an extremely effective way to speed up the learning process.

If you quiz yourself and answer incorrectly,  you are more likely to remember the right answer after you look it u...

Summarize and share

Even just thinking that you'll need to teach someone can make you learn more effectively.

Teaching means seeking out key points and organizing information into a coherent structure. 

Use associative learning

Connect what you just learned to experiences you previously had.

Associative learning is the process of relating something new to something you already know.

Learn A New Skill
Learn A New Skill

Learning a new skill can be tough. Those of us trying to master a new language, learn a musical instrument, or take an online course, will find that when the initial enthusiasm dries up, things mov...

Make It A Challenge

Most learning techniques with lots of theory and colorful infographics do not assist in making the information stick in our minds.

There is a need for ‘desirable difficulties’ which exercise our minds and translate into long-term retention of knowledge.

A Pre-Test Quiz

.. or a Q&A session primes the brain to absorb the information afterward, and failing to answer it initially is part of the game.

The brain needs to know that it doesn’t know.

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The Science of Memory
  1. Encoding - the stage when the brain consciously acknowledges information based on our senses. When we attach meaning or factual knowledge to any of this sensory input, that'...
Lifestyle Changes That Can Improve Memory
  • Get a good night's sleep or take a power nap after learning something new, to help retain and retrieve memories better. Sleep deprivation and acquisition of too much information will not help you save those memories.
  • Get moving, to improve the flow of oxygen-rich blood in your brain and to trigger neuron growth and new connections in the brain - critical for memory.
  • Improve your diet. Fats from food can build up the brain, resulting to poor blood flow.
Mnemonics

Any system or device designed to aid memory:

  • patterns of letters or words (common mnemonics)
  • ideas (memory palace)
  • associations (chunking)

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False Beliefs About Self-Education

Despite having easy access to information, few people take full advantage of the opportunity we have for self-directed learning.

We still believe that in order to learn something, we need to be formally educated on it, when in fact we're able to educate ourselves.

Self-Education In The 21st Century

Self-education is the core skill for the 21st century.

Our ability to respond to changes in the landscape of work and technology will be dictated by how skilled self-educators we are, how well we can take full advantage of the information available to us to grow our skillset.

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Just start, break the initial barrier

Every task has a certain Activation Energy (AE), where you initiate certain steps in order to start a task.

Reducing the Activation Energy of new habits you want to form will make it i...

Practice chunking

A memory chunk is a solid connection in your mind that relates various bits and pieces of information. 

Focus on the concept you want to form a chunk of. Write down the basic ideas of what the concept is all about. Build up from these fundamentals to finally create a chunk.

Learn, Practice, Recall — Repeat
Just forming chunks is not sufficient. You have to maintain them. The more you look after the chunks, the longer they last.

While reviewing material, recall it instead of just reading it passively. Try and recall in a different setting than where you studied it.

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Scientific Backed Ways To Learn Better
Scientific Backed Ways To Learn Better
  1. Learn faster and retain more by imagining that you have to teach someone else what you are learning
  2. Sleeping between two learning sessions greatly improves retenti...
When to Study
When to Study

Studying time is more efficient if it is spread out over many sessions throughout the semester, with a little extra right before the exam.

Cover each piece of info five times from when you fi...

What and How to Study

Testing yourself, so you have to retrieve the information from memory, works much better than repeatedly reviewing the information, or creating a concept map (mind map).

After the first time learning the material, spend the subsequent studying to recalling the information, solving a problem or explaining the idea without glancing at the source.

What Kinds of Practice to Do
For a particular exam, use the following:
  • Mock tests and exams that are identical in style and form.
  • Redo problems from assignments, textbook questions or quizzes.
  • Generate your own questions or writing prompts based on the material.

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