have so much
to learn throughout our lives, whether
it be preparing for a test in school, training for a new job, working on
a new project or, planning for a new career high. In today's fast paced
life, time often comes at a premium and being able to efficiently learn new information is
Following aspects of learning may help get you more out
of your learning efforts.
What would you like to
There is so much to learn
Read as much as you can.
Reading opens up new vistas & expands learning choices. It is a good
idea to keep listing what you wish to learn.
Deciding where to focus is
the 80:20 rule. Out of the listed choices prioritise which are important
for you in present phase of life. Select top 20% of the total list based
on your prioritisation. Focus on the prioritised items only.
Plan your learning.
"There are two paths you can go by." You can take a haphazard approach
to learning, or you can put in a bit of planning and find an optimum
Setting your learning goals is important. decide what level of
competency you would like to achieve and what is your time frame.
Learning is only one facet of the average adult's daily life. You need
to organize your time and tasks else you might find it difficult to fit
time in for learning. Plan
your time and balance
your learning, working and living.
I do not have time = I have
not planned or, I have not tried
Internet is the store house of
information & knowledge. Also, there are so many new ways to learn that
offer great choices with respect to cost & time. Try new methods like
webinars, online learning or, distance learning. You can always find a
method that will fit your requirements.
Try to find
alternate materials to study from; videos, PowerPoint presentations,
Understand the whole & than
Understand the big picture,
and have it in front of you as you examine smaller details.
Use information pyramids
Learning happens in layers.
Learn the right things first.
Learn the basics. Build base knowledge upon which you can add
Start from simple, then
go to complex
Create the right
Listen to music
Researchers have long shown that
certain types of music are
a great "key" for recalling memories. Information learned while
listening to a particular song or collection can often be recalled
simply by "playing" the songs mentally.
pleasant smells around
It sets you in the right mood
to learn. Also, smells trigger memory through information linking.
If studying by yourself isn't working,
get a partner.
It will also reduce the cost if you are opting for a
method where cost can be shared (webinar as an example). Most
importantly, you could discuss & clarify a lot of points and learn
Prepare for learning
Take a shower
It loosens you
up, making your mind more receptive to
new learning & new ideas.
Select the right time
We have our own individual best learning time. recognise & use it.
Don't wait for someone to teach
you. learning is most effective when you've pre-introduced yourself
subject to get a macro view of
what you will be learning.
Use highlighters to emphasize pieces of the material that are
especially important. Colour-coding is often useful as well.
Take notes or make illustrations in the margins, or, if it is a
book you shouldn't be writing in, put them in a separate
In the classroom sessions
Shake a leg
Lack of blood flow is a common reason
for lack of concentration. If you've been sitting in one place for
awhile, bounce one of your legs for a minute or two. It gets your
blood flowing and sharpens both concentration and recall.
Take a break
Changing your perspective often relieves tension, thus freeing your
to lighten the invisible stress that can sometimes occur when you
sit in one place too long. Taking a 5-15 minute
break every 1-2 hour/s during study sessions is more beneficial than
non-stop study. It gives your mind time to relax and absorb
Change your focus
Sometimes there simply isn't
enough time to take a long break. If so, change subject focus.
As an example: alternate between technical and non-technical subjects.
Laughing relaxes the body. A relaxed body is
more receptive to new ideas.
Avoid visual distractions
Looking out the window or at the
person in front of you will not help you learn the material.
Make illustrations as you take notes. Draw pictures to help you
visualize information. Graphs, maps, and images are helpful in
Review & organise
After class, review and organize your notes. This will help you
to sort out the information in a way that is meaningful to you
and will make it
easier to refer in future. If you have taken notes in a separate pad
or, notebook, it is a good idea to attach a copy with the learning
more & better
Mind maps are a great help. They offer a compact way to get both
an overview of a subject as well as easily add details. With
mind maps, you can see the relationships between disparate ideas
and they can also act as a receptacle for a brainstorming
Prefer writing than typing
While typing notes into
the computer is great for posterity, for many persons writing by hand stimulates
ideas. The simple act of holding and using a pen or pencil
This isn't exactly the same as a notebook. Journal has to do with tracking experiences over
time. If you add in visual details, charts, mind maps, etc., you
have a much more creative way to keep tabs on what you are
Use the right type of repetition
concepts often require revisiting in order to be fully absorbed.
Repetition of concepts & theory with various related
examples improves absorption and speeds up learning.
When trying to learn or memorize
a piece of information, close your eyes & try to visualise it.
One way people can learn efficiently is to accurately
evaluate their learning and decide how to proceed further. This ability is
known as "meta-comprehension".
Testing what you've learned will
reinforce the information.
People are often more
intelligent than they realize. In a world that compartmentalizes and
categorizes everything, not everyone is sure where they fit in. And
genius can be found in many walks of life. And the ability to learn
is far, far more important than what you already know.
Use your learning
Try to use what you have learnt at the immediate possible
It is better to try the first usage in controlled
conditions like: friends, family, closed group, within department.
After you gain confidence, you could put it in practice in more
The best way to learn something better is to teach it to someone
else. It forces you to learn, if you are motivated enough to share
your knowledge. Moreover, it clarifies a lot for yourself and also
gives new insights to the subjects at hand, hitherto hidden.
Above all, be enthusiastic in your learning pursuits & enjoy