Have you ever noticed how naturally or effortlessly we are able to recollect episodes of childhood from our real-life experiences? In contrast to these memories, learning and then remembering a chapter of History from grade X could surely seem to be a colossal task.
Similarly, even today narratives of books that we choose to read of our own accord get etched in our memory for a much longer duration than everyday newspaper readings of regular world politics.
Have you ever wondered or discerned WHY?
This happens because during experiences that we indulge in or readings that we take up on our own accord, our brain sensors are on high alert.
These episodes adhere to our memory as they connect with our life segments. Psychologists refer to this as Context-Dependent Retrieval.
This is when a particular context/environment serves as the retrieval cue and makes us recall events because it is associated with the stored memory.
This is also the reason that students often sit in the same seats while giving a test, or childhood anecdotes are better remembered when you are at the spot where an event took place.
There are 168 hours in a week.
If you ask a student, probably these too will seem deficient to complete homework, assignments, projects and studying for tests and examination while learning all those concepts. Of course, not to forget, there are other co-curricular activities as well. Accomplishing straight ‘A’s by slogging or burning the midnight lamp is not the correct approach towards education or life.
“Learning how to Learn” is a cardinal life skill.
We go to the gym to work out, tone and train our body muscles, we go hiking to train our fortitude. Then why should we neglect the most crucial part of our body that is the brain? The question however remains, how does one train the brain to learn rapidly and remember more efficiently?
The need of the hour is to hone learning techniques to study smarter so as to enjoy, appreciate and savor life!
The conventional ideology of human intelligence has created a mindset or paradigm with regards to the definition of ‘intelligent’ or ‘smart’. Current educational practices have strictly stipulated who has the potential to be smart and who doesn’t.
However, progressive research highlights that the only limit to one’s intelligence is what the individual believes is possible and how his/her temperament fosters or limits intelligence.
Intelligence is not a static structure that can be computed or eloquently quantified. It is an open dynamic system and a subject of ‘Want’ and Need’ that has the ability to expand itself all through life.
We all have heard about the 7 types of intelligence; verbal/linguistic, logical/mathematical, musical, visual/spatial, body/kinesthetic, interpersonal and intrapersonal.
One or multiple of these intelligences could dominate the psyche of a child and therefore, no solitary type of intelligence is better than the other. Identifying one’s learning style can solve the biggest problem for any student and save thousands of hours wasted in struggling how to learn and retain that learning.
All learning styles are equally worthy and viable. If learning methodologies are compatible with the learner and teaching strategies are designed to maximize their holistic development, education will become much more meaningful and helpful to raise the 21st century youth.
Till then how about I share a few secrets with you and equip you with 7 speed learning techniques that will aid you in broadening your views of intelligence? If you follow through, be assured that these will help you construct a method that works for you and allows you to learn anything in a fraction of the time it took you before.
Forget the traditional methods of teaching and learning and shift your focus to ask yourself, what is the Real-World Relevance that I can apply here?
Instead of depending on what you read, can you learn the same concept by:
Be curious to find more real-life examples, learn through them, and get inspired through.
These steps will not just help you understand and learn better but you will also realize that your learning is relevant. It does have real-life application beyond the four walls of a classroom or lecture hall. Doing this will make the same haunting concepts much more interesting for you to learn than rote learning your 500-page text book.
Don’t get caught up in the complexity of the word. Mnemonic Techniques are just about creating typical patterns to any new information we wish to recall. Once you understand the uniqueness of this technique, you will realize why Psychologists rely on Mnemonics as a great way to chunk and recall complicated information over a longer period of time, once you learn this you can apply it to learning anything from formulas, maps, equations and even complex and lengthy concepts.
By the way Mnemonics trainings cost you a fortune, and I am giving you this vital piece for free, all you need to do is practice, to become smart with your memory.
To use Mnemonics, you need to understand that your brain capability is to store around 5-9 pieces of information in one go. Using this you can use the chunking method to recall much more information with ease.
I call it Smart Chunking, let me simplify this process for you:
For Example: If I have to remember a phone number of 10 digits, hypothetically – 1234567899, my chunking would divide it into 123 – 456- 7899 (BITE SIZE)
My Chunk Story would be: A 12 year old girl walked 3 steps, she fell down at the 4th step (relate it to a 12 year old girl you know and picture her) and a 56 year old man picked her up, she stood up and gave him 7 stones and 8 flowers and his 99 year old grandfather gave a big laugh.
Try this the next time you want to learn something rather tedious like a formula or an equation. Get creative and you’ll see what I am talking about.
Acronyms are an invented amalgamation of letters forming a new word, wherein each letter is a clue to an item you need to remember. For instance, the acronym PMAT can be utilized towards memorizing the sequence of the stages of cell division: Prophase, Metaphase, Anaphase, and Telophase.
Acronyms are used to simplify complex ideas.
Use Acronyms to remember lengthy concepts.
Organize the entire information in Acronyms to remember the main bullets.
In fact, you must have come across this technique multiple times, whether it was to remember the colors in the rainbow (VIBGYOR) as a kid or more complicated rules in math (BODMAS). There is a reason it is so widely adapted and used- it works!!! So, go start using it!!
Acrostics encompass the formation of a generally meaningful sentence wherein the first letter of each word is the cue to what you want to learn.
For Example ‘My Dear Aunt Sally’ suggests the mathematical order of operations: Multiply Divide Add Subtract.
My – M – Multiply
Dear – D – Divide
Aunt – A – Add
Sally – S– Subtract.
This is a very simple example. If you use Acrostics creatively, you can learn the most difficult concepts of Chemistry formulas, Math formulas, Geography maps, Public Speaking assignments and what not in the simplest manner.
You name it and Acrostics can save it!
To Use Acrostics:
Form a meaningful sentence wherein the first letter of each word is the cue.
Acrostics demand you to be creative in stacking information you can recall.
Think why are you creating this Acrostics for a meaningful creation.
The method of Loci comes handy in memorizing full episodes of History or long procedures of Science. Loci literally implies “places.”
The idea is to associate the places around yourself to relate to important information that you need to remember. Follow the IVM steps to use Loci:
This may seem tricky at first but once you master this art; you will be surprised by how easily you are able to recollect chunks of information without much effort.
Using Loci, you can remember an entire chapter on a battle / types of forests / types pf metals- just from your house to your school 😊
A fun way to learn, isn’t it?
This method especially comes in handy for those who refer to themselves as “Visual Learners”. The extent of usage depends on your creativity.
This does not apply to children in particular. Individuals of any age can remember things better when they SING IT.
Rhymes, tunes and songs make us all happy, recall how you remember jingles of advertisements. Multinational companies use this ability of people to recall rhymes better to promote their products and create good recall value.
SO JUST SING IT:
When you create Acronyms- Sing it.
When you use Acrostics- Rhyme it.
When you use Mnemonics- Humm it.
When you use Loci- Tune it.
When you Space it- Even then SING IT
Singing helps you remember. Period!
In order to enhance one’s long-term memory, Psychologists also rely on something called the “Spacing Effect.” Repetition is essential to learning, we learn better when we repeat. Correct? Only partially correct, actually! It is not the repetition that makes you remember better but how well you space it so that you remember what matters.
This is the Spacing Effect.
It is basically chunking larger pieces of information by dividing it over a period of time so that it cements permanently into your brain. Spacing when used correctly enhances our brains efficiency to learn and enhance concentration.
The ideal spacing gap to memorize important information:
Space it on an interval of 1 hr- 24 hrs- 48 hrs- 1 week- 15 days- 1 month- 6 months and the information will stay with you if you have not crammed it and rather used the intelligent techniques given above.
The reason that you have read this article up until this point is not to keep it as a knowledge read and go back to your old techniques. You reached this far because it’s time for you to reap the benefits of these techniques.
A WORD OF CAUTION: Don’t try to use too many techniques together, you will end up feeling confused and exhausted. Pick up one technique that you like the best and apply it, till you or the learner you have in mind perfects it. Which technique will suit you best depends on how you learn faster?
It’s essential to understand your learning style and strength before you begin to learn the way you like. Use this unique ‘SWOT Analysis and Personality Profile’ Assessment that clearly reveals your learning style and foregoes the frustration that comes the week or night before an exam.
Just Remember the one who Practices, becomes Perfect!
Also, one last technique you just can’t afford to miss and is the least taxing is for you to treat yourself to a dark chocolate which is known to give your brain the desired boost.
It is believed that when we eat chocolate, the brain generates dopamine that facilitates faster learning. So next time you need to remember something difficult, grab and munch on a big chunk of dark chocolate!
And if you think it is a chocolate we may like, don’t hesitate to share it with us in the comment section below!!!