To some people, learning is a welcome opportunity to expand their mind, to others it’s a task to be avoided at all costs. When I was younger, I viewed learning as boring, but as I grew up and faced reality, I realized that education is more than book learning. It can include anything from schooling to playing an instrument, cooking, skiing or driving a car.
If you’re impatient like me, you may ask yourself, what is the fastest way to learn something new? Scientists have discovered many effective ways to help us improve our learning capacity.
1. Teach someone else
Offering to be your friend’s science tutor will reinforce the concept you’re teaching, helping you learn it at the same time. When you teach another person, you gain greater understanding and retain what you’ve learned better. However, the British Psychological Society issued a caveat. Teaching as a way of learning is most effective when you have to recall the learning. Don’t rely on notes when you’re making a presentation; be sure you’ve learned the material beforehand.
2. Practice, practice, practice!
Whether it’s mathematics, sports or music, practice has been scientifically proven to be the most useful tool to impact your brain. Consistent practice creates repetition and can lead to the production of more grey matter in your brain! Doing something over and over creates new pathways in the brain and helps you retain new information. Other simple learning strategies include frequently quizzing yourself, repeating key information to yourself and making sure you can explain the information to yourself and others.
3. Quit multitasking
The temptation of social media can be the biggest hurdle between you and your learning goal. With every notification and message you receive, you’re bound to be tempted to check your phone. Put your phone away and eliminate its distractions if you really want to focus on learning. Choose a quiet environment that will help you focus on your task and reduce distractions.
4. Don't be afraid to make misakes
Although making mistakes sounds like a bad idea when it comes to learning, mistakes can be a ladder that help you reach the top. With every mistake you make you learn something and gain experience, so that eventually you’ll improve your performance. Every mistake teaches you a lesson. Don’t be embarrassed by the number of mistakes you commit. Nobody is perfect!
5. Choose the best study method for you
Whatever you’re learning, two things that matter most are the way you choose to learn and the way you manage your time. In order to achieve your goal, use a technique that takes less time but that gives you the best results.
Here are a few more effective ways to learn things faster:
- Teach someone else—or just pretend to
- Take notes by hand and rewrite them while you try to recall the information
- Space out your learning over a few days or a week for better retention
- Take a short nap between study sessions to boost your recall for up to six months
Now that you have these tips in your repertoire, what will you learn faster than ever before? Let us know in the comments!
This guest article was written by Annabelle, who is part of the Content and Community team at SmileTutor.