Learning is the bread and butter of anything in life. Without our ability to learn we would have gotten nowhere, and if we stop learning we will be left behind by those who don’t. Learning is a lifelong process and is a vital skill to master if you want to realize your dreams!
There are 2 main aspects of learning that we will tackle in this article. The speed at which we learn is of incredible importance. There are only so many hours in a day, and if you can learn twice as quick as your competition, you are at a serious advantage. Furthermore, the accuracy with which you remember that which has been learned, is also crucial. It is useless to learn something at incredible speed, if you cannot remember it 3 days later.
Become a more efficient learner doesn’t happen overnight. The methods below will have to be practiced daily until they become habits before you truly master the art of learning. So without further-ado, let’s get into X ways to become more efficient at learning.
1. Ask Questions
No one in this world knows the answers to everything. It is very normal to have doubts about certain topics and concepts. Often times the only way forward is to ask more knowledgeable individuals for help, and there is no shame in doing so!
Furthermore, engaging in debates and discussions with others will also allow your perspective on certain issues to change, granted you ask the right kind of questions geared towards the answers you need.
2. Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone
If you always do the same activities, you will never learn anything new. New skills are learned by doing things that you have never done before.
Stepping out of your comfort zone is one of many traits of the most successful individuals. It is what sets them apart from everyone else. If you become comfortable being uncomfortable, you will achieve whatever you want. The most common way to know whether you are doing this, is to ask yourself a simple question: “Am I having a hard time, am i struggling, or am I getting through my day quite easily?” If you find that you rarely have days where you really struggles, then you have to step out of your comfort zone more.
This can mean anything, from going to train a new sport, to finally building up the courage to ask your crush out on a date. Just do something that scares you, and you will reap the benefits sooner rather than later.
In my personal opinion, this is the most powerful method on this list, and if you only employ one of these methods into your routine, I suggest you chose this one!
3. Learn To Listen Attentively
Other people have vastly different perspectives on how the world works. If you rarely listen to what others think and say, you are limiting yourself from receiving a lot of potentially very valuable information.
Whenever you find yourself in a deep conversation with another person, try talking less about yourself, and instead ask them more questions about their beliefs on that topic. Make sure that these questions target an aspect of the discussion that you are not so knowledgeable about. This will give you a lot more insight into the topic, and can be an easy source of learning throughout your day!
I will soon be writing an article detailing several ways you can become a better listener. So keep an eye on our recent posts!
4. Get In The Habit Of Reading Books Regularly
One of the best sources of information are non-fiction books. These can be about history, the present, or what we we expect the future to be. A great habit to form is reading the news and understanding current affairs in the world. You can learn a lot about the world around you by simply observing the news. Make sure to not blindly believe everything that is on the news. Fact check if you have any doubts via other independent sources.
Try and set a reading goal for yourself. Start out by trying to read 1 book every month. If you are not an experienced reader, it might take awhile for you to find the books which you are truly interested about. Once you do however, reading can become seriously addicting!
5. Teach What You Know To Others
Have you ever heard of the saying “If you can’t explain something to another person, then you don’t understand it.” Explaining a concept or idea to someone else, solidifies that knowledge into your brain. This is one of the reasons why in high school and university we have to write so many papers and make a multitude of presentations. They are a way in which we explain what we have learned to another person, your teachers and professors in this case.
Furthermore, I have had instances where I explained an idea to someone, and they in return asked a question about that topic that I simply couldn’t answer. Other people can often expose gaps in our knowledge about a certain task, even if that person knows less about it than you do! With this feedback we can ensure that we are well informed and eliminate any gaps in our knowledge.
6. Gain Practical Experience
Whenever we read books, listen to other people, or step out of our comfort zone, the information we learn always tends to be very theoretical. Of course theoretical knowledge is very important if we want to learn something new, but do you really get better at playing basketball by sitting in a classroom and learning about all the rules? Not really right? You have to get out on the court and start playing.
Sometimes theoretical knowledge can only get you so far. It will be the practical experience that will really solidify your learning, because it gives you the ability to repeatedly practice a certain skill. And we all know that practice makes perfect!
7. Stop Multitasking
Multitasking is where you perform multiple activities at a time. While it is a great productivity tool, it can seriously impede your learning! During the learning process, switching to and from different task is very time inefficient.
Another way in which it has a negative impact is how your brain stores information. Your brain will learn something, and store all that information in one place. If you are learning 2 things at once, this information can get mixed up, making you less efficient and more prone to making errors.
To maximise your learning, prioritize the skills that directly impact your most important and urgent goals. Then learn that task first, and by itself.
8. Test Yourself
The only way to truly know if you have mastered a certain skills, is to test yourself. Often times testing yourself will show you the gaps in your knowledge. This feedback can then be used to improve yourself! Not only that, but research has shown that testing yourself can actually help you remember the content better. You will strengthen your long term memory of the things you have tested yourself on.
Performing well on these tests might also improve your intrinsic motivation, causing you to want to learn more and advance yourself even further. It is an overall great method to learn more efficiently and to become more motivated to keep on learning!
9. Have An Open Mind
As humans we tend to stick to what we know, and not venture outside our known realm. Similar to point 2 “stepping out of your comfort zone”, having an open mind and being open to new ideas is a surefire way to get access to new information, and consequently learn from it.
If you are stuck in your ways as a close minded individual, you hinder the opportunity to learn new ways to get to a solution. The world is ever changing, so it is of the utmost importance that you advance with it. Always sticking to your old know-how is a guaranteed way of falling behind. Be open minded!
Developing these efficient learning skills will take time, as does anything that is worth achieving. It is crucial that you try to make a habit of at least a few of the above mentioned points. They will certainly help you gain and store knowledge much more efficiently. I wish you all the best and I hope you enjoyed the read!