Learning how to learn

Santosh Prem, a teacher at Malet Lambert School, claims that “the difference between a genius and a "normal" person is that the former "accidentally" acquired the critical combination of the appropriate environment, motivation and learning technique to excel in his particular field.” Literally it means that every student has the same potential to excel and succeed in studying without having any exceptional inborn gift.

One of the most vital components in this “genius formula”, which significance is underestimated both by teachers and students is acquiring and harnessing of ‘Learning How to Learn’ skill. “This is probably the one skill that was never explicitly mentioned in all the years that you've spent in school. But it's the one where there's the most reward for the smallest investment.”

Indeed, knowing how to learn is a universal skill which every learner can make good use of for self-education in future life. Learning how to learn is a critical starting point in studying, which promotes students’ success in the whole course of education. This drastic know-how forms not only the basis of successful learning, but develops a peculiar learning style of the person.

Some learners choose more methodical approach to learning and try to dive into the essence of processing data, breaking it into logical units in order to memorize large blocks of information in parts. Meanwhile, other approach to learning less structurally, relying heavily on loci memory improvement technique, which involves making associations between facts and visualizing things.

Thus, every learning style is unique and it is impossible to elaborate a set of standard learning strategies and methods which can be utilized by every learner. Hence, I offer you to get acquainted with the following learning techniques and experiment with some of them to see if they work for you.

Seven Principles of ‘Learning How to Learn’ Formula

  • Connect everything you learn to a specific goal. Remember that you can learn anything if you have a clear cut goal, which will motivate your advance in studying. Trying to learn something reluctantly or under compulsion, is always difficult and usually doesn’t bring any fruitful results. You should create a desire and speculate over the reasons of your learning very carefully. Bear in mind that learning more implies earning more; consequently everything you learn can be transformed into your career success.
  • You will learn faster if you structure and logically organize all information in hand. It’ll increase the effectiveness of memorizing and help you immensely in your studying. You can break the data into small chunks or make a general outline of what you are learning.
  • Single out the most important points of new material. Use a ‘highlight strategy’, which implies processing of information, underlining its major points and brief summarizing.
  • Learn how to make drafts and set out in writing all your thoughts. The main idea of drafting is stating and organizing of key information meaningfully and coherently on a sheet of paper.
  • Take regular breaks. Always combine work with rest. Try to make a change of scene and look aside. Have some food or turn to some physical training. If you don’t want to interrupt your work, but still feels that learning in the same surrounding is unbearable, try to accompany your studying with background music or make some visual images that involve moving, interaction or color.
  • Learn to budget your time wisely, to accomplish all your work in time and make use of every minute of your studying. Distribute your work rationally and establish priority of each task in hand. Plan your time in accordance with quantity of work you have. Never yield a temptation to postpone tasks of secondary importance. Remember if you violate your deadline once there is a great likelihood that you’ll do it again.
  • Learning works more efficiently if you are relaxed and your mind is calm. Concentrate your attention solely on studying during your learning periods. Have an organized working place to avoid any distractions and don’t forget to give yourself rewards when you have completed some tasks efficiently.

Take risks and don’t be afraid to experiment with different techniques. Always remember that those who learn and do it constantly over their lifetime do much better in their career and have more advantageous position than those who stop on attained results and rest on laurels.

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