How to be a better learner

Improve your learning skills with these techniques
By Ellen Arnison, Student Blog

9 January 2016

It’s all very well to follow the good advice about being on time for class and eating a brain-food packed diet, but is there anything else you could be doing to reach new heights?

1. Use fun to become a memory master

Idriz Zogaj learned to memorise the order of the cards in a shuffled pack in under five minutes by applying ‘memory athlete’ techniques. Idriz states that your mind feeds on having fun, so follow his advice to help commit your coursework to memory.

“This is all the knowledge you need to understand how your memory and brain works,” said Idriz.

2. Give it 20 hours

Josh Kaufman argues that the theory of committing yourself to 10,000-hours of deliberate practice to become ‘world-class’ in anything, doesn’t work in all cases. Instead, he reveals a 20-hour learning curve that will get most people to an acceptable level of competence. His tips on learning quickly are worth a look when trying to master a new subject.

3. Make any class fascinating

Not, of course, that any of the ICAS tutors would deliver a dull lesson, however, there are ways to make sure that every class is interesting and memorable. Start by making sure you’re not sleepy or hungry and get there in enough time to bag a seat up the front.

A little preparation will help too. Try getting ready by creating a mental road map of things you’ve covered already and things to come – it will train you to pay attention to what your lecturer is saying.

2. Tune in and listen properly

Julian Treasure believes that efficient listening is a dying skill. In this TED talk, he shares five ways to fine-tune your ears which are bound to make your classroom time more productive.

These include ensuring you get some silence into your day and how to be an ‘active listener’.

1. Talk fast but think faster

A key to keeping your mind on the content of a lecture is to understand the difference between the speed of speaking and the speed of thinking.

We think fast enough to take in around 400 words per minute, which is about four times faster than most speakers can talk. There are several ways to improve your listening skills in lectures or meetings, including this practical tips piece by Dick Lee and Delmar Hatesohl.

Topics

  • CA Student blog

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