Learning is a unique experience. In a room full of students, there can be as many types of learners as there are students! One thing that parents and teachers can do is to implement set of learning techniques that each student can apply to their own educational journey. Here are 7 learning techniques you can teach your learner today.
- Create mini goals. If the goal is to learn a new language, wording it in that way can make it seem a bit insurmountable. By breaking it down into bite-sized tasks, the brain is better able to digest it. Try “learn 100 words of Russian” as an achievable first mini goal. Think of it this way; it’s faster and easier to move many pebbles than it is to move 1 mountain!
- No more multi-tasking. Being able to juggle many tasks at once is a skill that is highly valued. If you can multi-task, you are viewed as being more productive than someone who may only be able to handle one task at a time. Multi-tasking certainly allows you to get through your to-do list, but it won’t help you while attempting to learn something new. Most households have multiple televisions, smart phones, tablets, computers. To be an efficient learner, you need to learn to single-task! Turn off your phone, your tablets, and try to eliminate as many potential distractions as you can. Learning faster means focusing on the task at hand.
- Practice! Once you’ve learned a new chord progression on the guitar, play it over and over. When you think you’ve practiced it enough, practice more. The brain learns to commit a skill to memory by repeating that skill until it becomes second nature.
- Create a map. Mind maps are diagrams that have been used since the 1950’s. They are a valuable tool to see how your brain is digesting and organizing the information presented in the learning of a new skill. A mind map is a chart that starts with a central idea, written in the center of your map, with spin offs and sub-topics stemming from that idea. When you are done creating your mind map it may end up looking like a spider! If your learning topic is time management, you would start by writing that main topic in the center of your map and circling it. Then connect it to sub topics like “work-life balance”, “mind tools”, or “delegate” by drawing lines from the main circle to smaller circles. Online tools like Spiderscribe and Edistorm can help you to start mapping.
- Find a study group. Learning with like-minded companions is a great way to be able to practice what you are learning. Not only that, you’ll also have someone to hold you accountable if you start slacking!
- Remember to reactivate. If you rode your bike a lot, then didn’t do it at all for a while, would you forget how to do it? Probably not, although your first time back on a bike after all that time might feel a bit wobbly. Not all skills are as easy to reactivate as bike riding, but it can be done. During the initial learning process, establish a set of warm-up exercises that you do at the beginning of each session. If you are learning to dance, it could be a warm up at the barre, if you are learning to play an instrument, it could be a few scales or chords. When you go to reactivate the skill, going back to these warm ups will help re-open your brain to the knowledge.
- Take a mental break. If you are working to learn a new skill in a short amount of time, you might feel like you always have to be doing something productive. Sometimes doing nothing is the most productive thing of all! Take a break to go for a walk, meditate, nap, or anything else that will give your mind a rest. You’ll go back to your studies refreshed and ready to learn.
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