Benjamin Franklin once said, “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”. Learning and remembering things have become the most important skills in our century. Competition in science, business, and everyday life have become a giant portion of our careers. Once you learn, you start to shine and become a person to be consulted on a niche. Once you learn, you become an expert and you make more and more money on the system you have built. Since humankind is evolved to think and learn, it’s the best and most important skill to improve, still. From the day we born, we start to learn by experience, by listening, by tasting, and hearing based on our environment. We learn how human functions work. After that, we start to go to school to improve our education, learn ways to communicate, and become a part of society. Then learn a profession to earn money and finally learn to be better at anything we want. But learning and memorizing experiences never stop. In this article, you will find ways to learn and memorize in order to improve your self-esteem, your profession, or anything else.
Do you remember the last thing you learned? Maybe a new taste, a new subject, or a new way of calculating the sum of a series… Learning is not a thing we can specify based on subjects because every experience teaches us something as well as our teachers. Some materials need deeper work while others just need a sip of a new juice. Everyone at least once in their lives had a difficult time while trying to learn a new skill. It can be the least favorite subject in school, a sport branch, a style or just the way of holding a pen properly. Still learning is a huge problem in society since there is a general way of teaching in schools and a lot of people suffer since they do not understand like the rest. So if you ever felt like you are one of those people we might have a few suggestions for you to improve this. Do not blame yourself because society has built up to give basic information to a large number of people. You might not the one that has the same learning technique as the rest. By using some techniques, you can speed up your learning.
Why Learning New Things is Important?
It should be all remembered that our brain is actually a specialized muscle. Like every other muscle in our body, we should constantly work to improve, keep it active and train it in order for it to function healthily and support our body. One can think of learning as a way of exercising our brain muscle and also by exercising with learning new things we can create new neuron connections which decreases the risk of diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease. Other than our health we get usually happy when we learn a new thing because we feel like we accomplish a new thing. Probably that’s why people who know a lot of things seem happier on the outside. This is because when we experience and learn a new thing our brain releases dopamine hormone that boosts our energy and happiness which again makes us to learn more. Moreover, we can list the benefits of learning new things as;
- Learning new things can make your personality more interesting.
- Increases empathy and helps you relate to other people.
- Learning a new thing can build self-esteem.
- Increasing social skills and by this way, you can build a wider network of friends.
- You might increase your income by creating new side income streams by learning new things and building channels around those new skills.
- Learning things boosts creativity by looking at other aspects of life.
Common Challenges of Learning
So what are some of the common challenges of learning? Why do people stay left up behind while the rest has no trouble orienting themselves to the learning culture of the society? The answer to this question is basically that there are a lot of different learning styles and each person has different strengths and weaknesses. We evolve due to our ancestors and their experiences. We live in a world of possibilities so there won’t be an easy answer to why do we learn visually more than others. The major focal point might be, how one orientates itself to the rest of the society? The only way to answer this question is first to learn how you learn and create an action plan according to your learning style.
Visual learning also called spatial learning refers to the learning style where the person prefers images and visuals while collecting their memories. Visual learners should surround their environment of learning and practice with color codes, images, visual words, layouts, and mindmaps. If you have only written sources to study, you might want to use highlighters, stickers, and post-its to increase the visuality of your content.
Solitary learning or intrapersonal learning is associated with people who enjoy their study time alone. Yes! They truly exist. Everyone comes across a school friend or a colleague who doesn’t enjoy participating in group studying or doesn’t engage during study sessions. It’s not because they prefer their knowledge or else. They just want to study alone to learn better. These kinds of people are motivated by goals and plans. So if you feel like this learning style is your fit you might want to create a goal that will improve your personal life also. You might want to encode your learning with the experiences you had. For example, instead of matching colors with definitions, matching memories and places with subjects are better. Like to improve your study session go to a coffee shop and match that subject with that coffee shop to remember better. Also, one effective piece of advice might be to model everything to learn. If you want to learn team communication create a modal in your head of how a team looks like and use that modal to encode everything.
Aural, also known as auditory and musical learning refers to the learning style where people prefer music and sounds to learn and memorize important things. So you really can’t forget that day when you went to the concert huh? To improve learning using rhymes, sounds, and even sometimes writing rap pieces might be a very fun and good way to learn. Also creating acronyms and acrostics with rhyme might be a good way to remember the thing you have more trouble with. You can use sound that makes you feel like a superhero in the background of your practice session too!
Social learning, alias interpersonal learning touch on people who favor study groups. Sharing is caring! Role-playing might be a good choice of learning technique. Try to teach your hacks with people and aims to do the practicing together. By practicing with other colleagues or study friends you get to learn different variations of the solutions and problems which aids you to be prepared for a large number of scenarios.
Verbal learning, so-called linguistic learning mentions to people with a lot of things to say and write about specific topics. They are good essay writers and public speakers. Because after they practice they can talk as they go. A lot of speaking and writing should be involved in their learning process. They are the ones that have the least problem with common learning styles. By writing a summary or just telling a friend about the subject might help them to get better at learning. Hacks generally include a lot of script-based encoding and word-based memorizing techniques. Reading the topic out loud, recording yourself while explaining a thing, and then listening to it frequently is best for you. It’s like you are basically created for content creation, right?
Logical learners, better known as mathematical or analytical learners are the ones with a lot of logic, reasoning, and system in their head while performing daily actions. It’s always better to ask why with them and for convincing them, it’s always best to give them a reason for the problem. The best learning advice would be to create a list of key points and build procedures around those key points so that every time one comes across a related problem they can use the same procedure to find a solution. One disadvantage of this kind of learning method is that one can find itself overthinking or overanalyzing the problem. This kind of behavior distracts one from the focal study and makes one paralyzed when they came across another problem that they did not expect.
The last but not least, physical learning, otherwise called kinesthetic learning is the group of people who uses their body and sense of touch while they are learning. Objects and doing things with objects make them memorize things. Focusing on sensations and describing every subject with feelings might help. Also drawing things, creating infographics can be included as physical activity so don’t forget that creating is always your best friend!
Different Ways of Learning New Things
#1 Learning by Testing
Other than deep diving the learning style of one, there are other common techniques to measure learning and speed up learning like, testing yourself! One can create quizzes, flashcards, and cards with two sides as a gamification technique. Of course, one can always to go test books which are the proven best way to test knowledge. Since we are talking about new ways of learning, let’s dig into the gamification of testing! While we study we tend to write down the things we learn or summarise. While defining use a digital note-taking method and after studying split the content into pieces. Ask a question or write a keyword than to the next page write the answer or the definition. After finishing the subject and reviewing the subject, go to your digital flashcards and start from the top. Try to remember and give the right answers, when you get stuck go to the next page and review. Below you will see a sample digital flashcard to study!
#2 Learning by a Mentor
Like we said before, sharing is caring. If you feel like you have trouble learning something and not sure if it’s because of the way you study or not, the best thing to do is to find a mentor who has tried the same ways and succeeded in somehow. Listening to experiences, asking for help, listening from someone else is a great way to learn a new thing. Experiences get valuable when used as an inspiration. Find a superior peer, senior, someone who took your class earlier and ask for help in exchage for a coffee maybe?
#3 Learning by Taking Breaks
It’s important to take care of your memory and brain. Giving breaks is mandatory to expect to focus. Pausing and unwinding things by a pausing session can improve your learning experience. By giving frequent breaks you can actually increase the total amount you practice effectively. Using the Pomodoro technique or the 40+10 technique are great choices for giving yourself a great break. But remember to totally relax and thinking about completely different things in order to count it as a break. But like we mentioned before, everybody is different and you are unique. So you need to find your own pace and decide your break and study times.
As a different way of learning, we can also count remembering methods! Remembering methods are extremely important and also included in the learning process. Before digging into different ways of remembering things let’s cover how the remembering process looks like.
How Remembering Work?
Although remembering and memory is a very researched part of science, still there are a lot of things that are undiscovered. To look into memory deeper one should understand the basic science behind the remembering process. Basically, there are 3 stages of remembering; Encoding, Storage, and Recall.
The first stage of encoding starts by noticing an event, an object, or a sound by the signals of the brain. For example, when we enter a new coffee shop we realize our surroundings with different senses and encode that in our big machine, our brain. We encode the coffee shop by the smell, the sound of the coffee grinder, the aesthetics, and the playlist we hear. When we do this simultaneously our brain starts the semantic encoding process. A lot of researches states that trying to capture memories by our senses are the most effective ways to improve our memory.
The second stage is called storage. This stage is pretty much similar to the computer systems. Pieces of information we capture through our senses converted into signals by the brain and with the help of neurons short-term and long-term memory are built. However, this is totally well researched but still, the least know part of our brain processes.
The third and last stage of the remembering process is the recalling stage. Like it can be understood by the naming this process is when we are trying to actually bring a memory to the moment for remembering. Science suggests that doing exercises frequently to replay moments by flashcards, etc. can improve our memory.
Different Ways to Remember New Things
There are a bunch of techniques that are known to improve memory and a bunch of techniques to use to prolong our memory. Here is a list of techniques that are commonly used and proven to be effective.
Using Memory Palaces
It’s known that the most common technique memory athletes use is the memory palace technique. This technique is invented in ancient Greece and also called a method of loci.
Create a memory palace of your own and imagine yourself standing in your memory palace. A memory palace might be your own room, your house, or your office. Just make sure that it’s a place from your own life that you can imagine the whole detail easily.
Walk-in this place and try to notice important things that are eye-catching. These elements will be your “loci”.
Match your loci with the things you want to remember. For example, if you want to remember a grocery list that matches your loci with each element and when you enter the supermarket start your routine walk in your palace.
The Chunking Method
The chunking method is the method where people use grouping elements of the things they want to remember. Generally, people use this technique to remember numbers like their phone numbers. Also in pi number competitions, it’s known that contestants are using this method. It’s like grouping numbers as 888 or 5555 in a number set.
Spaced Repetition Method
This method is commonly used to grow a long-term memory and frequently used by the education system. Do you remember complaining about seeing the same subjects repetitively every year? This is a part of the spaced repetition method. Starting by two to four days try to revise the topic and afterward, increase the interspace between repetition like nine days, 1 month and 2 months, etc. If you forgot to repetition start the interval from the start.
One of the things you can do to improve your memory is to make some lifestyle changes, like increasing your sleep effectiveness. It’s a scientific fact that getting enough sleep every night is good for our brain health. In fact, in recent years one of the Nobel prizes has been assigned to a study-related to sleep and our sleep quality. The study says that by getting 8 hours of sleep we can decrease the risk of cancer as well as increasing our memory. Besides sleeping napping is also a good way to boost memory. For example after learning something new, if you take a nap on it you can boost your memory immediately.
Mnemonics is also a method to remember things easily and in a more fun way. This method is created by taking the aid of pattern of letters and creativity. For example one of the common menmonic people use in highschool is the My Very Educated Mother Served Us Nine Pizzas sentence. By using the first letters one can remember the planets as Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto respectively.
One of the lifestyle habit one can do, in order to improve the memory is to exercise regularly. Exercising is not only good for our organs and body, it is also extemely important for our brain. By increasing the blood flow, and carrying fresh oxygen to our brain we can boost our brain activities. However remember that not to exercise immediatily after learning a new thing. It’s generally better to exercise to at least four hours later learning a new thing.
Where Can You Learn New Things?
Other than going into skill schools, actual schools or training, online learning is possible. Even after COVID19 pandemic a lot of people started on discovering new channels to learn or teach new things by interacting with other people on internet. To make it easier for you to reach our to this platforms we created a small list where you can reach out and start learning new skills today!
There are a lot of online tutors that are giving online courses and trainings over online chatting and online learning platforms. Not only they are reaching out to you at your home they also provide digital sources which makes learning a new thing more affordable.
Udemy is one of the platform that is standing our in online learning experiences. A lot of tutors, trainers and teachers create their online course materials with the help of udemy and put a price on their courses. One advantage of udemy is that there are really frequent discounts which makes courses very affordable and almost every tutor provides an online community with the course updates. By the help of these communities you can also find other people that have took the same course as you do and check their success to get inspiration.
Linkedin learning is a new and fast growing e-learning platform where people can gain both soft and hard skills for their careers. One advantage of this platform is that the quality of the content in Linkedin Learning is more career focused than other learning platforms.