Learning is a complex process that requires deep concentration, adaptability, and readiness to shift one's thinking and be open to new ideas and perspectives.
In times when continual learning is becoming increasingly important for success in different fields, the ability to learn new things quickly and save precious time is an invaluable skill to have. And there's no better way to boost your learning capabilities than these scientifically proven methods:
Take notes by hand, not on your computer
Research shows that the slow process of writing things down enhances comprehension and retention of information through muscle memory, especially when you paraphrase, using your own words. It's also helpful to use consistent abbreviations and write in phrases rather than complete sentences.
Distribute your study sessions over time
Rather than trying to learn as many things as possible in one sitting, give yourself some space to revisit the same information several times. According to science, it will enhance long-term learning and retention. There's no definite answer as to how long the gaps between these periodic (spaced) review sessions should be but research clearly shows that having them not only improves memory but also helps apply new knowledge better afterwards.
Learn actively rather than passively
Several studies show that asking yourself hard questions (the harder, the better) about the new material helps learn and memorize things better.
Slightly modify your practice every time
If you're trying to master a new skill, dull repetition can actually be counterproductive to your learning process. Research suggests doing things slightly differently every time you practice. Significant changes aren't necessary, just change this and that a little bit from time to time.
Diversify your learning
Instead of concentrating on one way of learning (for example, learning a language using a textbook), you can switch between different options like listening to a podcast, watching a YouTube video, or writing a journal, engaging more regions of the brain to store data about the same subject or topic. It helps to actually learn new information rather than simply memorize it.
Stay hydrated and have plenty of sleep
Research says that even a short nap can improve our memory (including long-term memory) while taking water to an exam can positively affect its outcome.