When I was in school, the only way we knew how to learn was to put your head down and study. If you had trouble, you needed to work harder. There may have been individuals who used specific techniques to help them study, but I doubt they could have pointed out the scientific reasoning for those methods. It was like shooting arrows blindly without knowing why some arrows hit the mark and others didn’t. As we have since discovered, some of those study methods have been revealed to be quite ineffective – such as highlighting. No one really thought much about how the brain worked, how memories were formed and consolidated, or what we could do to learn better.
Most students report rereading and highlighting, yet these techniques do not consistently boost students’ performance, so other techniques should be used in their place. – Dunlosky J et al. (Jan, 2013)
We know better now and science has shed a lot of insight into the way the brain learns best. We’ve shared some of these “new” ideas in previous posts on how to study and learn better:
32 Ways to Learn Better
For more ways to learn better, check out Custom Writing‘s infographic on 32 Ways to Learn Faster:
We talk about some of these tactics in earlier posts. You can refer back to articles for more detail:
- Brain Breaks – taking breaks can help improve learning.
- Spaced Studying – a structured method of study that includes brain breaks.
- Sleep – the impact of sleep on learning.
- Interleaving – mix up your learning.
- Memory Tactics (see also: Memory Palace)
- Hand-written Notes
- The Problem with Multitasking – what multitasking is really doing to your brain.
- Mind Tools for Asking Questions
- Learning from Failure and Adversity
- Metacognition – understanding how we think to help us learn better.
For a short and sweet overview of the best tips for learning better, watch the following video from ASAP Science: