Is it really possible to learn faster – as much as ten times faster – by adopting some new way of learning? Although we use techniques and strategies for many things at in life and at work, few people learn with any deliberate strategy in place. This is why when you start to use techniques proven by research to enhance learning, the gains can be dramatic and give you a big edge…
While there are numerous ways to learn and retain something much faster, here are the two best strategies you can use immediately:
1- Teach someone else (or just imagine you are teaching someone else)
If you learn and read up on a topic while expecting that this is material you will need to teach someone else, you will automatically learn in a way that is not possible if there is no requirement to share the learning with others. This is because when you think you have to teach/share, the learning mindset changes. The mindset becomes more disciplined and it starts exploring permutations and combinations of questions that might be asked by others. Now you are not learning just for yourself but for others too so the need to learn more comprehensively is also enhanced.
Another benefit of teaching/sharing the learning is that you start articulating the learning in your own way – as if it “belongs” to you. This internalizing of knowledge is what is often referred to as your own personal insights.
2- Break down the learning into small chunks and short bursts of time
Research and science have now proven that micro-learning or small chunks of learning enhances learning and retention by an order of magnitude. Focusing on one specific topic or sub-topic at a time is essential before moving on to a new topic. So for example, instead of learning about the subject “communication skills” which is a really broad area, learning can be enhanced by focusing say on “how to give feedback” or “how to start a presentation”.
Another thing to note is that any learning that goes beyond 45 minutes or so at a stretch generally means too much information in one go. The mind is just not good at retaining too much information at once. So short and frequent learning sessions with gaps in between are significantly better for learning and retaining that knowledge.