3 Vital Ways To Improve Your Learning Skills

There are a few things in life that are undoubted facts and one of them is that throughout life, you will always be learning. No matter what age, we all go through learning processes whether it is for our businesses or careers, parenting, communication skills, relationships and even for our hobbies. Yes more people will have the urge and ability to learn more than others, but at the end of the day – everybody is learning continuously.

Learning New Skills

Therefore it makes perfect sense to obtain good learning skills sooner than later. Having good study habits and some tools to increase your ability to learn would make all the difference. The following are some tips and techniques you can apply to any learning situation.

  1. Ask QuestionsWhenever possible, never hesitate to ask questions whether you think they are important or not. I have been taught that the only silly question is the question not asked.  It has been proven time and time again that the students who participate in class, and the members who participate within groups in general, like online forums, are the ones who gain the most knowledge.
  2. Teach What You Have Learned To Others This is something that I personally do all the time by writing articles of what I have learned, just like this one. I am sure you have been through the same process. Just think of a time when you were explaining something to a friend and then all of a sudden the “aha” bell rang inside your head. You get the sense of feeling that what you have just said (presented) makes more sense now, than it did before. This is because when you “teach”, you are forced to think holistically. This means that you are “relating” and interconnecting knowledge you already know; it is basically the opposite of memorizing.
  3. Learn To Speed Read This is a process which I have learned in the last few months and which is very easy to do with some practice, but at the same time very effective. Most of us learn by reading, so what if you could read twice as fast, or even three times as fast, as you can now? To speed read, you need to take a pen/pencil or use your finger while reading. As you read you move your finger or pen across the lines at a much faster speed than you would normally read. Your eyes must focus and follow the tip of your finger/pen, not on the actual words. By using this technique you are actually removing that “inner voice” you hear, which is basically reading to yourself. The faster you move your pen across the sentence; your mind learns to read “chunks” of words at a time, instead of reading word for word.

The way you learn plays a significant role on your retention rate. Your retention rate is what you remember after you have learned something.  To explain things in more depth, we need to look at the “cone of experience” model by Edgar Dale. This model implies the following: 

  • When you learn by only reading, you will remember approximately 10% of what you have read.
  • When you learn by only listening (i.e. lectures, podcasts) you will remember approximately 20% of what you hear.

  • When you learn by only watching videos or images, you remember approximately 30% of what you see and hear.
  • When you learn by watching a demonstration, you will remember approximately 50% of what you see and hear.
  • When you learn by participating in a discussion or workshop, you will remember up to 70% of what you write and say.
  • And when you learn by performing a presentation, where basically you become the teacher, you will remember up to 90% of what you teach

This is a great video of the learning stages but also a conclusion of how we can learn more effectively:

As you can see, learning by active means such as discussion and engagement, you will learn a lot more than just by reading or listening, which is passive learning.

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