Top Ten Tips on...
Learning How to Learn
Do you have a learning style preference?
find out if you have a learning style preference or blend. Do you know how you learn best or have you simply become locked into a way of learning that you've always used?
Use Gardner’s Learning Inventory
start with Gardner's learning style inventory, his seven key points about people's preferences for learning. And although it's not been well reviewed in more recent years, it can be useful as a starting point to consider what your particular preference or blend of learning styles might be.
it's worth actually accessing all seven approaches; it's worth being comfortable and developing your skills in any of those seven particular styles. And the reason is that in the real world, no one gets to be given their learning style preference. People will not always be given access to the style or preference or blends that suits them most. keep trying something new. So. Give yourself a little test every now and then do you have something you want to learn? See if you can recall it visually, see if you can work out a logical connection between the points you want to learn.
Try new approaches
give yourself the opportunity to test out each of the seven learning preferences – because you may then discover new ways of learning that are actually better than the one(s) you currently use.
given that most learning opportunities will not be delivered to you in a form that works best for you, learn to convert. For example, I almost always convert what I'm hearing or reading into some kind of visual map – because I understand and retain visual information best.
we're always going to learn better if we're motivated, which means we're interested in either the subject or the way in which the subject is presented. So find a motivation to help you learn – either in what you are learning, or how you are learning it.
this is not the same as motivation. You don’t have to be motivated to be committed. Commitment means making a promise, then keeping to it. So if you can’t find appropriate motivation, then make a personal commitment – a promise or guarantee – to do it: to work at it, to stick with it…
if you want to be an effective learner, you need to stay focused. You need to be able to concentrate in the moment on the learning. It won't automatically arrive and it may well need your level of concentration to be high in order to be effective.
firstly, how long can you stay focused as a learning activity? What is the length of your attention span? I know someone who can be totally ‘in the zone’ when learning for up to 10 hours, without a break – whereas my full on concentration lasts only around an hour – then I need a break. Secondly, is there a time of day where you learn at your best? Are you a lark or an owl? A morning or a nighttime learner?
Convert learning into learned
convert what you've learned into real understanding through application and practice. In that sense learning is knowledge; learned is successful application of that knowledge.
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