Simple Techniques for Rapid Learning
It’s a common issue among most young people; why do certain students in class find it easier to understand what the teacher is saying? Why does it seem like some people learn faster than others.
The popular answer to that question is that some people are simply more naturally gifted than others _while that’s true and IQ differs from person to person, it’s important to note that as an individual, you can improve.
In fact, the inability to learn often comes from studying a field that doesn’t interest you or learning in a way that your brain does not respond. Studies have shown that people have “different” intelligences;
Some people claim IQ is all in the genes. While there might be some truth to those claims, I don’t believe that means that average learners are doomed to mediocrity. I’ve met and heard of many people who went from being average or poor students to absolutely spectacular students after changing their learning habits and finding the right motivation.
Allow me to share with you some of the most effective tactics you can adopt in order to improve your learning habits.
Use pegging memory techniques to help remember complex numerical patterns
A peg memory system is useful for memorizing a list of numbered items. The peg is a hook on which we hang a number. You can use any kind of peg system as long as it is easy to remember and used consistently. It’s most commonly used by magicians. An example of a simple peg system is:
|1.||(one) = sign|
|2.||(two) = guy|
|3.||(three) = knee|
|4.||(four) = door|
|5.||(five) = hive|
|6.||(six) = sticks|
|7.||(seven) = crave|
|8.||(eight) = gate|
|9.||(nine) = vine|
|10.||(nought) = wart|
Fig 1. Simple Peg System
Let’s say we want to remember a phone number: 302187. In the above system, this is “knee”, “wart”, “guy”, “sign”, “gate”, and “crave”. All you need to do now is make up a crazy, silly and exaggerated story.
For example: “I drew the number on my knee all around a wart. Next, I put some glue on it to keep it in place. Suddenly the sun came out, so I went out the gate and found myself in heaven.”
It seems like hard work to begin with (‘hey, why don’t I just write a book!’), but if you get good at this, you can end up like Derren Brown _hosting your own shows, as this is exactly the system he uses to remember entire directories. OK, maybe not!
This is simply a direct comparison between two unrelated or indirectly linked things. A common example is “Time is money”. How often have you heard that statement? I’ll bet you have heard it many times and in various contexts. By thinking about time as money, you can create some powerful images. Time wasted is money down the drain. Time well spent is an investment.
Metaphors can create strong images that can be used to great effect in everyday communications and thinking. The manager who stands up in front of his team and says, “We need to finish this work quickly”, creates considerably less impact that the manager who opens his comments using the metaphor: “As we all know, time is money.” The English language is littered with metaphors and this is testimony to the power and popularity of the language worldwide.
Here’s a quick way to separate the rapid learners from the average learners. Ask them to give you an analogy for whatever they are learning. The rapid learners probably have already thought of at least one analogy, application or metaphor. Slower learners usually are baffled by the question.
Linking ideas allows you to retain them longer and understand them better. Shakespeare isn’t the only one who should be making connections between ideas, you could too!
This is most commonly used to learn languages. Total immersion emulates the way a child learns a language. There are no vocabulary lists and no grammar explanations, you just hear and speak the language all day long. Even when you are tired, even when you are hungry, you can’t fall back on the crutch of your native language. I can admit that it sounds a bit crazy but from personal experience I can tell you that it works. I put myself voluntarily through this experience twice – once with French (when I was an intermediate learner) and once with Italian (which I had only studied for a couple of weeks before my trip). Both times I lived with a host family that I’d never met before and spent all day speaking the language. I still vividly remember the frustration of not being able to communicate my needs or socialize in a normal way for the first few days. I would collapse exhausted into my bed each night, with new words and phrases swirling around in my head.
After a couple of days, things already began to get easier. I started discerning words from the hopeless jumble of speech around me. And no sooner was I learning it than I was using it myself in a new context. I picked up the phrases and intonation real people used, not the irrelevant or overly formal material you often learn from in traditional language classes.
A good example of the effectiveness of this technique is Benny Lewis. He became fluent in eight languages in under a decade using this method. Now, his current goal is to become fluent in a new language in under 3 months.
When you’re totally immersed in a subject (or language), even if you’re lost, you’ll learn far faster than everyone who just dabbles.
As kids, we played with crayons and drew pictures of fantastic things that never existed outside our imagination. Then we stopped. What happened? Now most of us find it difficult to use our imagination.
I believe this is a main reason many people struggle with academics. They try to memorize exactly the way they were taught, instead of visualizing the material in an inventive way.
Performers amaze us with all sorts of memory feats, such as magically remembering the exact order of the 52 cards in a deck or even several decks of cards.
One might assume they have photographic memories, but this is not always the case. Most of them have average memories. And use Visualization Techniques. Learning only seems to be boring because you make it that way.
This method takes advantage of an amazing fact about human memory: most people remember images better than verbal or written information.
For example, I can easily see in my mind’s eye the homes that I have lived in during my childhood (including the interior rooms), even though I might not be able to remember all the addresses and phone numbers.
Images are concrete, while raw information is often abstract. With the V&A technique, you convert the abstract information into easy-to-remember mental pictures. These images are literally mental hooks that allow you to retrieve the information from your long-term memory.
Much like pegging, linking is another trick mental magician use. The idea is for you to form a chain, linking each item in a sequence to the next item. You form these links by imagining bizarre and surreal pictures which combine the two elements.
For a simple list like Orange-> Sugar-> Party, you would need to form a link between orange and sugar, which you could do by imagining an orange juice and how many cubes of sugar are in it. For the Sugar and party, you could imagine a child’s birthday party and how much sugar they consume.
Like pegging, this technique can go far beyond the above example. It can be used to remember lists of abstract principles that need to be memorized in a sequence for tests.
Who ever said doodling in a classroom was wrong was well… wrong!!! It turns out doodlers perform better in mental retention tests than non-doodlers. It’s a testament to how much visual aids, aid retention and memory.
Have you ever found yourself listening to something really boring, then wafting off into your own mind, your hand scribbling random things on a piece of paper in front of you? Congrats! You are a doodler.
In addition, paying continuous attention places a strain on the brain, and doodling may be just the break your brain needs to keep paying attention without losing total interest. A report on the learning styles of medical students (who generally have to absorb large amounts of information) indicated that even they may find doodling helpful, as long as they limit the time they do it. A simple 30-minute doodle helps them remember information, fills in gaps in their thinking, and provides a much-needed reprieve from the loads of information they must wade through.
Oh yes, this is a valid method of learning. But note that speed reading is less about speed, it’s more about control. Same way The Flash’s speed is more about controlling his speed than actually running fast. Interested in speed reading? These are the basics;
- Use your finger as a pointer to underline the text as you read it. This reduces the impact of distractions in slowing reading time.
- Practice reading books faster than you can comprehend, by moving your finger faster. This “practice skimming” helps you improve your comprehension at higher reading rates.
- Stop subvocalizing. Practice reading faster than you can say the words aloud in your head. Sub vocalization can help at slower speeds, but if you require it to read, your top speed will be reduced.
I’m pretty sure one of these 7 techniques will work for you and revolutionize your learning habits. Don’t let anyone discourage from your goals. You’re not dumb, you’re just learning wrong. Good luck!