Let me guess. You are here because you have something that you absolutely, unequivocally have to learn, but you’re having trouble accomplishing the actual learning part. Never fear! It’s more common than you might think. Studying can be a real chore, even if you choose a subject which you are passionate about. Over time, all successful learners will develop their own strategies for absorbing knowledge. This blog post will give you four easy strategies on how to get that annoying and possibly nightmare-inducing information into your brain, whether it wants to go in or not.
Drastic Measures – the strategy for desperate people – My personal favourite strategy is the blinkers approach. This is a kind of solemn undertaking, suitable for intensive studying for a few hours. The rules are simple. The moment you pick up the book that you need to read, or the paper that you need to write, you are not allowed to look up from your task until you are done. You can eat and go to the toilet if you can do it without looking up from your work, and you can even fall asleep, but you’re not allowed to look up from the work or look at anything else until you are done.
Serious Learning – the strategy for workers – One of the most common problems that learners have is that the learning doesn’t feel serious enough. Workplace training, for example, is often given furtively, in the ten minutes before lunchtime, as if it was something embarrassing to do. This is long enough to learn the difference between mackerel tabby and spotted tabby cats, but not long enough learn more complicated concepts and theories. Set aside some time in the day, print off or buy copies of your learning resources (don’t just read off the screen), and make notes as you go through. Treat your learning with the respect you would give to a day-job.
Make it Yours – the strategy for passionate people – A key strategy which is used in schools is to relate the lesson to things which young learners actually care about. That’s why there are maths problems about fictional characters and English assignments based on hobbies and personal interests. Learning is much easier if you can relate the topic to something you actually care about. Come up with your own examples as you learn and think through how the ideas you meet might work in practice. It sounds vague, but it works!
The Carrot – the strategy for pleasure-seekers – A final strategy is to focus on your own enjoyment while learning. People are generally more motivated to do things which they have found pleasurable in the past. If the thing you are learning about is not fun, you need to do something sneaky. Add rewards for learning. That might be a chocolate for every question you answer, or every page you read, or a trip to the seaside when you’ve completed the whole assignment. If you don’t treat yourself for the work you may find you are subconsciously less motivated next time.
Learning is easier with a tutor. At ADL we deliver distance learning in a variety of topics in an online classroom with unlimited tutor support. Give it a try!