Have you ever tried to improve the way you learn new things? These tips and tricks may be able to help you out.
As you’re learning a new topic, information is coded into memory as facts and details are summarized, packaged and stored by the brain. While the brain is not simply a database where information is stored in the way a computer would, there IS a structure to where and how information is stored in the brain.
When you recall information you learned before, electrical activity in the brain travels between brain cells called neurons on pathways called synapses. These pathways are coated in a substance called myelin that acts to improve the connection along that particular path.
Through this mechanism, the more you recall something the stronger the connections become along the path to that information in your brain. But not all recalling is made equal. The more you struggle to remember, the stronger that connection becomes. It’s preferable to have partially forgotten what you’ve learned and then to recall it if you’re interested in it really sticking.
The concept of delayed recall (remembering after you’ve forgotten partially) underlies learning entirely, and should be focused on as the most effective means of learning information and remembering it in the long term.
An effective approach to help with working delayed recall into your study time is to employ interleaving. Interleaving is simply switching between topics (related or unrelated) before you’ve “mastered” them, and cycling back through all the topics as you go along.
As much as you can, as you move through various topics, draw parallels and connections from new information to previous information. This helps to cement the information in your mind and also feeds your imagination, empowering you to think more creatively combining ideas from various topics into novel concepts.
Throughout this interleaving process, stop regularly to quiz yourself. Simple questions about what you just read or summarizing a paragraph in a sentence before moving on are easy, powerful methods of quizzing and keeping things fresh in your mind.
By employing this method of interleaved information consumption broken up by delayed recall in the form of regular quizzing, you can level up your learning and begin to absorb and integrate much more information!
Now get out there and learn something already 🙂