Learning a new skill is never easy, and internalizing it to heart is even harder. However, it is by no means impossible. In fact, there are many well-known learning techniques students around the world use to internalize new information.
From mnemonics to memory games, these methods not only make learning and internalizing much easier, it also makes it more fun!
In case you’re curious about the methods we’re talking about, here are the 5 best methods of learning that will help you throughout your education journey!
1. Singing it out
As crazy as this sounds; jingles are addictive. We’ve all had that one earworm stuck in our heads. The songs that we can’t stop singing or humming for the life of us. In fact, you’ve probably had your fair share of moments where you end up humming that one song you hate involuntarily. Followed by a humorously deep sense of self-hatred.
Well, if earworms can make something you hate stick in your mind, imagine what it can do for learning purposes!
Make a melody or a song out of the topic you’re trying to learn, and jam along. The next time you need that piece of info, you’ll sing the jingle out like a 1980’s infomercial. Whether it is 2 weeks from now or 2 decades later.
2. Teach others about it
Have you ever wondered why some people seem to never study, but ALWAYS know the material? They don’t seem to be paying attention in class, but if you ask them a question regarding the course, they’ll answer as well as the teacher would.
Well, surprisingly enough, one of the secrets of the trade is asking and answering questions. Most of these people aren’t incredibly gifted or have genius level-IQ, they mostly learn by tutoring or answering questions by peers.
In fact, it is psychologically and scientifically proven that by teaching others, you yourself will internalize material much more quickly. This is called the Feynman Learning Technique. In essence, the better you understand something, the better you can explain it as simply to understand as possible.
So the next time you’re having problems learning a new skill, it might be a wise choice to try and teach someone else. It not only helps them improve, but also yourself. And if you don’t understand the material, go back and try to process it again, until you are able to explain it to someone in an understandable manner. To put it simply, the Feynman technique consists of 3-4 easy steps, which are…
- Choose a concept you want to learn about.
- Pretend you are teaching it to a student in grade 6.
- Identify gaps in your explanation; Go back to the source material, to better understand it.
- Review and simplify (optional)
So grab a friend and start ranting at them about the new thing you’ve recently learned. If you’re doing social distancing to the maximum, talking to a rubber ducky or a stuffed teddy bear will also work. Not as well as with an actual person, but effective nevertheless.
Related: How to go from “busy” to “productive”
3. Chew gum
Did you know it is scientifically proven that chewing gum increases your focus and improves your memory? Subjects in multiple studies have shown that chewing gum while learning something new increases their productivity level.
In some cases, people prefer to chew different flavored gums for different concepts they’re learning. Eg, chewing strawberry gum when you’re specifically learning and working on web development-related projects. Meanwhile, if you’re learning to design or edit videos and pictures, chew mint-flavored gum instead of strawberry. It really does help!
The next time you’re trying to focus on a new concept, chew your favorite gum! You’ll be surprised at how focused it makes you.
4. Use mnemonics
Mnemonic is a technique used to retain long streams of information more efficiently. Most mnemonics come in the form of wordplay, as shown in my personal example.
General mnemonics known to the public is the guitar strings EADGBE, Eddy Ate Dynamite, Good Bye Eddy. HOMES is used by schoolchildren to remember the Great Lakes; Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, and Superior.
By taking the first letters of a really long memorizing sequence and creating a funny memorable sentence with it, you’ll be able to memorize information much more effectively!
Next time you’re studying for an exam try these 5 methods of learning to help you focus and retain information like a pro!