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Learning How to Learn

26 Aug

Whenever we get any new topic that has a test or some kind of compulsory feedback attached to it, we tend to panic. The reason for this panic reaction is that, as we age, our ability to grasp new subject or retain new thoughts reduces. Not just that, but our minds are also fatigued and attention span has drastically reduced due to the arrival and onslaught of smartphones.

In such a situation, a course like this comes as a breather and re-affirms the belief that we can still learn by using certain mental tools and techniques. The course is vast, but I shall try to elucidate a few of the topics discussed, which I sincerely believe that you would find use for it.

Topic A: Focussed and diffuse modes of thinking

Focussed mode of thinking is used when we are doing a task that requires our total attention, like solving a critical problem. We know what exactly is to be done, so we put all our energy into it, without getting distracted.
But what if the problem is of a different nature and not similar to what has been resolved earlier. Here, the diffuse mode comes into picture, whereby we relax and think about it.  We usually take a break by going for a coffee or on a long walk, take ourselves away from the problem in hand. And suddenly when we get back to our desk, we find that the solution has just occurred to us. Thats the diffuse mode of thinking.

Topic B: Visualization in learning

This is a powerful tool which helps us in recalling certain events or historical data/facts. We try to weave an imaginary chain of events which will help us remember things better. I usually forget to fill up the gas tank of the car, and this has led to terrible situations of getting stranded on express ways. So, whenever I enter the car, I just imagine a genie perched on the fuel meter , dancing around and teasing me that the fuel is “low” and I would be in problem. This immediately draws my attention to the fuel guage. As simple as that.

Topic C: Interleaving

Studying a new subject in one go and cramming ourselves isn’t the best solution for learning. By doing this, we may complete the syllabus but the understanding remains zero. So, what we ought to do is, learn a little everyday. Build up the infomration brick by brick and erect that wall of knowledge. And every few days, revisit the topics that were covered. This enables the short term memory to get converted to long term memory, by constant revision.

With these techniques, I feel much more confident of learning something new,

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Posted by on August 26, 2014 in general

 

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