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Learning Strategies

By Steve Gillman

A few basic learning strategies can help you in your carreer or business. They also can make you the person who always has something interesting to say. You CAN learn more efficiently. Just use a few of the following techniques until they become habit.

Create Anticipation and Curiosity

You learn more effectively with curiosity and anticipation working for you, but how do you create this state of mind? One way is to end each learning session with a question or two clearly in your mind. This creates the sense of anticipation and curiosity that will help you next time you study. It's like a TV show going to a commercial at an interesting moment in the program. You want to stay tuned, to see what happens next.

Prepare To Learn

When you want to learn new material, expose your mind to it as soon as possible, before you even feel "ready," or have time to study. The first stage of learning is the part where you look at new ideas and say, "huh?" Do this quickly, however, reviewing everything for a few minutes, and your unconscious mind will start "incubating" the new concepts, and finding some way to organize them.

Relate What You Know To The New Knowledge

When you sit down to study new material, relate it to what you already know. Compare and contrast things, saying to yourself, "That's like...," or "How is that different from..." Autoresponders were new to me when I started my newsletters, but the concept sunk in and motivated me when I thought, "It's like someone doing all my addressing and mailing for pennies a day." This prompted the important questions, and I was ready to learn.

Use Your Imagination

Changing your perspective is one of the great learning strategies. For example, study with the idea in mind that you will be teaching what you're learning. As you study something, imagine how you'll teach it. This is a powerful way to get a good grasp on new information.

Also imagine how you'll use what you are learning. There's so much information, and so little of it is the truly "important stuff." But by imagining how you'll use the new information, you tend to automatically focus on the things you really need to know.

Take Breaks

You can learn more by working less. The research shows that we remember best what we study first and last in a given session. So, by taking breaks, you create more "sessions," and increase the number of firsts and lasts. Move around during your breaks, as this can also keep your mind fresh.

Finding Time

What if it took no extra time to learn a new language, take a negotiating course, or study something new and interesting? Start using the dead-time in your day, the time sitting in your car, or on the bus, or in a waiting room. Almost any public library has hundreds of books on tape, and you can even instantly download books on the internet.

This is one of the most under-utilised and easiest learning strategies. If your job is 25 minutes away you spend 200 hours per year sitting in your car going to or from work. Could you learn something useful if you had four hours per week of audio instruction for a year? The only extra time it takes is a few minutes to stop by the library.

Of course, almost nothing works just by reading it. Why not scan the list above and start using one or two of these learning startegies ?

About The Author
Steve Gillman has been studying brainpower enhancement, creative problem solving, and related topics for years.


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