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How to Learn Smart and Become a Quick Learner
Do you find you’re envious of people who are able to learn quickly? They seem to get a concept straight away while you’re still trying to get your head around it. We often form the belief that these quick learners are just more intelligent – that their brains are wired to understand and pick up complicated formulas, strategies and concepts more easily.
However, while everyone is different when it comes to learning, being smart has nothing to do with being a quick learner but rather it’s about adopting different learning strategies in order to allow the brain to figure it out more easily.
There are certain tactics to allow you to become a quick learner and proves that intelligence really has nothing to do with it. By learning these strategies, you can quicken up your understanding of a topic and apply it to pretty much anything you learn.
Adopt These Learning Styles and You Can Become a Quick Learner Too
Learning quickly is all about retaining information more efficiently and enjoying the learning process. Since this is the case, almost anyone is able to become a quick learner so here are 5 concepts you can try out.
When we’re very young we learn through creation – drawing, painting, using vivid colours and visualisation which all fundamentally stems from our imagination. Once we enter our older years at school, we’re encouraged to forget all this and our brains turn to memorisation instead.
But, of course, this doesn’t suit everyone and it’s often the reason why many people struggle academically which plants the notion that we’re just not that smart compared to others.
Connecting concepts with visual creation is a really good way for our brain to understand better. Don’t be afraid to create colourful pictures and diagrams in order to get your head around something difficult and mundane. Not only does this help with the learning process and connecting the dots, but it also excites the brain and keeps it motivated.
The brain remembers things better when you compare an idea or concept with something else. This is where metaphors are a good way of understanding and cementing information. Using one concept to illustrate another will, again, help your brain connect the dots – in other words, it’s about capturing the essential nature of a concept to explain the abstract.
Comparing radio waves to ripples on a water surface or electricity flowing to water moving through a pipe, for example, allows the light bulb to go off in our mind as our brain happily likes applying known concepts to new.
If you’ve seen those people who can memorise a whole deck of cards in a random order then you’ll be pleased to know it’s not because they’re much smarter than others. They are using a technique called linking.
Linking is, again, using that imagination of ours. This time it’s using story-telling to link one thing to another to create a flow. If you wanted to memorise a grocery list – oranges, milk, bananas, honey – you could imagine an orange man (oranges) bringing a cow (milk) to a monkey (bananas) who got stung by a bee (honey). The beauty of this technique is that it can help you remember anything from extremely long lists to difficult abstract concepts. The more bizarre, the better.
You’ve probably heard this technique when it comes to learning a new language fast. The idea is to completely surround yourself with what you need to learn in order to force your brain to use it and make sense of it.
If you stay in a new country where they just don’t speak your language, then you have to adapt in order to survive. This survival mode and constant repetition quickens up the learning process ten fold because your brain is in constant learning mode.
The Five-Year Old Method
This is an excellent way to find out how well you understand a new concept. Imagine having to explain this new concept to a child or at least, someone who has no idea what you’re talking about! It’s all about being able to simplify what you learn by reducing the complexity and using analogies. So once you’ve been introduced to a new piece of information ask yourself how you’d explain this to someone else. Can you do it?
If you can, you know you’ve mastered it so make sure you stop once in a while and just explain it to yourself in a simple way to confirm that you’ve got it. Most of the time it’s difficult to learn quickly because we haven’t made sure we’ve understood all the concepts along the way. This technique will eliminate this.
So go ahead and give these concepts a try. If you’re struggling to learn something, take heart that everyone has their own style of learning. Don’t be afraid to go back to your childhood roots and unlock that imagination – it will go a long way in helping you learn more quickly.
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