Because learning, especially when you're not a child anymore, is not such an easy task. Where do you start? How do you get organized? Do I have to write everything down and learn by heart? Will a rereading of my notes be enough to remember everything ?
We all ask ourselves these questions when we are faced with a new learning experience, whether it is a new language, a return to school or training on the Internet.
Is there an infallible technique to learn effectively and quickly ?
Yes, I think.
However, this technique is not universal, but specific to each person. You must therefore find your way of learning, your strategy for successful learning. And for this I will give you some advice to learn how to learn well.
#What does "learn" mean ?
Etymologically, learning comes from the Latin "apprehendere" which means "to grasp by the mind".
Roughly this suggests that there is an object external to oneself, an object of knowledge, which one would tame and absorb within oneself.
Learning is therefore an action, not a passive thing. According to J. Siaud - Facchin, learning would be an "active intellectual approach to new knowledge".
#How does learning work ?
In order for learning to "get going" and be successful, these three elements must confront each other :
These are the "cognitive" elements.
But that's not enough. To conquer new knowledge, other elements come into play.
#What are the tips for learning how to learn ?
➡️ A good understanding :
Yes, it seems obvious to you like that, but it's true. To reach your goal, you have to grasp it, understand what it will involve, visualize the path to be taken and the road already travelled.
You need to understand what you're learning.
For example, if you take French courses, each lesson is very important. And if, during a lesson, you don't understand a point. It remains unclear because you don't ask for clarification.
As a result, you have not grasped the lesson. Often, what the teacher wants you to learn in each lesson will serve you well in the next lesson. If you miss a rung on the ladder, you will not made it to the top of the ladder.
A good understanding of each course, lesson, point is very important for you to succeed in your learning. Do not underestimate this element.
➡️ Repetition :
Did you know that in 9 hours, we forget more than 60% of what we learned during the day ? This figure is unbelievable and could discourage anyone.
The trick to not forgetting everything you've just learned? Repetition.
I need you to repeat what you've just learned as much as possible. It's not enough to spend a day repeating it and then stop. The rehearsal must be done in time. You must reuse what you have learned.
Usually a good teacher does it automatically, but if you are self-taught, you should also think about it.
Good tools for rehearsal practice ?
Flashcards : these are cards with usually a question on the front and the answer on the back. Simple, but effective. It is a perfect tool to work on spaced repetition and to memorize on the long term.
The mindmap or mental map : it's a creative technique that stimulates logic in order to map a reflection on a theme and facilitate its memorization.
The lapbook : this is a creative book around a theme that brings together data in the form of images, drawings, tables or writings. This tool allows you to summarize a notion in order to memorize it easily.
Sketching : this is a method of note-taking using visual tools such as typography, colours, drawings, bullets or banners.
➡️ Motivation :
That, in my opinion, is the most important point. Motivation is THE engine of learning.
Imagine a squirrel that has to reach the top of a tree where its nest is located. To reach the top of the tree - his goal - the squirrel needs food to give him the strength to climb all those branches. The rodent will therefore feed on acorns which will help it reach each branch of the tree until it reaches its nest. Some branches will be harder to reach than others, so the squirrel will have to eat more acorns to give itself more strength.
The squirrel is your apprenticeship.
Acorns are your motivation.
You have understood it by this pretty analogy: you must nourish your learning with motivation. Learning something when you don't want to, it's useless. You won't retain anything and have an unpleasant experience.
Motivation awakens all your senses and makes you focus on your goal and what you need to do to reach it.
➡️ The callback method :
The callback method is very simple. It is a moment of recapitulation at the end of your lesson, course or training.
For example, you've just taken an hour's class, your head is full and you don't know if you're going to be able to remember everything you've just seen.
So, take 5 minutes, take a deep breath and write down everything you've just seen, at least a synthesis, a summary of the course. In general, what will immediately come out are the things that we understood and that impressed us.
However, you may find that you don't quite understand a point because you can't explain it in writing. It is therefore a good idea to ask your teacher for clarification at the next class.
This method is very interesting and allows you to see what you master and what you don't master. It also makes it possible to put everything you have just learned into perspective and to give a break to your brain which is sometimes saturated with the multiple information you have learned.
➡️ The confidence :
Your only obstacle is yourself. Most people don't succeed in what they undertake because of a lack of self-confidence.
We also talk about the impostor syndrome, a syndrome that leads a person to have sickly doubts about his or her own personal accomplishments. They are unable to see the work accomplished so far and will attribute the merit to an external element (luck, the professor, colleagues,...).
The last thing you should do is fall into this syndrome or doubt yourself.
You're going to say, "Yes, it's easy to say that, to gain self-confidence, but it's much harder to apply". That's true! Few people have self-confidence.
You want my trick for trusting me? I'm faking it. Yes, I'm pretending to trust myself.
When I have a goal, I believe in it completely and nothing can stop me except the trust I place in myself.
So I tried the technique of pretending to believe in myself. That is, even if I have to do something that terrifies me, that stresses me out, I don't show anything and I keep repeating in my head that "I'm going to make it". I silence that damned little voice telling me that I am not going to succeed and I rush in despite the fear that gnaws at my stomach.
It's also said that pretending to be confident can make you feel really confident. We'll see. I'll keep you posted. 😉
➡️ The action :
And yes! To find out if you've learned all the lessons of your course, what better way to find out than to take action! One day you have to put into practice what you've learned.
And in general, theory often differs from practice, but it brings you the baggage so that you always get out of it. Especially since taking action will also make you work on stress management.
Let's take the example if you're learning French. You are very good at having a clear and understandable conversation with your teacher, because you know him or her well now. There is a climate of trust and security.
So if you find yourself in front of a French-speaking person, if you buy a bus ticket at a ticket office, for example, your words won't come out as naturally.
Whose fault is that ? Stress.
How can we avoid this ? Take action as much as possible. Practice makes perfect, as the saying goes.
By taking initiative, by challenging yourself, you will see the stress eventually disappear, because it will become a habit. And what gratitude, what pride to overcome your fears and act.
I hope this article will help you to fully accomplish your ongoing learning. Feel free to share your own tips with us as a commentary.
See you soon for new adventures, in French of course ! 🇫🇷
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