Improve Your Learning

There are lots of ways to improve your learning for school or life in general. Whether you’re a student or an individual with lots to learn for your job, you can improve your learning with just a few tricks and tips. Here are several different ways to start boosting your learning skills today:

Take care of concentration issues

One of the main ways to improve your learning is to simply learn to concentrate better. How often have you been in a lecture or a meeting and found that you missed several minutes of the conversation, even though you looked outwardly like you were paying attention? In our distracting world, it’s so easy for the mind to wander, even before you realize that you’re no longer concentrating.

However, concentration is absolutely essential for learning, whether you’re concentrating on a lecture, a podcast, your reading, or a slideshow. Here are some of the things I use to improve my concentration when I need to learn more efficiently:

  • Get your blood pumping. During a long study session, this means working in ten minutes or so for every hour of studying where you can walk around, do some jumping jacks, or just stretch. Being active boosts blood flow to the brain, which makes it easier to concentrate and can improve your learning.
  • Eat regularly. One major concentration issue can be crashing blood sugar levels. To avoid this problem, try to eat a meal or small snack every three or four hours, and avoid simple carbs like white bread and sugary snacks that cause your blood sugar to spike and then plummet shortly afterwards, leaving you feeling tired and unfocused.
  • Drink plenty of water. Being dehydrated can also make you feel unfocused, so make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day so that you can keep concentrating on what you need to learn.
  • Interact with the material. One great way to improve your learning is to take notes. Note taking can help you pass new things to memory easier because you’re engaging the information with multiple parts of your brain. Also, though, taking notes forces you to pay more attention to the lecture or slide show, so you can concentrate better and get distracted less easily.

Learn your best study skills

There are all sorts of study skills out there that might help you improve your learning, but chances are likely that they won’t all actually work for you. Instead, you might have to experiment a bit to see which study skills work best for your particular needs.

For me, studying is about taking scheduled segments of time leading up to a test to take notes, refine my notes onto notecards, and study my notecards regularly. For you, learning might be a little different. Maybe you’ll improve your learning, for instance, by recording a lecture and listening to the recording while you’re taking a walk or doing something else that’s active. It all depends on how your brain processes information best.

No matter what study skills work for you at the moment, though, you should try out different types of study skills to improve your learning. You might be surprised at which skills, or combinations of skills, will work really well for you in the long run. Plus, by learning information in different ways, you can make it more likely that the information will stick with you over time because you’ll be building connections with different parts of your brain. Studying through visualization, writing things down, and re-listening to lectures, for instance, engages several parts of your brain and may improve your learning dramatically.