FutureHealth is a Health Education company. That means we want you to learn about your health and wellness. A fundamental factor in the our succeeding in this mision is helping you understand learning itself.
The attitude with which we approach a study session plays a large role in determining how much we get out of it. Ideally we want to attain pleasure, a powerful reward, when learning. This will maximize your ability to stay positive and consistent in your studying.
We should ask ourselves:
“Why am I learning this Information?”
“Why is this important to me?”
“How will this help me grow as a person?”
Questions like these will help us identify our purpose for studying, and may lead us to find that much needed motivation. A positive attitude is difficult to maintain, especially over long periods of time. It helps if we keep reminding ourselves of our goals and clarify why we are learning.
People often overlook the importance of their location and surroundings when studying. An ideal environment will vary greatly by person, however, scientists have identified certain environments to avoid.
Researchers at Princeton University Neuroscience Institute published the results of a study in the Journal of Neuroscience identifying clutter as inhibitory to learning.
Clutter provides the brain with unnecessary stimulation which limits our ability to focus and process information. Find a clean, clutter free space to study that isn’t overly stimulating.
Research suggests that studying for targeted, focused, bouts of 15 - 45 minutes repetitively over long periods is the most effective way to learn and retain information. Anyone who has crammed for a test knows that immediately after the test, our brain dumps the information. Learn gradually and retain the information longer.
Mixing in different topics during a study session also has been identified as a key element to retaining information. Researchers found that studying the same thing back to back was less effective compared with studying that thing followed by something else. Frequent changes in demands on the brain stimulate learning by requiring the student to initiate a new train of thought and maneuver to solve new problems using fresh ideas while connecting varying topics.
Experts recommend incorporating active learning. Anytime we can find a practical way to apply what we are learning to things in our lives, we should do so. The practical application of knowledge solidifies information and provides an overall better understanding of topics.
Most people hate testing. What researchers and educators know, however, is that testing is not solely an evaluation tool but also a very effective learning tool. Preparing for tests and scrounging your brain for that information while taking an exam commits that information to your long-term memory.
Testing ourselves constantly while studying and picking our brains for the correct answer without referring to our notes, also helps. Have your friend choose a topic and, from memory, do your best to explain to them everything you know regarding that topic. Only use notes as a last resort.