Five tips to learn complex concepts

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Can you learn faster, better, easier? Learning shouldn’t be so difficult. Here’s how to lớn maximize your learning with my 15 best tips.

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In this article, I’m going khổng lồ show you the best tips so you can learn ANYTHING more effectively.

Let’s kick it off with the surprising benefits of learning:

Why Should I Become a Lifelong Learner?

We started learning the moment we were born.

But some people stop actively learning after school. Here’s one question I have for you:

What are YOU actively learning now?

Actively learning something in your field or a new hobby is critical for your growth.

Here are just a few benefits of learning, backed by science:

And perhaps one of my favorite benefits is:

Learning is one of the fastest ways lớn build confidence.

If you ever have a case of imposter syndrome, learning is one of the best ways to combat it.

And because I’ve felt awkward and lượt thích an imposter most of my life, I’ve devoted myself to learning new things all the time lớn develop the confidence I need.


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15 Tips to Learn How lớn Learn

Does this sound like you?


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I used to lớn be a learning procrastinator… until I learned how to optimize learning.

Here are my 15 best tips khổng lồ help you learn:

The Memory Palace Technique

Imagine your home.

You likely can remember most big details about your house, right?

This is where the memory palace technique comes in.


What is the memory palace technique?

A memory palace is a learning technique where you picture a familiar location và place mental “objects” in it. The memory palace technique takes advantage of your spatial memory khổng lồ assist in learning and help you memorize different concepts.


Here’s how to build a memory palace, courtesy of Art of Memory:

Step 1: For your first memory palace, try choosing a place that you know well. I like to use my home, as an example.Step 2: Plan out the whole route. Imagine yourself walking in the front yard, going through the front door, entering the living room, và traversing all the major rooms in your home. Some people find that going clockwise is helpful, but it isn’t necessary. Eventually, you will have many memory palaces. You will also be able lớn revise the memory palace after you test it a few times, so don’t worry if it’s not perfect on the first try.Step 3: Now take a list of something that you want to memorize, lượt thích a shopping danh mục of 20 different items—carrots, bread, milk, tea, oats, apples, etc.Step 4: Take one or two items at a time & place a mental image of them in each locus of your memory palace. Try lớn exaggerate the images of the items and have them interact with the location. For example, if the first thắng lợi is “carrots” và the first locus in your memory palace is the front door, picture some giant carrots opening up your front door.

Once you’ve got that down, you can tie your image to lớn a particular thing you’ve learned. For example, to open the front door, perhaps the carrot has to đầu vào a math equation in the door lock.

To dive deeper into memory palaces, here’s a great đoạn phim resource:


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Become a cảnh báo Taker

If you’re used khổng lồ typing everything you learn, you might be better off doing it the old-fashioned way: with paper & pen.

That’s because typing doesn’t actually help us learn much.

A 2021 study put handwriting & typing to the test:

Researchers asked students lớn first write & then type notes from a biology textbook.The researchers then compared the handwritten notes và the typed notes.The results? Researchers found that students, while typing, seemed khổng lồ be cognitively overloaded. In other words, they typed the notes on their computers, but that information didn’t “stick” as well as handwritten notes. The students also showed less knowledge, accuracy of terminology, và ability to interconnect ideas when typing notes.

Yikes!

When it comes khổng lồ learning, the pen is mightier than the keyboard.

Pro Tip: Write everywhere! Write on sticky notes, write in your journal, write on a whiteboard. I even write everywhere in the books I’m reading.

And if you’re not reading physical books, kiểm tra out this next tip.

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Ditch the Digital

Speaking of handwritten notes, learning from physical books might be better than from a screen.

Not only do 90% of university students prefer print over digital, a psychology lecturer found that students required more repetitions when learning from a screen than from physical books.

The physical sensation of holding books & turning the pages gives us extra sensory đầu vào compared khổng lồ a digital device, and this helps us retain more info.

So science tells us there’s still use for print books—especially lớn help us learn better.

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The Interleaving Effect

Are you into language learning?

According lớn LingQ, achieving basic fluency in a language would take roughly 480 hours, or 720 hours for more difficult languages.

To help with language learning, I interviewed the amazing Steve Kaufmann, co-founder of LingQ và polyglot of over đôi mươi languages! Watch our interview on learning below:


In the video, Kaufman talks about the interleaving effect. Interleaving is a learning technique of learning several related topics together.

For example, a person learning how khổng lồ swim might intermix learning freestyle, the breast stroke, and how lớn float. A typical interleaving pattern would look like this:

Learn topic A —> Learn topic B —> Learn topic C —> Learn topic A —> Learn topic B…

Interleaving works—perhaps better than learning just one topic at a time.

Of course, researchers tested it out—in actual classrooms. They studied students in one classroom who interleaved both algebra và geometry, with their weekly homework assignments containing a mix of both types of questions.

The result? After a month, they performed 76% better than with the normal approach.

Interleaving is a great way to lớn spice things up while also boosting your learning. Here are just a few ideas you can implement:

Learning lớn code? Learn not only CSS, but also HTML và JavaScript.Learning to draw? Swap between human anatomy, shading, and colors.

Here’s a great đoạn clip that explains interleaving:


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Give Your Brain a Break

Are you stressed? Amped up? Feeling rushed? It is incredibly hard to lớn learn anything when you are in that head space.

Stress is literally anti-learning.

Imagine trying lớn intake information when you’re amped up, angry, or stuck in a negative thought loop. Yikes!

A năm 2016 study shows evidence that bức xúc impairs memory retrieval and causes us khổng lồ revert to lớn “rigid, ‘habit’-like behaviour.”

So before learning, try to give your brain a restorative break:

Oil it up. I love using essential oils. The scents are great, but I love putting on a peppermint scent, as it primes my brain lớn turn on “learning mode” & gets me in a relaxed mood.

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Test Yourself

Remember those long, sleepless nights reviewing notes before a test?

Well, it turns out testing actually works. Research shows that students who studied & were then tested had greater long-term recall of what they learned than students who did not test.

And the best way khổng lồ prepare for a test?

Spaced-repetition learning.

Spaced repetition is a system of learning that uses scheduled, repeated review of the information khổng lồ be memorized.

It helps because we tend to lớn forget 20% of what we learn after 24 hours, unless we review what we learned. Take a look at the following graph lớn see how spaced repetition works:


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Source

As you can see, if we don’t chạy thử or reviews what we’ve learned, we’ll only retain 60% after 3 days. However, if we just review once, we’ll retain that information much longer but still retain only 60% after 7 days.

With each added review, we increase memory retention, which means we can keep retention at the highest level, even though we schedule longer & longer intervals between reviews. Và that’s the beauty of spaced repetition.

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Eventually, after a number of reviews, we may only need to đánh giá our materials learned weeks or even months later.

So how exactly do you đánh giá or test yourself?

I personally love lớn use the app Anki. I can input đầu vào my flashcards and have regularly mix intervals for reviewing anything I learn.

For a more in-depth look at spaced repetition, kiểm tra out this guide here.

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Take a Nap

We all know we perform better on a good night’s sleep.

But if you’re running on fumes, research shows that “even a short sleep lasting 45 khổng lồ 60 minutes produces a five-fold improvement in information retrieval from memory.”

Author Daniel Pink explains in his book, When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, that a power nap resets our brain. Our brain glitches as the day goes on, and a power nguồn nap helps smooth out these glitches so we can function better.

He also recommends a caffeine-nap hack—drink a cup of coffee, then take a nguồn nap for 25 minutes (the amount of time it takes for the caffeine khổng lồ kick in); however, I feel the best length for a power nguồn nap depends on each person!

Try napping lớn find your optimal nguồn nap length.

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Own Your Environment

Believe it or not, your environment changes how you learn.

For example, imagine yourself in these types of environments:

a quiet library roomoutside in a parkin a noisy cafeyour own workstation at home

I like a consistent environment where I can sit down and work without distractions. Others might prefer the more vibrant environment of a busy cafe.

Your chair is also an important environmental factor—if you’re working remotely, then you’ll likely be at your chair for hours và hours every day. The proper seat can keep you motivated lớn learn longer rather than complain about the back pain!

Do some research on the best ergonomic chairs, & your back (and learning capacity) will improve!

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Explain like I’m Five

Physicist Robert Feynman created an organization-based learning method by writing on the title page of an empty notebook.

From there, Feynman was able lớn break down extremely complicated ideas into really simple ones.

How?

He used what I điện thoại tư vấn the “Explain like I’m Five” technique. Here’s how it goes:

Take a difficult-to-learn concept. For this example, let’s go with a bonsai tree.Try breaking down the concepts lượt thích you’re explaining it to lớn a five-year-old. You can use analogies, which is what the Feynman method is perfect for. In our case, we can go with something like: “Bonsai trees are just lượt thích a big tree but smaller.”

This is super simplified, but breaking down difficult concepts into many smaller ones can help you see how the pieces fit together.

If you’re having trouble visualizing a concept, it might help to lớn try writing it down using this technique as well!

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Learn by Heart

Are you big on exercise?

If so, you might be a more effective learner.

Studies point out that increased heartbeat through exercise can lead lớn increased learning ability. This is because during the learning process, new neurons are activated. & exercise helps these new neurons survive.

So in your miễn phí time, why not go for a run, hit the weights, or vày some bodyweight exercise?

You can also try a standing desk if you’re learning at your desk, or hop on a walking treadmill to keep your heart rate up.

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Find Your Optimum Noise

What’s your favorite learning noise?

Some people love khổng lồ listen khổng lồ music. Others lượt thích it completely silent.

If you’ve got construction workers banging outside your front door, or you’re used to lớn blasting loud ’70s hair metal while you learn, you might be doing it wrong.

Some studies suggest that music affects memory negatively và silence helps people memorize the best, while other studies show that certain music, such as classical, can boost memory performance.

So who vày we listen to?

Your optimum noise level likely depends on your personality type, so experiment with yourself khổng lồ find out if you’re either a noise- or silence-loving learner.

I love classical for learning và deep work, but my husband loves techno. Find your music flavor.

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Set Up Learning Stations

Most people tend to learn in one place, usually their desk.

But it may be better to change up your environment, using what I gọi “learning stations.”

For example, I’ve got my main learning station at my computer desk. Then there’s the learning station on the sofa, at my favorite local coffee shop, the public library, out on the patio, in my favorite park, etc.

Having multiple learning stations works because of a phenomenon called context dependent memory. Researchers from the University of Wisconsin found that our brains associate our environment with what we’re learning at the time.

This means the more different environments you can learn in, the more associations your brain makes.

It’s a win-win!

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Lights, Color, Clutter!

Make sure your environment is phối up for ideal learning conditions.

This includes the right lighting, colors, and orderliness:

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Learn Stacking

Learn stacking is taking what you already know & learning about similar topics.

For example, if you’re learning about cabinet making, you might also want to lớn learn about the types of paints that are used lớn paint cabinets, the types of trees cabinets are made from, the various types of cabinets commonly used throughout the world, etc.

Learn stacking is about building relational knowledge. Expanding your knowledge will help you “connect” what you’re learning better and better integrate it into long-term memory.

I lượt thích to think of learn stacking as being similar lớn cup stacking.

The more you learn about relational subjects, the taller your stack will be, và the stronger the foundation.

To gain even more knowledge, you might want khổng lồ try tốc độ reading. Speed reading is the skill of reading faster by scanning, while also absorbing what we read. Learn to speed read in our guide here: How to lớn Speed Read: 4 Strategies khổng lồ Learn to Read Faster

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Be The Guru

If you can teach someone what you learn, great!

But if not, research shows that even expecting lớn teach someone boosts learning capabilities.

This is because our mindset shifts lớn learn more effectively than someone who, say, learns to just pass a test.

Here are some ideas to become an expert at what you’re learning:

Teach a friend. Have someone you can chia sẻ anything with? A friend, family member, or even your dog? nói qua with them what you’re learning!

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Learning = The Remedy lớn Overthinking?

I’m a chronic overthinker—I constantly worry, overplan, & don’t take action.

But I found one fascinating phenomenon:

When you learn a new language, you have fewer words lớn use.

This means you literally CAN’T overthink. At least, not as much as you would in your native language.

This doesn’t only work for language learning, either.

Learning ANYTHING can help with overthinking.

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Do We Learn Differently?

I get this question a lot: Are there different learning styles?

Essentially, some people believe people are born with natural tendencies to lớn learn better through visual, audio, or tactile experiences.

But in fact, research shows the opposite—students who answered a questionnaire to lớn determine their preferred learning style và altered their studying habits khổng lồ reflect it showed no remarkable improvement.

So, there you have it!

I hope you learned a lot in this article, và that I’ve inspired you lớn continue your lifelong learning journey.

Now, here’s a bonus tip for you! You’ve heard of a bucket list, but bởi you have a learning bucket list? People who make bucket lists are more likely lớn achieve their goals. So let’s get to lớn creating! Head on over lớn our article khổng lồ make your own! How to lớn Make a Learning Bucket List