How to boost learn­ing

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - HIGHER EDUCATION - By EllEn WhytE

WHEN you’re study­ing, should you lock yourself in your room and stay there por­ing over your text­book un­til you’ve mas­tered your sub­ject?

To­day, there are some re­searchers who think that this may not be the most ef­fi­cient way to go about learn­ing.

Stud­ies sug­gest that mem­ory is boosted by change. As such, mak­ing care­ful changes while you are learn­ing may help you be­come more ef­fi­cient.

A sim­ple change of lo­ca­tion can help give the im­pres­sion of a rest break. For ex­am­ple, if you have sta­tis­tics and his­tory home­work, you might do your sta­tis­tics at your desk and then move to the li­brary to do your his­tory. The change of lo­ca­tion is stim­u­lat­ing, giv­ing you a lit­tle boost for that sec­ond ses­sion.

Sim­i­larly, stick­ing to one sub­ject can be vi­tal for mas­ter­ing some­thing com­plex but if you can split your work up into smaller learn­ing ob­jec­tives, jug­gling them about gives your mind a lit­tle respite – a break that acts as an en­ergy boost.

For this, you need to know your per­sonal study style. For ex­am­ple, some people study best in 40-minute blocks while oth­ers are bet­ter with 90 min­utes. Fig­ure out what suits you, and set your alarm so you stick to your sched­ule.

If you can, switch to a re­lated topic at the end of the time, so that you get the added ad­van­tage of a gen­eral over­view of your sub­ject.

For ex­am­ple, if you have physics and his­tory home­work, see if you can study New­ton’s the­o­ries and then fol­low up with look­ing at events around 1700.

If you’re into com­plex sub­jects, you may want to de­vote a day to a par­tic­u­lar sub­ject: like Mon­day is for Kant on ethics while Tues­day is de­voted to the laws of ge­netic in­her­i­tance.

For this to be most ef­fi­cient, re­late it to your en­ergy pat­tern over the week. That way, you won’t be strug­gling with some­thing com­plex on your worst day.

Some re­searchers be­lieve that mak­ing care­ful changes while you are learn­ing may help you be­come more ef­fi­cient. — AFP

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