In any training there is a three-stage process:
At the first stage of “understanding” we need to understand the essence of the subject being studied, to understand well how everything is arranged and how it can be applied. At the second stage, we try our knowledge in practice, get the result and try it again. At the third stage, our task is to transfer the experience we have gained into the sphere of unconscious competence. At this stage, we consolidate this scheme, and new knowledge becomes skills that work for us automatically.
How to effectively pass all 3 stages of training?
The first stage of training is “understanding”.
To learn more effectively, you need to know how our thinking works. Imagine that our head is an incredibly powerful computer with different programs. Moreover, all programs and properties of this computer may be different, but the basic functions are the same. So, what are the basic functions inherent in our thinking?
1) Motivation. (technique “Carrot back, carrot front”)
We will not learn, or we will not learn carefully if we are not motivated enough. Therefore, before you start learning something, you have to answer yourself the question: “Why is it so important for me? Then, you have to scare yourself a bit and think of a fine for yourself. What happens if you don’t do it (“backside carrot”)? It is desirable that your obligations are controlled by someone. And then the prize (“carrot in the front”)… decide what you will give yourself after training.
2) Two types of thinking…
There are two types of thinking: focused and diffuse. The first is a focus on new information. Focused thinking uses the left hemisphere of the brain to explore new information in detail. When one realizes this new information, one’s attention can only hold 7 ± 2 units of information (Miller’s law), not more. And diffuse thinking is associative thinking, when new information is released and combined in our consciousness with a huge flow of new associations. In order to assimilate new information, our brain automatically looks for comparisons and a series of associations that we already have and that help us better understand everything new. Therefore, in order to learn more effectively, it is necessary every 15-25 minutes from the focused attention to the subject being studied, to move on to distracted attention. What does it give us? Imagine that focused thinking is a narrow corridor with 5-7 doors. And diffuse thinking is a huge corridor with an unlimited number of doors. It’s in distracted attention that your brain finds the necessary associations to better assimilate knowledge and new ideas that indicate how to apply them better… I think you now understand the famous quote from Albert Einstein: “Why do all the best ideas come to me when I wash myself in the shower?”
Let’s say you need to learn the word “TV and radio company.” The easiest way to do it is to divide it into parts: “body,” “radio,” “company.” It’s the same for any new knowledge.
For example, if you need to learn English, you divide this difficult task into many simple ones. That is, first your goal may be to learn 300 words, then 1000 and so on until you reach an advanced level of English. “Split an elephant into pieces before you eat” is a principle with which you can easily and comfortably learn new skills.
4) Focus (Tomato Technique)
Focus is an important element in learning new knowledge. But today the skill of concentration is given very, very difficult. Modern man lives in a mode of constant switching of attention. This is influenced by television, social networks and all kinds of advertising. Attention is constantly switched by some external factors and it is very difficult to concentrate. When we learn something new in our brain, new neural connections are formed. And the more focused we are, the more effective is the consolidation of new knowledge. When the focus is weak, knowledge enters one ear and leaves the other.
To regain our ability to concentrate, there is one simple “tomato” technique (author of the technique Francesco Cirillo). It allows us to be at maximum efficiency, without overloading ourselves. How does it work? Choose a subject and disconnect all external sources that might distract you. Then take a timer, put it on for 25 minutes and immerse yourself in the subject you are studying. After you have “grabbed” the subject, relax for 5 minutes and take your mind off the subject of study (moving into diffuse thinking). In these 5 minutes you can reward yourself with something pleasant, it may cement the association of pleasure with focused learning.
5) Transfer to long-term memory
After acquaintance with the subject under study, it is necessary to translate all that we have learned from short-term memory into long-term memory. How? It is very useful to outline and record your understanding of the studied material in addition to focusing. It is our own (this is how we give freedom to our own associations). Then it is useful to share this knowledge with someone, that is, tell them what you have understood and learned. Therefore, group learning is the most effective way to learn. When we discuss the material we have learned with the group, our consciousness becomes distracted, and again, we find many necessary associations and ideas.
The second stage of training is “application”.
At this stage it is necessary to apply the knowledge learned in practice, otherwise learning is useless. What is the best way to do this?
1) Intellectual way of application
There are three options: repeat the basic ideas by ear (without looking at the text); make a plan to put them into practice and tell someone your understanding. When you tell information about the subject you have studied, the story itself will already be an intellectual application.
2) Physical application
First, it is necessary to fragment the application of knowledge in practice into “bits and pieces”. After splitting, you train each element individually, and at the end of the training you put everything into one matrix. For example, if you have to learn how to drive a car, you begin to learn how to drive in pieces after learning the theory. First you learn to move, then you learn to change speed, etc. And at the end of the training you have all the theoretical and practical experience in a single picture, a new skill. In addition to fragmentation, the question of regularity is very important. If you have started to learn something, then spend time on it regularly. To create a new strong neural structure in the brain (embed and fix), our body needs a little bit, but regularly get new information that you want to learn.
The third stage of training – “fixation”
In order to learn new skills more effectively and consolidate them further, it is important to create an incentive system through which you will systematically learn new knowledge and skills. How? The easiest and most effective method is to choose for yourself at least for each day (for example, if you choose to learn English, you should do it for at least 20 minutes each day). Next, you can make a public commitment to your acquaintances in which you make clear to them your intention to do so every day. To back up your motivation, come up with a system of fines and incentives. Usually, according to the law of introduction of new habits, after 20-30 days, new knowledge, regularly used in practice, firmly entrenched in your nervous system. In other words, – go to the level of unconscious competence. You just know, do and it is easy for you.
Apply these methods of effective learning in practice, and you can easily learn a lot of new useful knowledge and skills that will significantly raise the quality of your life to a new level.