For some, the current accelerating pace of change in all areas of life can be very unsettling. While for others, change is a source of delight and wonder. For all, the case for lifelong learning strategies has never been stronger and the need to rethink how we learn and study smarter equally so.
What Makes an Adult Learner Different?
As an adult learner, your approach is quite different from the way children learn and knowing this can help you choose more supportive learning strategies. You have a wealth of experience to draw on and connecting learning to your own unique experience allows you to personalise that learning – a significant motivating factor.
You also need to recognise the purpose of what you are learning. Without that purpose, you will find it difficult to be fully engaged in the learning process. You might discover learning takes more time than in the past but the value of this is that you will learn at a much deeper level. Be aware, for you to learn new ideas and concepts, your past learning and experience can also act as a barrier.
For an adult, advanced learning is as much about unlearning as it is about new learning.
How to Learn Smarter Using Advanced Learning Techniques
Write a Personal Manifesto
Start by writing a Personal Manifesto that clearly states your core values, beliefs, what you stand for and how you intend to take personal responsibility for your lifelong education. Doing this process can reveal your long-term ‘why’ and act as a compass on the learning journey ahead.
Have a plan that allows a routine allocation of time and sets clear goals.
Challenge yourself and be willing to fail
There’s growing research that strongly indicates that failure leads to increased resilience and the ability to take on bigger challenges. A simple strategy when you fail is first to acknowledge the failure. Secondly, ask what contributed to the failure, and thirdly ask what could be done in the future to both prevent future failure and ensure success.
Choose a learning modality that suits your learning style.
For example, online learning has made tremendous advances and can be adapted to suit most learning situations and lifestyles.
Join discussion groups
The best are those with individuals from diverse backgrounds, with different views and opinions. Listening to other’s points of view and engaging in vigorous discussions are potent learning and unlearning tools. Sometimes what we’ve learned in the past can block creativity and innovation, so discussion groups can be useful in developing both.
Handwrite your notes
When you need to take notes – if you have the time, handwrite them. Psychologists have found that writing increases neural activity in certain sections of the brain like meditation. Writing can increase thinking, language, and working memory. Plus, handwriting slows us down a bit to free up thinking and can boost creativity.
Using Accelerated Learning for Smarter Study
The science of Accelerated Learning can make learning 3 to 4 times faster and can increase retention from a usual 2% to an advanced 12% – without the need for speed reading or memory drills. The essence of Accelerated Learning is that it allows you to relax. Tension inhibits both learning and memory so while you’re learning, take regular short breaks, play soothing music, and have fun.
Tools you can use now
Chunking means breaking down large topics into small, achievable pieces. It has the power to eliminate overwhelm when large amounts of information must be learned.
Multi-Sensory learning is how we naturally learn. Humans take in information through our three main senses – visual, auditory, and kinesthetic – movement and feeling.
- Visual learning is boosted by using colourful pens and highlighters, pictures, videos, and colourful posters.
- Auditory learners prefer podcasts, audiobooks, reading or whispering aloud and background music.
- Kinesthetic techniques are enthusiasm, enjoyment, exercise, dancing and hands-on practical application.
Mind mapping is a way of taking notes using colourful pens, keywords and pictures. It works because this is how our minds naturally work. You might take a little longer to be comfortable with this technique but persevere and use it your own way. You can’t fail at mind mapping.
Keep changing your learning environment – the more situations in which your brain can rehearse something, the stronger a memory it creates.
Repetition has always been a recognised learning tool so find different ways to repeat the information. Singing the information can be fun – and effective. Recent research shows that repetition can benefit creativity – and contribute to that lightbulb moment.
Challenge yourself to get smarter at using these advanced learning strategies today and begin to reap the lifelong benefits across your study and work.