How to speed up the learning process
We all view intelligent people with amazement because they can learn any new concept faster than others. But what makes smart people so special? Is it just the mind they have? No, they are effective techniques to speed up the learning process and nothing more. Learning how to get things done the right way and perfecting it is what contributes greatly to your ability to stay competitive in the areas in which you are interested in excelling.
However, when it comes to comprehending information – whether it’s a new technology, a foreign language, or an advanced skill – we often have trouble keeping track of what we’re trying to learn, get distracted, and even have trouble transitioning between different topics. In this case, there are a number of learning techniques that we can work on in our lives to speed up the learning process, making us better learners.
Here are the top 7 effective cognitive skills to accelerate learning that we encourage you to consider for a better and more accomplished learning experience in the coming weeks, months, and years.
1. Selective Attention
Choosing selective attention as the first skill you should develop is not random, we live in noisy environments today, and many things can catch our attention. Therefore, selective attention is a cognitive skill that allows you to direct your attention to a particular task at a particular time and avoid other distractions that might tempt you to engage in it. But how does selective attention work?
Let me explain it to you with an example, assuming that you were with your friend in a restaurant located in the middle of the city where you are surrounded by the sounds of cars, people around you, pedestrians on the street, others in the shops next to the restaurant, and more. You must now hear most of those sounds. However, the main reason you are in this place is to have a conversation with your friend while eating. So selective attention helps you focus on that task and keep your attention until you’re done.
To improve your selective attention, it would be a good idea to make some effort to do focused attention meditation, go to fairly noisy places, and try to focus on certain chosen objects or sounds for a long time. Repeat and try to make it more difficult each time. Over time, you will find yourself accustomed to selective attention, which can speed up the learning process.
2. Constant attention
Constant attention helps you stick to one project and keep working on it until you complete it. You can develop sustained interest through long focus periods where you focus on what you’re learning and then take time to detail the things you’ve learned.
For example, if you decide to take a book that you want to read on a topic you are interested in, you stick to that book every day until you finish reading it, after which you can start reading another book. The question now is how do you maintain your focus during your daily routine of reading? While reading, try to have a blank sheet of paper next to you and write down the things you have learned in detail after about 30 minutes to one hour of concentration, at the end of the period you will find that you have gained extensive knowledge.
You might think that multitasking is a different skill than the previous two, but while focusing your attention on one thing is good, the opposite is also beneficial. Multitasking is getting your attention to more than one project or task at the same time. Think about having different subjects you take at your educational institution, as you move from one lesson to the next. Finalizing one thing while getting ready and planning something else is also common. So the division of attention in such cases is useful so that even while taking an exam on two different units, you can still retain the information of each.
You can increase your multitasking abilities by being aware of what you are supposed to learn and how you are learning it. Multitasking requires effective use of short-term memory. But it is important that you work to store the information in the long-term memory through constant repetition.
4. Logic and inference
Logic and reasoning are cognitive skills that pave the way for problem-solving and brainstorming skills that help make the learning process useful in the real world. For example, during exams the professor expects you to use what you’ve learned to solve the problems given in the exam, and since the questions are somehow convoluted to measure your understanding of the topic being tested, that’s where logic comes to the rescue.
You can try different techniques to improve your logic and reasoning, including making inferences for different scenarios and then watching how they are solved to see if you got them right, playing mind games like chess, and discovering the different patterns of activities you are involved in.
5. Processing speed
Processing speed is a cognitive skill related to your ability to interpret what you learn and have time to apply it to get the results you are looking for. By using this skill, you can improve your productivity in a day, thus freeing you up more time to do other things in your daily schedule. Think of it as having the ability to sit down and within 30 minutes, you’ve already read and fully understood what a certain aspect of your course is all about. The best part is that you understand the concept so well that you don’t find it necessary to go back and re-read it and try to figure out what it means and the whole process.
Some believe that processing speed is an ability given to a few, when in fact anyone can learn it if he sets out to practice it. You can speed up your information processing by making sure you regularly engage in aerobic exercise, continue to challenge yourself intellectually, push your brain to make sense of things faster by reading and interpreting information faster than you normally would, and eat healthy foods.
Processing speed is divided into two main types:
- Visual processing
Visual processing is a cognitive skill related to how quickly we process information from visual objects, such as pictures, tables, and graphs. The more you use visually represented data, the more you will be able to identify the patterns used in it, and the easier it will be to decode new data presented in this way in the future.
- Auditory processing
We are now in an era where advanced technology is being used in almost all industries including education. Instead of having to spend two days or weeks reading a coursebook, you can just listen to an audiobook of it and learn more intensively. So we urgently need to increase our ability to quickly process the information we hear.
If you are good at analyzing and understanding audio and relating it to what you learn about, you will have a higher chance of progressing in your studies. Again, repetition is the best way to improve auditory processing, the more you listen to audio recordings, the better your sound processing skills will be.
6. Short term memory
Short-term memory is where we store recently acquired information. If you’ve read a manual for a device that you’re going to use right away, you’ve finished reading and then you’ve gone out and started using it without having to go back to the manual every now and then, your short-term memory is great.
But if that’s not the case and you want to improve your short-term memory, a good way is to pick up words, numbers, or even dots for a few seconds, then try to get back what you saw after a few seconds, then check if you’re right.
How to speed up the learning process
7. long-term memory
Here the information obtained a long time ago is preserved. You are ranked among the people with the best long-term memory when you can easily retain and retrieve information about something you acquired months or years ago. For example, if you met someone two years ago and then had a chance to meet them again and you can still remember their name, what they wear and what you talked about the first time you met without difficulty, you probably have a good long-term memory.
Some well-known ways to improve long-term memory are through activities such as constant repetition and re-reviewing the information in your mind.
This is a set of learning techniques that you should try to focus on to speed up the learning process. Mastering these skills is not easy, although it is not that difficult either. It may require you to get out of your comfort zone and push yourself a little bit each day so you can improve your brainpower. And remember that a small start is key. Take one skill at a time, invest your time in honing it and apply it constantly, after a short time you will be amazed at how far you have progressed.
How to speed up the learning process