Improve your Learning Skills: Science of Effective Learning.

Posted on February 24, 2009. Filed under: Learning Skills, Valuable Insights | Tags: , |

Learning by far has been the single most important ability for the man kind which helped him differentiate itself from other life forms, it will become even more pertinent and sought after In the new Age of information overload, human beings will be putting their learning abilities to test when they negotiate with their world where in which every thing

Learn like a Child

Learn like a Child

 will change at least 10 times as faster as it did a decade before. and We will have to learn at least 10 times as much to keep pace and survive One’s learning skill will determine the level of success on achieves in all spheres of life. 

In this article we will look at learning as a phenomenon, its process, its inherent challenges, common pitfalls learners succumb to and winning practices that ensure success in learning. To the new age Learner it will makes perfect sense to take a conscious charge of his learning strategy so like most other things he can plan , strategize , measure and improve this skill as well.

 What is learning?

 As most commonly understood is the ability to remember what you have studied most typically to reproduce in an exam. So traditionally for a student a good learning is to be able to learn is to be able to remember the facts clearly….To a professor learning is much more, ‘it is to understand what it is and to be able to explain to others clearly…’which is true again, for a doctor or a engineer or any other professional ‘learning is the ability to apply what you have learnt.’ Which is as true as it gets, and for an innovator learning is all this and more ‘its is to learn what is being taught and apply it to new setting’

 So we see that learning is a process and each step of the process is important and necessary to move forward .there are some inherent difficulties that present themselves at each step, lets look at what those are and also some proven practices that facilitate the learner to use the process more effectively.

 Stage 1: Learn/ Intake the information

No question that a way to take in the information is required for learning to happen whether it’s a classroom, a book, a training program, a movie, a audio book what ever,


Identify your learning style: there are 3 basic learning styles

Visual: learners who learn the most from Images

Auditory: learners who learn the most from Sounds

And Kinesthetic: learners who learn the most from actions.

Take this Quiz to Identify your own:

 With the internet revolution more and more channels are available for you to learn from…a good learner chooses mediums that align with his natural style so that learning is effortlessly achieved. Check out this link to know more about learning styles and identify your own. 

Just having exposure does not warranty that information has been taken completely and correctly, this is the first step where people miss some very important parts and hurriedly move forward in vain.


  1. A good way to make sure that you are taking the information well is to know: studies show that it takes 16 times for information to be fed, to be taken in completely. Point being that exposes yourself to the information as much as you can.
  2.  If you are feeling lost while reading a book or a concept it wont help to carry on with improved concentration but to go back, recall the last thing you understood and start again even before that, lets say if are on page 20 of a book and feeling lost, flipping back you know you understood till page 18, start from page 17 and start the intake process again.
  3. Stop after each chunk of information and take a min to recall what was being discussed till now and what may follow.

 Stage 2: Remember

Second important process is to be able to reproduce the information as it is:

A good way that people use to learn answers and concepts is to run in their mind what they want to learn, or to write out …

Again a simple test to identify your learning style is to recall how you felt most comfortable remembering the answers in school did you read it loud to yourself (Auditory) or did you like to write them out ..(Visual). As you have taken the information in its full detail and when you start to reproduce you start to get the facts right. Good learners never move forward until they have gone back to the source and checked the accuracy of what they reproduced,  they reproduced again till all facts are correct,

Here are some common pitfalls learners succumb to:

  1. Learners start the remembering process with the source at hand and keep checking up whatever they could not recall and move forward thinking it’s now learnt well. A good practice to follow is to keep the book you read from away and then reproduce on in writing without going back to the source in between, if one is not able to remember any part of the information correctly, finish writing identify the gaps and only then refer to the source.
  2. Often students move forward leaving few facts they were not able to reproduce with accuracy, or leaving words they did not understand fully,(L.Ron Hubbord the father of Scientology says that every misunderstood thing can be traced back to a not understood word. )Well moving on with these unresolved results in vain, learning will only happen when you come clean with each process so keep trying to reproduce what you have learnt till you get it all right.
  3. If you are a visual learner, try using Mind mapping for putting information together and remembering these maps. Using mind maps will increase your remembering ability to minimum 10 times with a little practice. Check out this link to know more.
  4. A common tool for keeping your remembering always fresh is to use the power revision routine ,this routine will help you transfer your learning from your short term memory to your long term memory with least effort here is how you can use it. What you read today , revise after 24 hours , second revision after 7 days third revision after 21 days and fourth after 3 months. Though this routine involves 4 revisions, the time it takes to revise at this interval is minimum in comparison to any other; it’s a lot better than trying to learn one chapter twice.


Good learner will keep a learning log where he notes down what he has learnt so that he can revise according to this routine and take the minimum time to learn permanently, a calendar diary or a simple online calendar can be used for this.

This process consolidates the information and stores it in the mind.

 Stage 3 -Teach

Third step is to be able to teach the concept. Not that every one needs to be a teacher but What happen when you try to teach is that  you exert your brain to find similarities with other concepts, make connections with something familiar, and identify examples from the past where it has been used. This process opens the mind of the learner and helps him able to integrate this new information with the other already learnt information this gives the new information a chance to be accepted by the mind.

its like if your mind is like a big room where already learnt information are like small children playing with each other when you learn a new information a new child is brought into the room , when you teach you invite the other children to play with the new child fostering friendships and connections and leading to a healthy useful network of information in the mind.


 A good parent/teacher will create opportunity for the learner to practice teaching the concept. So if you are a mother helping the child learn ,you would encourage the child to teach back to you and in place of interrupting and correcting him ask questions like a lay man wanting to understand give him the freedom and space to struggle with the questions make connections and explain in his own way. It will make the support system really stimulating the child’s capabilities to think creatively.

Similarly if you are learning something you try to share or teach someone about what you have learnt, introduce a new dimension struggle with their questions, make connections and really learn.

 Step 4: Apply

Forth step is to apply the information first hand, this is application part of the learning, this is where you make use of the information, and every information worth learning is because it can be used somewhere. To be able to validate the information with your own experience is extremely important,

What use will a theorem have if you can not see it function to solve a problem, what use will a poem have if you can’t experience its essence in your heart, what use will any leadership or self help material have if you have not tested its powers,

This step is quite a rare achievement in a common man’s life that’s way I come across so many skeptics who know and nod and never try and also those knowledgeable advisors who never benefit from their own knowledge they possess because they haven’t made an attempt to use it, or have had the discipline to apply it.

Often newly learnt information needs either discipline or opportunity to apply.


  • A good learner is aware of this and works towards finding ways to apply this information.
  •  He always clarifies the WIIFM (What’s in it for Me) before starting any learning so that he know exactly where he will use it. And goes ahead and uses it.

This process internalize the information and makes it part of your arsenal.

 Stage 5: Improvise

Though learning for most stops there but there’s more.

Do you know about those crazy inventors who learn something and produce something that looks like nothing like what they had learnt.. hmm beyond being able to internalize there’s a skill and a genius of stripping the learning of its situation and setting and context till the principle becomes clear and the use the principle in any other setting totally different than its original setting. Do you know that the shape of benzene was a result of seeing snakes, that the first ford car came out from an assembly that was ideated from an abattoir where cows were butchered, and Hubble telescope was repaired successfully because the that’s how shower panels are used…also associated with creativity it is the final stage in the learning process where you apply not just as it is. But it in  principle

And this is where you unlock the learning.


A good Learner will always challenge himself to find applications different to those he has learnt a Parent or teacher dedicated to developing the capacity of the student will also create such opportunities … by inviting the learner to come up with applications and examples weird they may be.

Till stage 4 everything that happened was a left brain activity, this stage uses the right brain, this cooperation of both sides of the brain for thinking and learning generates genius.

 A Good learner spaces the learning’s at any point in time in various phases ie does not intake too much but will have some topics he is in taking , some reproducing some applying some teaching .. And so on.

 So if you are in the business benefiting by learning yourself or supporting some one else..Be conscious of its process and have a strategy to maximize your learning experience. Happy learning!


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