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Five Strategies to Better Learning

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T
here has never been so much information to absorb and so much to learn in the history of humanity!

The more technology we create, the greater the need for learning, so anything that can aid us in learning better is very welcome. Here are five simple strategies that can increase learning and retention of information.

The first learning strategy is a simple one, and one that might not appeal to young people in particular. This strategy is simple: Turn off the TV, turn off your radio and find a quiet place to work with no distractions. If you must have music, opt for classical music, and not rock music or hip-hop. It is amazing how many students like to have background music playing when they are learning, unaware of how counter-productive it can be. If you need to have background music, then choose Baroque, and then preferably strings, rather than brass. Baroque music played on strings has actually been shown to be beneficial to learners.

The second strategy follows on from the first. Don't slob out on the bed, especially on your front, when you are trying to study. Sit at a desk, if possible, with a comfortable, but straight-backed chair and make sure your materials are within easy reach. You don't want to have to break your leaning state over and over again, by having to retrieve items you need from elsewhere.

Strategy three: Breathe deeply and relax. Close your eyes breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth a few times, slowly and evenly. This helps prepare you for your study session and the next strategy.

Strategy four: You will be amazed how many students, adults and children, approach a study or learning task without first asking themselves why they are learning and what they want to achieve. After you have implemented strategy three, and relaxed somewhat, ask yourself what you want to achieve in this study session you are about to undertake. Having a concrete reason to do anything makes your brain focus more on the task. With studying this step is vital, because studying is essentially a brain-oriented task.

Strategy five: Study for short periods or 20 to 30 minutes each, and take breaks of about 10 minutes in between. Experts have found that our peaks of learning information tend to come at the beginning and the end of a session. In other words, we remember material more easily that we learned in the first few minutes of a session, and the last few minutes. Therefore, creating many beginnings and endings in one learning session should increase the amount we are able to take in and, more importantly, recall.


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