avatarJulian Lufi

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Active Learning: Six Key Strategies for Faster, Deeper Understanding

Learning is not a spectator sport

Learning, like life, is not a spectator sport because the human brain doesn’t learn best just by consuming information. The human brain learns better through creating, co-creating, and being active — getting off the bench and doing something. We know knowledge by itself is not power; it’s potential power. It becomes power when we utilize it, when we exercise, apply, and implement it. So let’s see the six ways that will help you learn faster and better.

Read

Reading is when you’re actually absorbing the material. It could involve reading, listening, or even learning through conversation. There, you’re actively taking in information. When you read that information, you become more engaged.

Reflect

This is kind of like metacognition. You’re contemplating what you’ve just read, considering your own thought process. It’s not merely about rapid reading or learning; it’s about taking time to reflect, making it personally meaningful. Extract new nuances from the information, enhancing comprehension and understanding. Reflecting on the information is a way of being more active.

Record

After you’ve read and reflected, document your thoughts.

Take some minutes and just write ,wherever you want, the things that you learned. The information is being received, but expressing it physically requires deeper understanding and comprehension. You have to be able to comprehend it at a new level in order to be able to put it out. Because it comes through your eyes, it gets processed by your nervous system and to be able to put it out and express yourself you need to be able to understand, to organize the information. That’s part of the learning journey.

If you prefer, you can even record yourself orally, repeating the information you’ve learned.

Relate

Learning doesn’t have to be a solitary pursuit; it can be just as effective socially. You can relate to someone else and share what you’ve learned. You could share what you’ve learned with your friend and have a conversation together.

This way you take advantage of the explanation effect. When you teach something you get to learn it twice.

Retrieval

Active retrieval — testing yourself or having someone else quiz you on what you’ve learned. For instance, read a section of a book, discuss it with someone, then have them quiz you. This engages active retrieval. You can also quiz yourself without the book or your notes, testing how much you actively remember.

It’s better after reading something doing active retrieval than reading that thing twice because the act of going inside and trying to pull the information out is the purest test in terms of whether or not you really had that information. Question yourself because questions are the answer, it helps you direct particular activating system.

Review

The power of spaced repetition — space out your reviews. Revisit what you learned the day before. Spacing out information allows you to review it after an hour, a day, or whenever you prefer. This helps consolidate short-term memory into more enduring long-term memory.

Learning isn’t a passive process but an active engagement with information. By embracing reading, reflection, recording, relating, retrieval, and review, we transform knowledge from potential power to real empowerment. These six strategies, when applied diligently, they not only accelerate learning but also deepen understanding, making the journey of knowledge acquisition not just efficient, but truly enriching.

Jim Kwik

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Self Improvement
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