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Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Learning methods: How to reach your desired goal

Learning methods: How to reach your desired goal
4/ 5 stars - "Learning methods: How to reach your desired goal" You never learn, it is said. However, as it is learned, this wisdom says nothing. There are several learning methods that can be used to a...
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You never learn, it is said. However, as it is learned, this wisdom says nothing. There are several learning methods that can be used to acquire knowledge, as appropriate. This is especially important in education and at the university, because the learners always receive new input over a longer period of time. The purpose of these methods is to work as extensively as possible into a topic within the time available, in order to be able to pass an exam afterwards. What learning methods are available for adults and students ...

Learning Methods Definition: What is meant by this?

Learning Methods Definition for Adults Pupils Uni Pedagogy Psychology Mindmap the best learning methods and learning techniquesLearning methods - some of which also refer to learning strategies and learning techniques - are to be understood as the use of specific work aids .

They enable the learner to acquire knowledge specifically and, above all, efficiently, so that it can be called up and used as required (in the exam or in the day-to-day work). The correct understanding of what has been learned is, among other things, the fact that what has been learned can be reproduced in one's own words .

There are different ways of collecting information , which contribute with varying degrees of success whether we retain knowledge or not. At the same time learning affects which type of learning a person is. Because, while most people are a mix of different types of learners, a learning type test can help you figure out which way to go.

For clarity, here's an overview of the different types of information gathering and the likelihood of retaining information in this way:

Just hear something: 20 percent

Just seeing something: 30 percent

To see and hear something: 50 percent

See, hear and explain something: 70 percent

See, hear, explain and do something yourself: 90 percent

Purposeful and unconscious learning

How someone learns and what he or she learns from is different. Sometimes the goal is to quickly acquire as much factual knowledge as possible in order to retrieve certain numbers, for example, if necessary. If the exam is successfully passed, however, what you have learned will quickly be forgotten.

In most cases, such exam content is knowledge that does not play a major role in everyday working life . Rather, it is used for the selection of candidates. But regardless of what the auditors are aiming for, learners want one thing above all else.

There is a widespread misconception, namely that of "much helps a lot". Therefore, a lot of dedication and diligence must automatically lead to the desired result. But just because some barely allow themselves leisure time and distraction and instead barricade and buff in their four walls, they are far from reaching their destination.

Therefore, learning methods not only include concrete tips on how to memorize something, but also give you valuable hints for the right setting. Because your insight and attitude towards learning is just as important for success as intensified memory training .

This helps you to remember something in the long run , which is always the better solution, at least when it comes to the learning content you will need more often in your working life. Applying learning methods always means that you are following a specific plan.

This is important for success, because knowledge acquisition happens in addition to the targeted intake of information even unconsciously. From psychology and pedagogy we know that the very first years of life are formative and influence information processing later.

For example, unconscious learning takes place when we learn our mother tongue - we automatically learn the grammar without being aware of the order of the phrases, nor can we directly determine their function.

Learning methods enable systematic learning

Of course, you can just start grabbing a book, reading the chapters and memorizing them - like a poem. In the last century this was still common practice, but blunt tympani usually only helps in the short term.

In most cases, you can use rhymes that allow you to open up a missing word. Nevertheless memorization is also part of different learning methods, but often much more playful.

In the following, we introduce you to different learning methods, which are different effective . There may be phases when one is needed, even though it alone is not promising. The following list is therefore not a weight for success.

Rather, you have to decide for yourself which seems appropriate for you in the respective situation:

Create a learning plan

One of the most important learning methods is that you create a learning plan . It should therefore be at the very beginning. What sounds so simple at first glance simply has the background that you gain an overview of the time that is (still) available to you.

Depending on the subject area, they divide them into different learning units and breaks. A learning plan also allows you to check at any time whether you are still in time, or whether you have needed in one place shorter or longer. In order not to be under time pressure, it is advisable to set up this curriculum so that you install generous buffers, if something goes wrong.

Read underline

The beginning of every acquisition and deepening of knowledge is often reading. Especially if you need to do some homework while studying, there may be a basic understanding of the topic. But then it is necessary to obtain further literature in order to be able to build on this knowledge.

The marking of passages is a simple and frequently practiced learning method to differentiate the important from the unimportant. However, there are studies that indicate that this method is a learning mistake because it is not very effective.

One reason for this is that many learners tend to emphasize too much and relatively indiscriminately - in the end the entire text is marked in bright colors, but in memory hardly anything can be recalled. As a rule of thumb, it is often recommended: If underline, then a maximum of three phrases per page. However, this can be too much for very small pages or extremely long sentences, so be sure to filter out the key keywords.

Create mind map

The most important key terms in turn bring you to another technique. You can make a mind map . So you must inevitably retrieve information from your memory and compile meaningful. Because in your memory, the knowledge is stored like a ball of wool. Mindmapping does justice to the meandering brain structure and helps sort out this ball of yarn, so you have a clearer idea of ​​how certain topics can be broken down.

Write summaries

According to a study by scientists John Dunlosky and Katherine Rawson of Kent State University, Elisabeth Marsh of Duke University, Mitchell J. Nathan of the University of Wisconsin, and Daniel Willingham of the University of Virginia, summarizing is about re-reading, creating Index cards, mark and remember using pictures to the least successful learning method.

At least if you put the effort and the result in relation to each other. Other studies prove that handwritten writing in particular can help to internalize what has been learned. Because you have to deal with certain content again, transform it into your language and vocabulary.

In addition, writing helps to clear the mind - your documents are a sort of outsourced memory. You can thus place sensory sections in a logical order and subdivide them into "easily digestible appetizers".

Make flashcards

Flashcards are especially useful for refreshing and repeating what you have already learned as they are a mini-summary. For example, if you need to prepare for a longer presentation, then flashcards will give you a cue for the next presentation point. Index cards as a learning method are therefore more likely to be at the end of a learning process.

Remember donkey bridges

Generations of students helped themselves in the classroom with donkey bridges . One such example is 753 - Rome hatches from the egg. This learning method is useful if something else would be difficult to remember. For the year 753 has no special meaning for people in the present, so it can hardly be linked to anything. Donkey bridges with rhymes work quite well. It is more difficult to think of oneself that fit the material to be learned.

To form a discussion round

Discussing is one of the most effective learning methods. On the one hand, you will have previously dealt with the matter via one or the other information way. On the other hand, you repeat the recorded knowledge by dealing with the subject with your own words. So much the better if you can comment on a critical theory. This allows a new look at what has been learned and leads to a differentiated picture. Especially for scientific work, this is essential because you are expected to think critically.

Simulate test

This is especially good with tests that you and your fellow students put themselves. Often, student councils at the university offer their help by resorting to earlier exams. These often include similar tasks depending on the course and semester. This, according to studies, is one of the most effective learning methods, as it allows you to query and consolidate existing knowledge. If there are no old exams, you and your colleagues can simulate the exam situation with your own question-and-answer games. This is also useful in addition to the exams because you avoid simply memorizing the solution and have difficulty finding a solution to a similar task.

Take breaks

Take a break should be a learning method? Where it seems so inactive, while learning is understood as an active approach? However, every person needs time for regeneration. On average one says that after 90 minutes a break should be taken. If, for example, you interrupt your learning phase for 15 or 30 minutes, and get some fresh air, move, you increase the chances many times over, then be more receptive.

Observe sleeping times

Even enough sleep is underestimated time and again - just before an important exam, some commit the mistake of tearing all night - and then wonder that they can not keep anything! Sleep helps to store knowledge in long-term memory. And that is exactly what you should learn, because what is in the short-term memory, quickly lost again. Getting enough sleep also helps make you feel relatively relaxed the next morning - some basic nervousness is completely normal.

Learning tips for students: The best tips and tricks

There are students who learn - contrary to all learning tips - their material only at the last minute. During the semester, you go to the lectures, read scripts or books, memorize a bit. But really learned is usually only shortly before the exam - exam anxiety included. Can you do that, but it's not the best course of action . Researchers say: This is worthwhile at short notice ...

Learning tips for students: The best tips and tricks

Contents: That's what you'll find in this article

Short-term learning is worthwhile - but does not last long

Those who take water for exams improve their grades

The forgetting curve: After a week, three quarters are forgotten

How can forgetting be stopped?

How does learning work?

4 Errors in learning - and how to avoid them

Learning enlarges the hippocampus

Learning tips for studying: The 10 best methods

50 tips for better learning

Learning tips: Make more frequent and longer breaks!

Learning while sleeping

Keep more - take more nap

Short-term learning is worthwhile - but does not last long

Pressure refueling for the head: buffing, cramming, framing - even the synonyms for learning make it clear that this is nothing that comes to you.

Learning is hard work. No wonder some people try to keep it to a minimum - with maximum learning effect . Tens of learning tips and methods have already been developed for this efficient learning, which also work well. Not all good at the same time. So you can not avoid identifying those methods that best fit your nature and learning type .

But how is it with the short-term timpani for an exam or exam : Is it worth it at all?

The psychologists Doug Rohrer and Harold Pashler have some time ago considered optimal learning curves and found surprising results in their comparative studies ( PDF ):

First, they divided their subjects into two groups and had these vocabulary buffed .

The first group puffed the fabric five times - and thus achieved a very passable result.

The second group buffed twice as hard , ten times. And indeed: With this additional effort they managed three times as good exam results.

Learning more leads to better grades. But that was not the end of the experiment:

The researchers re-tested their volunteers - after one week and three weeks later. Here again, the same result:

The students who had spent twice as long achieved significantly better results after one week.

Three weeks later, however, her advantage was gone.

Now both groups cut in about the same (bad). Or in other words: they had largely forgotten their knowledge again .

A clear argument for short-term learning before the exam or examination - also called Bulimielernen . Anyone who tries to internalize knowledge to retrieve it soon in a test , can save the effort of Permapaukens in the rule. In the long run, therefore, he does not keep anymore.

Those who take water for exams improve their grades

Those who take water for exams improve their gradesResearchers led by Chris Pawson from the University of East London and Mark Gardner from the University of Westminster have long suspected that dehydration (also known as dehydration) is degrading academic achievement. So, the performance of 447 students recorded in different exams - depending on whether they took the exams or not.

Result: To take water with the exams, the exam score improved significantly. But please pay attention to the wording: In fact, the scientists registered only the test results and whether students water had here . They did not check if and how much water the students drank during the exam. "Our results suggest that adding water to the tests is enough to improve their scores," says study leader Chris Pawson. However, fair enough to say, this is a conspicuous correlation, not causality.

As proven, however, that drinking helps to reduce stress and stimulate the metabolism and thus to keep the gray cells supple.

The forgetting curve: After a week, three quarters are forgotten

Forgetting curve-to-EbbinghausThe whole thing has something to do with the so-called Ebbinghaus forgetting curve (see chart). Do not you know? Maybe just forget ...

This is precisely what the German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus found out in his self- experiments:

After about 20 minutes , he had already forgotten what he had learned to 40 percent.

After one hour , the half-life of knowledge dropped to 45 percent.

At most, after one day , he still remembered a third (34 percent).

After just six days , memory has shrunk to a whopping 23 percent - in the long run, we only keep 15 percent of the learned. That's a pity.

How can forgetting be stopped?

Every day, our brain is flooded with a plethora of information. If we tried to remember all the information, our brains would burn out like a fuse. At the same time, forgetting is essential to our survival and therefore an integral part of our life and learning.

So that our upper room does not run hot, 100 billion nerve cells process every few seconds thousands of impulses and filter new information: Important is permanently stored and unimportant discarded immediately.

When we speak of memory , we mean the ability to organize, store and retrieve information. It is a complex network of different parts of our brain. If we remember something, a connection between different nerves is established. This connection is crucial so that we can learn something new.

How does learning work?

When we retrieve a stored information, it is transmitted as a stimulus from one nerve end to the other. For the learning process and the memory training , it is then decisive how well the stimulus transmission works:

In case of a strong stimulus , this is not only passed on, but the receiving nerve reacts the next time more strongly to a weaker stimulus. The communication of both nerves gets faster, and we can remember this information more easily.

However, if the stimulus is too weak from the start , the receiving nerve will not react the next time. This connection is gossamer, and we have problems recalling the information in question.

So that the learning works well and we can quickly remember what we have learned, we need well-functioning nerve connections. With each new incoming information, the connections between our nerves are recombined. Information from old connections is then no longer available, they are practically overwritten.

You can imagine this process as road works : a road that is broken and not very busy is replaced by a new one. Only the new road leads to a very different place.

Learning is far from the most beautiful thing in the world, but rather a necessary evil. But there are also mistakes that you should avoid ...

4 Errors in learning - and how to avoid them

The Google effect

We do not remember certain information better if we know that it is available online and that we can look it up at any time.

To avoid this error: Try to remember the information itself, not just the location where it can be found. For example, in a statistics exam, knowing the formula you need on page 94 below, if you do not know the formula yourself, will help you a little.

The Zeigarnik effect

We forget a little faster when it comes to completed processes. This was noticed by Russian psychologist Bluma Zeigarnik as she sat in a restaurant watching the waiters pick up the orders. She found out that waiters could better remember those orders that were still open.

How to avoid this mistake: Most students only study for the exam date. After the exam, the event is completed for you and the knowledge is no longer important. This leads to the fact that the already learned knowledge is forgotten. Try to realize that you will continue to need and use this knowledge.


It is difficult for us to classify and keep things that do not fit into our world view. We want a view of the world that is as consistent as possible. Because of this, our brain tends to dispel contradictions. This was discovered by the British psychologist Frederic Bartlett when he read a story about Indians to British test subjects. All references to ghosts and supernatural phenomena disappeared from the retellings of the subjects.

To avoid this mistake: It is enough to be aware of this fact. Self-critically deal with the interpretation and reproduction of information. Always keep in mind that your point of view is influenced by your culture.

Negative emotions

It is now scientifically proven that negative memories fade faster than positive ones. Psychologists assume that this happens to protect ourselves.

How To Avoid This Mistake: If you are learning for an important exam, you will start with a positive attitude. For example, it is much harder for us to memorize complex formulas by telling ourselves that business mathematics is the worst subject at the university and that the exam will go awry anyway.

To avoid these mistakes is still no guarantee that you will become the next memory world champion. But you help at least in the preparation for the next exam.

Learning enlarges the hippocampus

Learning enlarges the hippocampusBrain researcher Eleanor Maguire, from University College London, examined the changes in the brain of London taxi driver applicants . You have to know that London is one of the largest and probably the most complicated cities in Europe. If you want to drive a taxi, you have to memorize a good 25,000 roads. It will not be done in a few weeks. Some aspirants buff four years for it.

Well, Eleanor Maguire had the chance to brain-scan the brains of her 79 subjects (and 31 controls) for an extended period of time. Lo and behold: who passed the taxi driver's test at the end, had a significantly enlarged hippocampus - in the participants of the control group and the failed the volume, however, remained the same.

This can be said according to the concluded brain researcher :

Learning is still possible in old age.And those who learn - especially difficult things - improve their ability to continue learning in the future.

However, not everyone succeeds (as the failed show). A guarantee to learn for life does not exist.

Learning tips for studying: The 10 best methods

Surprisingly, very few students - and even fewer employees - actively use methods and learning techniques . Granted, many approaches are easy to explain, but need a little practice for optimal implementation.

However, this investment in time and energy is worth it, as soon as you have the right method for you master the , you can tap new content quickly and easily, understand and remember. Not only do you save time, you also save your nerves and have more energy left over for other activities.

We recommend these learning tips:

Alphabet Method

In the Alphabet method, the letters of the alphabet serve as ordering characteristics. Each letter is assigned an image, for the letter B, for example, a book. For example, if you need to remember the notion of relativity theory, you might think of Albert Einstein reading in a book. Such pictures are easy to memorize.

memory Palace

You have a good imagination? Then this concept could be optimal for you. The principle works as follows: From the contents to be learned construct a building mentally. The basic content is the foundation, the key points can be mainstays, and details close your Thought Palace as a roof. If you deliberately let this building emerge and come back several times, you will soon have internalized the contents.

index cards

This learning method is already familiar to many people in the first years of school. The classic approach is to write a term on the front and its definition on the back of the card. For example, a file box may be divided into three sections. At the top are all the contents that are yet to be learned. The second section contains content that you must repeat, and the third contains the terms that you already know and only reviews every few weeks.


Those who can not do much with rather optically oriented learning methods are better served with lists . Through different levels, information can be structured simply and clearly. This structure, in turn, can help to easily capture content and understand interactions. For example, to simplify complex content, lists are great. The simplest variant is the well-known to-do list .

Method of loci

This method is said to have its roots in ancient Greece. The principle is based on the linking of places and objects with learning content. For example, when preparing a lecture, you should choose a route that you either walk away or follow with your gaze. You then assign specific content to each point of this route. So you can retrieve this point by point and save the contents so.

Mind mapping

If you are more creative, the well-known mindmap technique is great for preparing content and depicting relationships. Branches with further information and individual aspects depart from the central topic or keyword. The sub-points can form any number of new branches. From a certain complexity, however, a mind map becomes confusing, even electronic solutions can only partially help.


American educator Francis Robinson has come up with the idea of ​​the SQR3 as an elaborate yet effective way to work on complex scientific texts. To begin, read only the table of contents and the headings (Survey). Then, you hypothesize what the text might be about and write down any questions that you want to have an answer to after reading them (Question). The third phase consists of reading the text, but you should be thorough and work with tags and comments (Read). Then, summarize the text section by section (Recite). Finally, you textualize the text (Review).


One of the most basic learning tips ever: focus on texts and new content to understand the context and statements. Ignore all the details and numbers first, and really focus only on principles and structures. Details are then the icing on the cake that completes your understanding.


If you have a vivid imagination, you should also use it to learn new content. Associate content with images and imagine the described situations and statements as vividly as possible. Work consciously with the most vivid images possible and use, for example, organizational charts and mind maps to get the contents - literally - in front of your eyes.


The best known of all learning methods: Repeat the content you want to learn until you can play it back safely. The criticism of this method is obvious: dull repetition can work with pure factual knowledge, but is time consuming and not very effective. However, repetition may be useful in combination with or as an adjunct to other learning methods.

50 tips for better learning

50 tips for better learningWe have summarized even more practical learning tips in our free guide "50 Tips for Better Learning". You can download it HERE as PDF .

Learning tips: Make more frequent and longer breaks!

Now all of these pressure refueling has two major drawbacks: it tires a lot and makes it even less fun. But there is a - also scientifically guaranteed solution: make in between more breaks!

No kidding: When, for example, the scientists Soren Ashley and Joel Pearson from the University of New South Wales in Sydney studied successful learning strategies, you could prove that practicing too much (as with the law of diminishing returns) results in progressively smaller learning progress .

Or to put it in a positive way: Learning success sets in faster if you make breaks in between . The best way to do this regularly: When learning new skills, new connections are created in the brain, in technical jargon these are also called neuronal plasticity .

In order to acquire skills long-term, these changes in the brain but must be deepened and consolidated. This is only possible through the transfer from short-term to long-term memory - for example through regular, longer breaks. "If the information and neural changes are not consolidated appropriately, the learning progress will only be noticeable in the short term or will not even come to an end," says Soren Ashley.

This was also confirmed in Rohrer's and Pashler's studies: When they repeated their experiments, they also took breaks between the learning phases - from five minutes to two weeks. Result: Those who took a day off wrote the best tests if they took place ten days later. But if you were examined six months later, the optimal learning break already lasted one month.

The quintessence of it:

Anyone who tries to incorporate a complex substance in a short time will perhaps pass the exam well, but will retain little in the long term.

If you want to keep the knowledge afterwards (and be able to retrieve it in the later job), you should also learn during the semester, keep pausing and let the stuff sink .

And the more we learn (in the long term), the longer the breaks should be .

The ideal learning strategy would therefore be: reading books intensively, learning, laying aside, going on vacation and then, just before the exam, shedding knowledge into short-term memory again.

Learning while sleeping

Learning while sleepingIt's true: we learn in our sleep . And anyone who goes to bed immediately after buffing retains more. To this realization renowned sleep researcher Jessica Payne from the University of Notre Dame has already come . Not while asleep, but in experiments with a total of 207 students learning ...

The first had to buff vigorously - all day, between 9 and 21 clock. After that, they had to pass tests: half an hour after learning, twelve hours later, and another 24 hours later. The trick, however, was that some of the subjects could get a good night's sleep between the first immediate test and the second. And indeed, they did much better in the tests - even better than those who stayed awake for a whole day.

Keep more - take more nap

A new study goes even further: Those who study or learn large quantities should treat themselves to more (not longer) naps (so-called power raps ) in between. The French study by Stephanie Mazza of the University of Lyon concludes that regular short sleep helps us to process and remember information more effectively - even six months after we have learned something. Above all, the current study shows the positive influence of short naps between two learning units . On top of that reduce the power nap in between the repetition loops - vulgo the "cramming" of about vocabulary.

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