More from the Accelerated Learning course I’m making my way through (by Brian Tracy & Colin Rose). As always the pictures have been taken via my Instagram.
Admittedly if I kept at the pace I’ve been going on for this course, I might just finish it before I decide to retire. There’s a few different reasons for this procrastination: Firstly is the innate sense that I’ll be unlikely to carry out everything I’m learning every time I learn something new; secondly is my general life patterns at the moment, as in generally there isn’t a pattern, this makes procrastination easy to creep in; both of these lead to the fact that I rarely reach the optimum learning state that’s been talked about, so I’m constantly putting it off until it miraculously appears and with a large majority of distractions available there’s nothing that seems to force me into it….Except for the fact that we are nearing the end of the year and I’m determined to achieve a number of personal goals I’ve set for 2013, meaning I’m not about to quit on anything without a strong reason. This requires the setting of deadlines, otherwise I’m never going to manage it all, so let’s start with this course. I pledge to round it all up before we hit the new year. If I don’t make it I want a serious bollocking from you guys. A head teacher style dressing down okay? Right, now we’ve got that out of the way, let’s finish off Part 2 of ‘Getting The Facts’.
Mind Mapping / Learning Maps
Building a learning map helps to put things in a clear, concise and visual form, making it easier to digest and also easier to picture in your mind later. Any time you study a subject, put the central theme in the middle then draw various branches containing the core ideas for each sub theme coming from it, preferably using different colours. If learning chapter by chapter then summarise each chapter in a learning map then eventually draw a learning map for the whole book. Use key words that summarise the ideas well (nouns are generally best) and also extras such as stick figures, stars, question marks, crude pictures of houses, cars, etc.
This isn’t my learning map by the way, just one I’ve borrowed. The technique’s also handy for life plans, personal development plans, sales strategy plans, planning a trip and all sorts of other situations.
When gathering up the facts for the subject there’s a few additional techniques that will help you to store those facts in your mind. It helps to have your own books to work from so that you don’t get angry library attendants calling you up about damaged property.
1. If like me you lose your concentration when trying to retain too much information then remember to break it down into small chunks. Tick off each sentence as you take it in then when you’ve fully grasped the concepts on that page, put a tick in the corner.
2. When you come across new important information, highlight the main points using a highlighter pen, underlining, question marks, stars or exclamation marks. If you use a different colour to highlight or underline then it’s easier to pick out the new bits of information each time you go back.
3. Perhaps the most amusing technique is to read it dramatically, give the words some extra power as if you were acting on a major stage, make it stand out by giving yourself an accent or whispering them so your subconscious mind knows it’s important. Okay this might seem a tad far fetched and I’m yet to actually try it myself but remember I’m just interpreting what the experts say 🙂
4. Stop every so often and summarise the material out loud. Bare in mind that if you work in public places a lot like me, people will probably look at you rather peculiarly if you do this.
5. Try to visualise what it is you have learned. Give yourself a quiet space to do this or try it before going to sleep and allow your brain to file it over night.
6. If I sit still for too long my mind begins to wander, it helps to be moving around when listening to new information and this also adds a physical aspect to the learning (hence stimulating the physical part of your brain for learning). If can’t / would rather not walk around then make sure you take regular 25 minute breaaks and have a walk around then. Also if you are sat down then doodle, colour, jot down notes and make learning maps whilst you’re listening.
7. Write down some of the key ideas on post it notes, then move them around into a sequence that makes more sense to you.
Although this is more effective because of the physical aspect, I tend to type out notes and then copy and paste them into sections that make more sense to me, then pick out the key points before paraphrasing. Read them out whilst you do it.
8. ‘Note making rather than note taking’. When taking notes don’t just write down what you hear but write down notes about what you’re thinking. Admittedly I’m guilty sometimes of just typing out bits of what I hear to try and process it later but the more you concentrate, the more cells in your brain are activated, the smarter you become.
9. It’s easy to overload your brain and so there needs to be a period of absorption. Stop and go for a walk to let the information soak in properly.
10. Get a learning partner. You learn far more effectively if you have somebody with whom you can discuss the information. I’m already a bit late for this one, though if anybody is actually following along via the blog then feel free to message me with your thoughts.
My email is kaptinisdead(at)gmail(dot)com