Uploaded by Kimberly Lumapac

A Smarter Approach to Learning

A Smarter
Approach to
Jessica Leigh
Have a break
Accessing your different modes of learning
Your brain has two modes of learning:
• Focussed mode: this mode is used when you are
concentrating intently on something you're trying to
learn or to understand;
• Diffuse: this is more relaxed and related to a set of
neural resting states.
Evidence has shown that in order to learn something new
your brain needs to switch between both modes. It cannot
use both modes at the same time.
Having a break in your work, allows you to switch from the
focused mode to the diffuse mode. In this mode you look
at things broadly. You can make new neural connections
travelling along new pathways helping you to get to the
initial place you need to be in to find a solution to the
problem. This is particularly useful when you have been
stuck on a problem for a long period of time.
Pomodoro Technique
Tackling procrastination
The Pomodoro is a mental technique used to help prevent
procrastination. To carry it out, all you need to do is set a
timer to 25 minutes, turn off all interruptions, and then
focus. The most important thing to do afterwards is to give
yourself a little reward.
Converting short-term memory to long-term memory
To prevent knowledge you learn from being forgotten, it
needs to move from your short-term memory into your
long-term memory. The best way to do this is through
The best type of repetition is called “Spaced Repetition”.
This technique involves repeating what you're trying to
retain, but space this repetition out. Extending your
practice over several days does make a difference. This is
because research has shown that neural structure is built
by doing a little work every day.
To increase the chances of being able to access the
information that is stored in your long-term memory when
you need it, you need to revisit it at least a few times so
make sure you also repeat information you have already
A healthy brain needs sleep
Sleeping causes the shrinkage of your brain cells, allowing
fluid to flow past them as there in now a larger space
between them. This fluid washes the toxins from between
these cells out of your brain. Less toxins means a healthier
brain and so more sleep means a healthier brain.
Sleep also allows your brain to organise your thoughts. Less
important memories are erased whilst memories that you
need to remember, like your studies, are strengthened.
They are strengthened by your brain repeating neural
pattens to deepen them.
Dreaming about your studies helps you further understand
what it is that you are trying to learn. To increase your
chances of dreaming about your studies, go over what
you’re learning right before you go to sleep and think to
yourself that you want to dream about it. This will increase
your chances of having a study related dream.
Remembering things easier
Chunking allows you to link different pieces of information
together through meaning. This chunk is easier to
remember and many chunks can be fit together to allow a
bigger picture to form.
Once a chunk has been created, you don't know need to
remember all the little underlying details as you have got
the main idea.
To form a chunk follow these steps:
1. Focus your undivided attention on the information that
you want to chunk;
2. Understand the basic idea of the chunk you are trying
to form;
3. Gain context on the information you are trying to
chunk. This will allow you to see how and how not to
use the chunk. This is crucial to your understanding of
the chunk.
Interleave your learning
Mixing your studies
Interleaving your studies involves mixing different topics or
techniques together to improve your learning. This makes
learning more effective as it enables information to be
better retained and develops your creative power in that
subject. This results in you more easily linking chunks
together in and between disciplines.
What do you really know?
By trying to recall information you are trying to learn, you
can see just how much of this you have actually retained
versus what you think you have retained. By combining
recall with repetition, over a spaced out period of time, you
will not only be able to remember much more but also be
able to access the information when you need it.
To practice recall, try reading a text and then covering it up.
Say aloud what you have learnt from the text. Then read
the text again and repeat the recall exercise. You will notice
that this time you can recall more of the information.