Learn Faster and Smarter: Accelerated Learning Techniques
They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Hogwash!
Not only do all successful adults need to keep learning as they advance their lives and careers, but they already do learn and adapt to their worlds each and every day. Whether it’s picking up a new hobby, skill, or learning how to be a parent, humans are absolutely adaptable no matter their age. The science behind the aging brain is inconclusive, and not all experts agree that learning becomes harder as we age. In fact, some people think the reason older folks seem a little slower is because they know so much — their brains are like full-up computer hard drives!
But as we grow and change, so must the way we learn. What worked for us as children or young adults might not work for us as well now. That, and there have been many exciting advances in teaching and learning techniques that can help you more than you’d ever believe. One of these techniques is called Accelerated Learning.
Accelerated Learning is just what it sounds like — it’s a way to make learning faster and easier. The idea behind it is that each of us has a preferred learning style. When we learn in the style that suits us best, learning is easier, and therefore a lot faster. No more struggling with getting information into your brain! Now isn’t that a smart idea?
Most experts agree that there are seven main types of learning styles:
Visual, Auditory, Verbal, Physical, Logical, Social, and Solitary
There are dozens of tests you can take online to find out which learning style is your dominant one. You may even find that you have two or three!
Once you know what type of learner you are, try one of the methods below to help you learn faster and smarter. Don’t be afraid to be creative and combine methods!
Write It Out (Verbal/Linguistic)
Take what you’ve learned and put it into your own words. Try writing by hand instead of typing it out — this slows you down and lets your mind process the knowledge better.
Teach a Friend (Social/Interpersonal)
Nothing tests your knowledge like sharing it with somebody else. Before you start learning, know that you’ll have to teach it to somebody later on. That way, you’ll pay sharp attention and think of ways you can explain your new knowledge to another person.
Use Motion (Physical/Kinesthetic)
If you’re learning something physical, practice it often! But if you’re learning information, try associating a motion or physical feeling with it (like bouncing a ball or tapping a pencil) to build important links between your mind and body.
Visualize It (Solitary/Intrapersonal)
Take some quiet time to close your eyes and sort back through everything you’ve learned. You can “visualize” it using mental pictures, words, sounds, smells, or anything else you’re learning.
Break It Down (Logical/Mathematical)
Make order out of chaos! Take what you’ve learned and put it into a step-by-step chart or graph. Try organizing the information in the most logical way possible!
Say It Out Loud (Auditory/Musical)
Go ahead — talk to yourself! Try reading aloud or talking yourself through what you’re learning. You can even sing a song about it!
Draw a Picture (Visual/Spatial)
Break out your pens and pencils and go to town! Your picture can be literal or symbolic — whatever it takes to help you remember what you’ve learned and recall it at a glance.