You can significantly enrich your
learning by incorporating the following building blocks.
1. Prepare & Organize
Define your goal as outlined above. In
Stephen Covey's book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, his second habit
is to begin with the end in mind.
Identify your barriers and create a strategy
to eliminate them. If you have a challenge finding barriers, review my article
Be Aware of Obstructions to Your Learning.
Based on the goal that you set, declare your
intention for each and every study or class session.
Generate some curiosity about the subject at
hand. You can do this by brainstorming some wild and crazy questions – this
primes the pump.
Examine the big picture. You can do this by
creating a concept map of the lecture or chapter outline.
Establish a positive study environment.
Consider air, water, sound, light, privacy, and temperature.
Finally, do a few mind-body exercises.
2. Attract the Information
Write out what you already know.
Even though class sessions don't afford you
much control, if you are prepared with an outline concept map, you will be able
to make, not just take, superior lecture notes. Remember, the brain is naturally
associative, so it's always looking for links and connections. The concept map
Take frequent study breaks in order to
maximize primacy and recency opportunities.
3. Practice, Elaborate, and Integrate
Repeated review combats memory decay and
entrenches the information in your mind. One suggested review schedule is
immediately as you return from a short break, then at one day, two days, one
week, one month, and six months. These reviews are of just the key points and
take a very short time to complete.
Convene peer groups to challenge and thrash
out, summarize and paraphrase, rehearse and present, simulate and role-play. The
power here is that those with whom you collaborate most likely have learning
styles, and therefore perceptions, differing from yours.
Explain your concept map to others.
Play "What if?" Be creative by turning
things upside-down and inside-out, play devil's advocate, or temporarily embrace
a view opposite to your own.
Produce a video or a song.
Record yourself with a funny voice reading
the lesson notes.
Explain the subject to peers or younger siblings so that they can understand it.
Convert your lesson to a “Jeopardy” game.
Produce a flow chart. Create flash cards.
Create a mock test for a friend, and have a
friend do the same for you.
4. Associate, Activate, and Archive
As each lesson is completed, build a concept
map of the complete course. You can work on this with your team of classmates.
Your team can also discuss how the learning
is relevant in the real world.
Debrief your efforts. What did you do well?
What could you have done better?