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6 Great Project Management Tools for Students

We have all been students before. In fact, it could be estimated that many reading this article are still students. Being a student is...
HomePersonal DevelopmentStudy Skills8 Learning techniques to enhance studying and retention

8 Learning techniques to enhance studying and retention

The demands on students are many. As such, students would have to optimize their learning processes in order to keep up with the ever-increasing academic demands and also not get overwhelmed with the great stress that comes along with it.

As students, employing proper and effective studying techniques would lead to improved comprehension of school materials. Additionally, proper learning techniques help the many students who employ them properly to have increased retentive capabilities.

In this article, we will explore the existing learning techniques, memory enhancement strategies, and active learning methods to help students manage and not be overwhelmed by their studying process while retaining knowledge effectively.

1. Understanding different Study Techniques:

a) Pomodoro Technique: This learning technique is a rather popular and straight-forward method. What students or learners are expected to do is divide the study period into 25-minute intervals. After every 25 minutes, learners are encouraged to take short breaks. Studies have proven that this technique helps learners maintain focus and prevent being burned out. During these study periods, learners are expected to do exercises that help them recollect what is being learned.

b) SQ3R Method: This learning technique is: survey, question, read, recite, and review. For learners interested in this learning technique, they are to follow the method in the sequence in which the alphabets and numbers appear. As such, learners must survey what is being learned, raise great questions about what is to be learned or should be learned, and then go further to read, recite, and then review what has been read. This learning technique has proved useful to many learners who have used it.

c) Cornell Note-taking System: For this learning technique, learners are encouraged to divide up the page into some major sections. These sections would include a portion for main ideas, another for subheadings, and the final portion for a summary. What this does is help students organise have a proper structure that they can study. Additionally, it gives learners a pattern that helps with recollection.

2. Employing Memory Enhancement Strategies:

a) Spaced Repetition: As the name of this memory enhancement technique suggests, it involves a lot of repetition. Learners are encouraged to review and try to recall materials that have been studied at intervals. To make it more effective, learners are encouraged to increase the duration between repetitions gradually. This memory enhancement and learning technique improves long-term retention and reduces the chances of learners forgetting what they have studied.

b) Mnemonic Devices: Remember this? “My Very Eyes May Just See Under Nine Planted or “My Very Educated (or Eager) Mother Just Served Us Nine Potatoes (or Pizzas)” These are very great examples of mnemonics that helped us recall the nine planets with ease. This memory enhancement / learning technique has been proven to help learners recall what has been studied. As such, learners are encouraged to use these devices and some rhyming schemes to help with recollection.

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c) Retrieval Practice: With this technique, learners are encouraged to practice recalling information that has been studied from memory. Practicing this often is an amazing exercise that helps learners strengthen neural connections. This also eventually leads to better retention. Flashcards, quizzes, and self-testing can be effective tools for this technique.

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3. Engaging in Active Learning Techniques:

a) Group Discussions: There is immense power in collaborative learning. This is because this learning technique encourages all learners to actively participate in the activity. Additionally, this learning technique stimulates critical thinking and exposes students who partake in it to different perspectives. While learners using this learning technique explain concepts they have learned to their colleagues, the subjects reinforce understanding and enhance memory retention.

b) Teaching Others: Similar to the group discussion learning technique, this technique and art of teaching require the learners to already have a deep understanding of the subject at hand. Further explaining the subject matter to colleagues would help them learn and get a better grasp of the subject matter while also identifying any gaps in understanding.

c) Visualization Techniques: This learning technique demands that learners create mental images or diagrams while studying, which can improve comprehension and recall. Associating information with vivid mental images enhances memory retrieval.

4. Maintaining a Healthy Study Environment:

a) Eliminate Distractions: It is essential that for learners to grasp their studies, they find quiet places that are very free from distractions. These distractions could be social media, noise, or interruptions. Quiet and safe spaces make for better study places. Learners are also encouraged to create study routines that align with personal productivity patterns.

b) Optimal Study Conditions: For learners to be comfortable enough to study, the stated study environments must have a few things in place. These include, but are not limited to, proper lighting, comfortable seating, and an organized workspace. When these things are put in place, learners can be assured of enhanced concentration and effective learning.

c) Adequate Rest and Breaks: We cannot understate the importance of adequate breaks and rest for learners. It is essential that learners take regular breaks and have sufficient sleep. These are two simple yet crucial activities that help to consolidate memory and prevent fatigue. In fact, studies show that taking short naps during study breaks can significantly improve retention.

5. Utilizing Technology for Learning Optimization:

a) Digital Tools: Learners are encouraged to embrace fully the many digital tools and modern technology that have been built and are backed by science to help improve their learning experiences. These could include the immense range of educational apps that exist for all operating systems, online platforms, and digital resources available to enhance studying. Additionally, there have been many traditional learning techniques and aids that help optimize learning. These could include flashcard apps, interactive quizzes, and virtual simulations. These tools make learning more engaging and effective for all learners.

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b) Online Resources and Videos: Access to online resources and videos is of immense additional value to learners in modern-day dispensation. Here’s why. Learners can now easily access learning and teaching resources. These resources could be text-based or online videos and audios that provide in-depth information and additional knowledge on an endless array of subjects.

c) Note-taking Apps: Note-taking and summaries have become easy for learners again because of the many digital tools that exist. The situation could be made even simpler for learners if they use note-taking apps that allow synchronization across devices. What this means is that learners can access their information and study materials anytime, anywhere.

6. Prioritizing and Organizing Study Material:

a) Break down the material: Bulky subjects and materials could be frightening. This could discourage learners from actually learning what they have to. But there is a way around that. What do learners have to do? Well, it is simple. Learners can divide complex topics into smaller bit. This allows for better comprehension and memorization using the learning techniques and memory enhancement tips discussed above. Learners are also encouraged to create study schedules. Allocate time to these subject based on the learners assessment of the subject’s level of importance or difficulty.

b) Utilize study aids: There are many study tools that are available to students. These could be digital or just materials. These aids, include but not limited to highlighters, sticky notes, and colour-coding notes. These are known to help learners to emphasize important points, create visual cues, and easily locate information during reviews and recollection exercises.

c) Organize study materials: Chaos within learning spaces is not a sign that healthy learning can happen there. That is why learners are encouraged to keep all their study materials in order. Whether these study materials are physical textbooks, digital files, or online resources, they must be arranged in a way that is easy to access and appealing to the eye, but even more important is for these items to be arranged in a comfortable way. An organized approach saves time and reduces stress for all learners.

7. Mindfulness and Stress Management:

a) Practice mindfulness: Learners are encouraged to incorporate mindfulness techniques, such as deep breathing exercises or meditation while learning. Studies have shown that these activities help reduce stress for learners while also improving focus, and enhancing overall cognitive abilities.

b) Exercise and physical activity: Regular exercises and fitness regimes are not only so that individuals look good or stay in shape. Again, studies have shown and continue to show that regular exercises by learners and all individuals, for that matter, boost cognitive function, memory, and attention span. We thus encourage learners to engage in physical activities like jogging, yoga, or sports as these can be immensely beneficial for both mental and physical well-being.

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c) Balancing study and leisure: There is a popular saying, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” We have not paid much attention to this statement but may be it is time that we do. Studies have shown that allowing time for eadequate time to engage in favourite hobbies, relaxation, and socializing is important for stress management. When you are overworked or continue to overlook personal interests it can lead to burnout and hinder learning efficiency.

8. Continuous Review and Self-Assessment:

Regularly review learned material: Learners are tasked set aside time for regular review of sessions that have been studied to reinforce knowledge and prevent forgetting. Spaced repetition techniques as was discussed above can help optimize long-term retention. In line with that, self quizzess and assements are extremely helpful.

Let us try to recap what has already been stated in the above article. In doing that, we have to first restate that for learners to succeed in their academics, it is essential that they optimize their learning techniques and enhance study methods. Learners are reminded of the very simple learning techniques that have been discussed in this article. These learning techniques must be adopted. They are the Pomodoro Technique, SQ3R Method, and the Cornell Note-Taking System. These learning techniques have been shown to improve focus and organization.

Additionally, this article discussed some memory enhancement strategies like spaced repetition, mnemonic devices, and retrieval practice that aid in long-term retention. We also discussed active learning techniques, including group discussions, teaching others, and visualization techniques, to promote deeper understanding and memory consolidation. We also drew the attention of learners to the fact that maintaining a healthy study environment and taking regular breaks ensure optimal learning conditions.

By implementing these learning techniques and strategies, students can optimize their studying process and retain knowledge effectively, leading to improved academic performance and overall success. Remember, learning should not be a passive activity; it should be an engaging and dynamic journey toward acquiring knowledge and skills. Learning, for all learners, remains an ongoing process that requires time and, most importantly, consistency.

We would like to conclude by reminding learners that every individual has their own unique learning style and preferences. We thus encourage you, as learners, to experiment with different learning techniques and adapt these learning techniques to suit your needs. By embracing these learning techniques, using the right digital tools and technology, maintaining a healthy study environment, and managing stress effectively, learners are assured that they can optimize their learning experiences and pave the way for success.