Six tips to help your brain learn anything faster

Have you ever wanted to learn a new language or a new skill but found retaining the information has proved more than challenging? A study by Pew Research Centre has revealed ‘placed based learning’ is vital to ensuring lifelong learning.

Learning things quickly can put you ahead of the pack, but just how can you learn and retain information faster?

Science comes to the rescue.

1. Act like you’re teaching
Utilise the skills you already have by acting like you need to teach someone the information you are trying to grasp. A study done at the Washington University in St Louis has found that this approach can help speed up your learning and allow you to remember more because you engage your brain in a more effective way.

2. Physically write things down
Of course it’s easier to take notes on a smartphone or a laptop or a tablet, but when you use a pen and paper it helps you get a better understanding of what you are trying to learn. Research suggests that when you take notes by hand you also listen more actively and can identify important concepts.

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3. Exercise and eat well
You all know the importance of a balanced diet and a good dose of exercise for your health and wellbeing, but just as you all know it, how many of you follow such advice? Anything you do to keep your brain sharp can be reversed if you don’t keep your body active and healthy.

4. Use short bursts of learning time
According to the Center for Academic Success at Louisiana State University, if you dedicate between 30 and 50 minutes to learning something new you are more likely to retain it.

5. Become a storyteller
You can exercise your brain just by telling a story. The process makes things easier to remember because the structure in which you are learning is far more compelling. You focus on the important details when you tell a story and the inclusion of emotion helps you associate feelings with what you are learning. Story telling has been found to be an effective treatment for those with Alzheimer’s disease.

6. Use an app
There are a great many web apps on the market to provide specialised brain training activities. The exercises are often basic and they designed to be fun (which keeps you coming back), but if you want to improve your memory this is just one way of doing it and because it’s an app you’ll likely get an update on whether or not you are developing as you go along.

Do you have any to add?