If you have landed on this post it is because you want to accelerate your learning by learning how to learn faster! Right?
Well, you have come to the right place. In this post, I am going to share my TOP 5 LEARNING SECRETS. That’s right these are tips to learn faster. These are strategies that I use on an almost daily basis to learn things faster. In essence, you are going to learn how to learn faster.
This will work for anyone who is learning something new. Even just using one out of the 5 of these little strategies will help you to start learning what you want to learn, faster.
Whether you are learning a new skill or hobby, starting out in business and are learning what it takes to get your business off the ground and sustain it long term. Maybe you have entered the online world of business and everything is new to you and you are so overwhelmed by information and are panicking about how you are going to learn it all!
Don’t worry, by following these 5 simple strategies you are going to be learning faster than you have ever done before. What’s more, is you are totally in control and can use these strategies to go at a speed that suits you. After all, we all learn at a different pace and sometimes, like me, have to go over things a few times before retaining all of the information. I now don’t lose any time by having to go over things repeatedly as I now learn it as I would going over it once!
These 5 Strategies are a mix of technical and non-technical endeavours to help you get that learning under your belt in super-fast time.
1. Cutting Out Distractions
One thing that slows peoples learning drastically is distractions. You can not take everything in or learn in a fluent manner if you are constantly being distracted by what is going on around you!
Even when learning in classrooms with others there are many distractions and that is why there has been a big move to online learning. Learning online, on your own, can greatly speed up the learning process as you go at your pace. No stopping and starting the lesson or getting waylaid if others in a class are stopping and asking questions all the time. You have your breaks when you want and there is no having to waste time on travelling back and forth to a place of learning either.
So, if like many others, you are currently doing most of your learning at home or on your own you are already speeding up the process. But, what about other distractions? Other people in the house, tv on in the background, outside noise and yip, even your own procrastination.
The best way to deal with all of this is actually quite simple – CUT THEM OUT!
Now I realise that many of you may live in a family unit or have kids that may distract you but you can still do this. Take everything you need to learn to a quiet place, if possible. A room, an office, the car, outside. If you want to learn, you will find a way. I often take everything into the garden on a nice day to work so I don’t get distracted by the other half doing housework or trying to chat to me. There is noise outside but nobody there to distract.
Use earplugs or headphones – if you are reading or writing and wish to concentrate why not pop in a pair of earplugs, they are inexpensive and will cut a lot of the noise out leaving you more able to concentrate and less likely to become distracted.
The important thing is to know what distracts you and cut it out. This will always save you some valuable time by not having to stop-start and maybe even go over things to find your place again.
2. Speeding Things Up
Learning these days seems to be much less about reading and more about watching and listening. More people than ever are turning to videos to learn as the visual cues often help them to remember better. Videos are a great way to learn, especially if you like to connect a little more with who is teaching you. You can see what is happening, it is often better to be visually shown something than someone to describe how to do it. If it is a video of someone talking, facial expressions and prompts are clear and can convey what is being said in a much more powerful way. Learning with technology is commonplace now and technology can often make learning more fun.
Now, videos are great and I love to learn this way too but they are also time-consuming, right? But what if you can speed things up? Yes, that is right if you are learning through a video you can indeed speed them up. This is done through the settings button on the bottom of the video screen. This is where you will find the playback speed for the video you are watching.
Most often the video can be slowed or sped up. When we listening to someone talking and even showing us certain things through a video we still learn all that is shown when the video is sped up a little. Often I learn the same with the video playback set to x1.5. Using this setting means you shave a huge 25% off the learning time. You can also double the speed of a video, although in some cases this causes too much distortion and becomes a distraction or difficult to take in.
The next time you watch a video, check it out and see if it is something you will use to speed up your learning. If you are doing a video course that lasts 10 hours by increasing the speed to x 1.5 you will complete that course in 7.5 hours. That is a huge saving of time for anyone. Especially if you are learning a completely new skill or undertaking training that you want to put into action fast. Like if you are starting a new business and are pushing forward as much as you can without missing out on what you need to learn to do so.
If you are watching a video just to re-cap as you have seen it before you may even be able to double the speed of the playback so you are getting to the parts you want to recap on quicker. You can change the settings at any point during these videos, so can slow it down for areas you really want to concentrate on or to take some notes on without stopping and starting it constantly.
3. Listen Up
A way many of us learn and gain knowledge on a plethora of subjects is through books. But, using books and reading can be a very time-consuming way of gaining that knowledge and learning, especially for those who are slow readers.
Now I love books and will always by books, but over the past few years, I have changed the way I consume the information from them. How have I changed this? By moving to Audible books. That’s right, I listen to more books than I read now. For me, sitting with a hard copy of a book now is for pure enjoyment only, and for that reason, I will always buy books. But, when it comes to learning or business books I choose to listen to them instead!
The reason for this is simply to speed up the process and be able to consume more information in a shorter period of time than I would if I was actually reading the book myself. Reading a book requires you to sit and do just that, read. By listening to a book you can start to consume them while doing other things. I listen to books while driving, walking, exercising, doing housework etc. the list is endless. I now consume 10x more books than I used to and that is simply down to being able to listen.
The other upside of audiobooks is that for me it is more cost-effective. That’s right, listening to my books also saves me money, and quite a bit too when you add it all up throughout the year. I have saved 100’s of £££’s already this year on my books by simply spending my credits wisely and taking advantage of 2for1 sales. So where do I get my audiobooks?
Audible of course. I pay a monthly subscription that entitles me to one credit per month and I always spent that credit on a book at least double the price of my subscription. I also stock up on credits when the platform allows you to buy extra credits. This results in further savings for me. I only ever BUY an audiobook if it is less than my subscription price and I know I will gain knowledge from it. And every book you buy or download (as there are also many FREE books and short stories) is yours to keep in your library forever.
You should give it a go. You can join and get a free book or 50% off your first three months before paying a subscription of £7.99 a month. Try visiting the Audible store and list the books you would like to listen too and see how much of a saving you would make. I promise you will not get a full library cheaper anywhere else.
As well as listening to books to speed up your learning you can also speed up the listening process.
Just the same as you can speed up videos you can also speed up the playback of the books you listen to. This time, however, you can set the speed to 3.5 x the normal playback speed.
For me, this is the top strategy. I can learn on the go, while in the car or even making the evening meal. Once you are able to consume more information in this way you will wonder why you hadn’t done it before. Using this strategy has also allowed me to take back some of my “free time”. Before when learning I got so bogged down with trying to cram everything in there was very little time left free that I could spend with family and loved ones.
Now that I use these strategies, this one especially I learn to double the amount each week and have freed up hours to spend with those who matter again. A win-win in my mind. Again learning with technology comes in useful and is more fun and more productive.
4. Organise Your Learning
This one might sound a little straight forward but it is worth every bit of time you spent on it. Your time is one of your biggest assets so be sure not to waste it.
Taking a little time each day or each week to organise your learning and set learning goals is crucial for not only making sure your learning is a very productive process but to also to save you going off into tangents and wasting lots of valuable time.
Set out what you want to achieve, learning wise for the day or week you are organising. Include how much time you are going to spend learning and how you are going to learn.
This can be as simple as setting a time scale for your learning i.e. set 4 hours for learning. Then set out what and how you are going to learn i.e. reading/listening to a book, watching videos, work your way through training or time to practice a skill.
The latter is where you want to really concentrate your time and get quite structured. If this is a new subject you may want to look up what information is out there and make a list of what information you want to consume and how it will be consumed. If it is videos or listening to books, note the times or how long they last. Remember you can speed this up when it comes to viewing or listening. If you are working your way through a training course try to roughly gauge how long it should take you.
Write down your plan once you have organised it and put it somewhere you will be able to see it or check on it throughout your learning so that it can keep you on track.
By organising your learning in this way it helps to keep you on track and makes your learning clear and concise. Organise and stick to it.
Top Tip: if during your learning another resource is mentioned or recommended, take a note of it. Do not simply go to it at that point during your learning unless it has been recommended for you to do so. If you are reading online or doing training online and there is a link to another piece of material or training, do not click the link, simply take a note!
Once you have finished for the day or if there is any time left at the end of learning time, then check them out. All too often people sit down with an intention to learn and then start clicking links or following recommendations and then go off-piste! That is to say, the get sidetracked and look at other things and this results in confusion. I have done this myself over the years and it can result in a whole day being wasted. Not only in learning but at work. The more organised and structured your day is the more productive it becomes.
By taking notes of other learning resources or opportunities you can check them out later and if suitable organise them into another time for learning. This way you will be able to keep hitting your learning objectives each time you make time for learning.
5. Putting into Practice
This is another place where jumping to far ahead or going off-piste can be detrimental to your learning. When it comes to putting what you have learned into practice.
It is often best to learn a small piece of information and then put it into practice than try to learn large chunks, then put this information to use. Often when you do this some information is lost or a part skipped and then you are left wondering why it is not going as you thought. Maybe you misunderstood a part of the training or learning or you have gone off and decided you know enough without completing all the training.
This can be a common mistake by those starting an online business. If they are following a business model to which there are training modules they simply follow the training or model until they reach the part about monetising their business. Then simply go off and try to run that business with what training they have completed and then get disheartened when the money is not flowing in! Often this tends to be less than halfway through the training. The fact is you need to follow the training to the end to get the best possible outcome and the rest of the knowledge to make things work. It is not just about the money but, doing things right, nurturing and growth, building relationships and fine-tuning your knowledge and skills set.
They say practice makes perfect. That is why as you learn ANY new “thing” you should take what you learn and put it into practice. Keep practising until it becomes second nature. There is no point trying to add to your knowledge until you have a good grasp of previous learning. This is another place where confusion can arise in your learning, trying to run before you walk so to speak.
Think of learning like building blocks, you need to lay a good foundation before building upwards. And every level needs to be solid before going up another or it will simply all come tumbling down. You may be able to go back at times and paper over the cracks but it will never be as good or as steady as those who took their time and built it correctly in the first place!
So if you are partaking in some online learning to build a business the ideal way to learn is to undertake a little learning each morning and then put it into practice throughout the day. If you are learning to play the guitar, watch the video and then spend time practising until you have got it down by memory or feeling. Learn a little – practice a lot. Get comfortable and confident with it and then move on.
Ready, Steady, Go
Now you have learned a few new ways to accelerate your learning what are you waiting for. Why not go and put some of these strategies into practice for your self and see how much more learning you get done in your day or week. Please just remember to put what you learn into practice and get a good grasp of it before moving on. Don’t confuse learning at speed with knowing it all.
Learning in this way allows you to either spend more time putting what you learn into practice or allowing you to learn more deeply about a subject in the same amount of time as you would learn the basics. Thus giving you a greater chance of success when your learning is put into practice.