Sunday, January 30, 2011

More of The Top 111 Learning Strategies

Let's face it—sometimes real life is just too much. We've all been there, staring at the face of our boss or professor, knowing words are coming from his mouth, but hearing nothing, absorbing nothing, learning nothing.
Well, we'd like to help you out with that. We've compiled the best 111 tricks to keep you on top of your intellectual game. With these tips, you'll remember more, come up with better ideas, and be able to communicate your thoughts better.
We have 13 sections of different strategies, so make sure you check them out all. They cover everything from avoiding caffeine to solving riddles to making up songs to using aromatherapy.
Also, for more articles on learning, check out our Tips and Tools section. We have some great article like The Art of Concentration and The Best Compilation of Time Management Resources on the Web.

Improve Memory

Having a spotty memory isn't only annoying—it can throw a real wrench into your productivity. Luckily, the many tricks that exist to improve your memory aren't very hard to implement in your life. They really just involve a little restructuring of the way you go about your day, like eating a bowl of blueberries instead of Fruity Pebbles for breakfast, for instance. And, scientists have learned that engaging in the type of mental exercise we recommend can actually slow the onset of dementia and help you keep a healthy brain further into old age. (American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry)
  1. Use mnemonic devices
  2. These learning tricks, like acronyms and rhymes, make remembering lists and details easier.
  3. Eat Ginkgo Biloba
  4. This natural supplement enhances memory and concentration and can be found in traditional Chinese cuisine.
  5. Do brain exercises
  6. Brain exercises stimulate the pre-frontal cortex and improve memory.
  7. Avoid excessive drinking
  8. Too much alcohol impairs memory and problem-solving ability.
  9. Seek treatment for depression
  10. Depressed individuals have high levels of cortisone, which can diminish function in multiple portions of the brain.
  11. Avoid caffeine
  12. Caffeine affects blood flow to the brain and can impede memory function.
  13. Reduce Stress
  14. Stress taxes your body's systems and affects overall brain functioning.
  15. Reduce Cholesterol
  16. Elevated cholesterol levels can increase the chances of developing dementia. Try eating more garlic and less red meat.
  17. Eat brain foods
  18. Nutrient-rich foods help with brain development and maintenance. Try eating more salmon, blueberries, and vegetables for starters.
  19. Increase your vocabulary
  20. Learning new words not only exercises your memory, but it will also help you form and communicate your ideas better.
  21. Write, don't type
  22. Writing requires more time and concentration than typing does, which improves your chances of remembering the content.

Increase Your Concentration

Today, we're bombarded with more information and means of entertainment than ever before. While those reams of online journals might be great for working on your current research project, it's easy to get distracted from real work by links to cute cat videos or the latest episode of your favorite sitcom. Taking the time to identify what's distracting you and to make small changes in the way you work can mean you actually use today's glut of information for good, and not for evil (Yes, we just identified cute cats as evil—but only when you're trying to work!).
  1. Get rid of distractions
  2. This minimizes the time you spent on unimportant things and also forces you to focus on the task at hand.
  3. Focus on one thing at a time
  4. Focusing on a single task makes it easier to master one thing and also stops you from being overwhelmed.
  5. Identify the essentials
  6. When you can identify the most important aspects of a problem, it's often easier to tackle it effectively.
  7. Cut down on TV
  8. TV can waste time and fill your head with unimportant information.
  9. Slow down
  10. Taking your time can help you see you things properly.
  11. Solve puzzles and riddles
  12. Puzzles improve your problem solving skills and also exercise your concentration.
  13. Keep a journal
  14. Keeping a journal helps you figure out what's important and what deserves your attention.
  15. Take breaks
  16. Breaks rejuvenate you and get you ready for the task at hand.
  17. Vary your activities
  18. Switching gears will keep you from getting bored.

Improve Your Health

According to Mark Twain, "The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don't want, drink what you don't like, and do what you'd druther not." While we wouldn't go that far, staying on top of your health does require a little maintenance. There's no way around it though—it's impossible to be at your brain at its best without paying attention to the demands of the rest of your body.
  1. Drink more water
  2. Hydration keeps your heart healthy, gives you energy, and prevents and cures headaches, among other things.
  3. Eat breakfast
  4. Eating breakfast helps to moderate your blood sugar and keeps your brain fueled.
  5. Check your medications
  6. Keep track of your medications and pay special attention to side effects that may impair your ability to learn.
  7. See your doctor
  8. There's no better way to make sure your body and brain are functioning properly than to have regular check-ups with your doctor.
  9. Avoid excessive sugar
  10. High blood glucose levels negatively affects your memory center and impairs overall brain functioning.
  11. Take vitamins
  12. Vitamins help you fight illness and improve your overall health.
  13. Eat a balanced diet
  14. A good diet helps you keep your blood sugar levels, immune system, and energy in check.
  15. Eat regularly
  16. Regular meals help your metabolism and keep your blood sugar levels low.
  17. Pay attention to your body
  18. If you're feeling tired or sick, you won't be a good learner. Paying attention to your body helps you sense problems so you can solve them before they get worse.
  19. Get a flu shot
  20. The flu keeps millions of people out of work and school every year.

Increase Your Motivation

Sometimes, a big part of really kicking yourself into gear is tricking your mind into believing that the task at hand is what you actually want to be doing, rather than say, lounging in a pair of PJs in front of the TV. Much of this trick of motivation is simply not being a productivity goldfish—you've got to remember why you're doing something and where it's going to get you in the end so you're not distracted by the immediate pleasures of the flesh.
  1. Remind yourself why you want to do something
  2. Your reasons for learning will help motivate you and remind you of why you should keep at it.
  3. Reward yourself
  4. When you look forward to a reward, you'll work harder and remember more.
  5. Challenge yourself
  6. When tasks are challenging, you're less likely to get bored and more likely to stay focused on the task at hand.
  7. Divide tasks into smaller parts
  8. A large job will seem less daunting when divided into smaller, more manageable parts.
  9. Praise yourself
  10. Praise is an excellent motivator, so if you're not getting enough from your co-workers or boss, give it to yourself.
  11. Plan your tasks
  12. By planning ahead, you'll be better able to monitor your progress and see your accomplishments.
  13. Set goals
  14. Sets of goals work like checklists; once you get a couple done, you'll want to just move ahead and cross them all off the list.
  15. Stop procrastinating
  16. You can't learn something if you don't ever get it a chance; stop wasting time and just get to it.
  17. Set a deadline
  18. A firm deadline will keep you on track and make sure you get done what needs to get done.
  19. Learn about your tasks
  20. When you know exactly what's expected, you're more likely to be comfortable taking them head-on.

Use Verbal Techniques

Words and sounds can become deep footprints in the fresh clay of our minds—just think of that cereal jingle from 10 years ago that still replays in your brain from time to time. You can repurpose this long-used verbal technique from advertisers and elementary-school teachers, and put it to use in your own life. Saying it out loud -- whether it be singing, rhyming, or just free associating -- can be a great way to focus and tune in your mind.
  1. Talk out loud
  2. For some, hearing information makes it easier to remember.
  3. Brainstorm
  4. Talking it out with your colleagues can help you come up with new ideas and also cement old ones in your mind.
  5. Teach someone else
  6. By teaching another person, you will gain a better understanding of the subject.
  7. Rhyme
  8. Making rhymes can help you remember key terms.
  9. Use word association
  10. By associating new words with familiar words, you will find it much easier to remember the new ones.
  11. Use repetition
  12. Sometimes repeating an idea can help you memorize it more quickly.
  13. Sing it
  14. People have a natural affinity for songs, so if you can insert your ideas into a tune you know, you'll be more likely to remember it.
  15. Ask questions
  16. Asking the right questions can help you learn extra, unexpected facts.

Use Auditory Techniques

We commonly take information in through our eyes, but reading isn't the only way to learn and remember. Switching it up can keep your brain on its toes and reinvigorate your ability to pay attention when you're tired of staring at a page. Hearing information on top of reading it will also add an extra layer of association in your brain and make it that much easier to recall what you've learned at a later point.
  1. Listen to music
  2. Music is shown to increase recall; playing a song you were listening to when you learned something brings back that memory.
  3. Record yourself and listen to it
  4. Hearing your own voice say things makes it easier to remember them.
  5. Learn a second language
  6. Learning a second language helps you to better understand the mechanics of speech in general.
  7. Tell stories
  8. Putting the facts in a fictional story can help you associate and remember them.
  9. Listen to podcasts
  10. With podcasts, you can learn on-the-go and learn anywhere; being constantly exposed to information can help it sink in.
  11. Close your eyes
  12. Repeating facts without looking at them can help you remember them.
  13. Record and replay lectures
  14. When replaying information, you may hear facts that you missed the first time.
  15. Sound it out
  16. Divide phrases into words and words into syllables to help you remember the whole thing.

Use Visual Aids

Unless you're one of the few lucky people with a photographic memory, your mind might need a little help now and then. Savvy people know that the key to remembering all your daily tasks isn't to have the brain of a 15 year old; the key is simply to leave enough bread crumbs for your brain to pick up on, like check lists, sticky notes, or other organizational devices. At work, brainstorming visually can help get your brain out a stale thinking patte
  1. Make charts
  2. Visual representations of ideas can help you understand and remember.
  3. Make outlines
  4. Organizing information can make it easier to learn.
  5. Make sketches
  6. By sketching the finished product, you'll have a better idea of what you're working toward.
  7. Spread out
  8. Arrange your notes and materials around you on the floor or table. Being able to see everything at once may help you come up with new ideas.
  9. Use symbols
  10. Use symbols to represent words or formulas. This stimulates different parts of your brain and improves memory.
  11. Make checklists
  12. Creating checklists helps you organize your thoughts, arrange your priorities, and keep you pushing through your work.
  13. Use flashcards
  14. Flipping flash cards can helpy you memorize key terms and ideas.
  15. Use flowcharts
  16. Flowcharts can help you put your ideas in a logical sequence.
  17. Use post-its
  18. By putting your ideas out where you can see them, you'll be more likely to remember them.

Boost Your Energry

There's nothing like trying to do a difficult task when running on empty. Fatigue can turn the smallest obstacle into something grotesque and seemingly insurmountable; think Black Friday shopping after skipping breakfast, only to find that a more energized father grabbed the last Dora the Explorer backpack—the only thing your kid wanted for Christmas! If only you'd taken care of yourself and nurtured your sources of energy, like diet and rest, you wouldn't have ended up a crazed Target shopper on the 5 o'clock news. Alas.
  1. Sleep more
  2. This one's simple: your body needs rest to feel eneergized each day.
  3. Do diaphragmatic breathing
  4. Deep breathing helps to circulate oxygen-rich red cells throughout your body, which gives you energy.
  5. Exercise regularly
  6. Exercise increases production of endorphones.
  7. Keep a schedule
  8. A regular schedule helps your body regulate its cycle and keep your energy levels high throughout the day.
  9. Get more sunlight
  10. Exposure to sunlight triggers production of seratonin.
  11. Take herbal supplements
  12. Bee pollen, gutu kola, and maitake can help boost energy.
  13. Try acupuncture
  14. Acupuncture stimulates the nervous system, which has been shown to increase energy.
  15. Get a massage
  16. Chakra energy massages use foot reflexology to tap into chakras, enegy centers, that are located in the feet.
  17. Take a hot shower
  18. A hot shower is invigorating and refreshing.
  19. Laugh
  20. Laughter makes you feel more positive and gives you a boost.

Clear Your Mind

A big part of being at your mental best is knowing when it's time to take a break. Sure, you'll get more work done now if you continue to slog through your mental haze, but you're likely to better maximize your time by clearing your head first. And, thanks to science, you no longer have to feel guilty about grabbing a little shut-eye before you continue onward with your current task; short power naps have been proven to boost creativity and productivity. (Seidman Business Review)
  1. Go for a walk
  2. Walking gets your blood flowing, relaxes you, and rejuvenates you.
  3. Meditate
  4. Meditation helps you to relax and let go of distractions and stress.
  5. Use visualization techniques
  6. When you visualize yourself achieving goals, it makes it easier to reach them.
  7. Listen to soothing music
  8. Music can improve your mood and help you feel calm.
  9. Take a nap
  10. You can't be at the top of your game if you're exhausted. Taking a nap can re-charge and energize your mind and body.
  11. Do yoga
  12. Yoga releases tension and promotes feelings of well-being.
  13. Find a quiet place
  14. A quiet place of your own provides comfort and security to help you learn.
  15. Focus your breathing
  16. Focused breathing slows your heart rate and calms you down.
  17. Go outside
  18. A natural setting can be a good change of pace and can help change your mindset.
  19. Talk it out
  20. Venting can help you sort out your thoughts and can also make you feel better.


Those oft-quoted words of Gandhi apply to many intellectual situations: "Be the change you wish to see in the world." If you're not satisfied with your ability learn and grow, maybe there are some tweaks you can make in your own personality that can make a difference. Cultivating the sides of yourself that can help you excel, such as patience, curiosity, and persistence, is a lot easier than trying to adjust the world to your needs.
  1. Be positive
  2. Positive thoughts and feelings make learning more fun, which increases your motivation.
  3. Be persistent
  4. Persistance allows you to achieve your goals.
  5. Be curious
  6. Curiosity helps you continue learning and lets you look at things with new eyes and a fresh perspective.
  7. Be a copy cat
  8. Emulating the habits of successful people is one of the best ways to learn.
  9. Be critical
  10. Being critical of your work allows you to make improvements.
  11. Be flexible
  12. Being willing to change at the drop of a dime makes you better prepared to learn new concepts.
  13. Be patient
  14. Don't give up! If you keep trying, you'll get it eventually.

Improve Your Environment

One of the simplest ways to boost your brain power is to get rid of the things in your nearby environment that are bringing you down. Because face it, if your desk chair is giving you a backache and you're listening to the TV blaring in the next room, you're going to have a hard time doing your best work, no matter how pristine your mental state is. Your outside work environment should reflect the internal, mental state that you're trying to achieve.
  1. Create a study area
  2. A designated place to study will help you to focus.
  3. Clean your desk
  4. A clean desk allows to maximize your space.
  5. Re-organize
  6. Getting rid of unneccessary stuff gives you a clear desk and a clear mind and puts the right things at your fingertips.
  7. Get the right tools
  8. You'll be able to work quickly, and without distraction, when you have all the right tools within reach.
  9. Get comfortable
  10. When you're physically comfortable, you can focus on learning.
  11. Improve your lighting
  12. Proper lighting will reduce eye strain and allow you to work longer without getting tired.
  13. Decrease noise
  14. A quiet environment will minimize distractions and help you concentrate.
  15. Get inspired
  16. Make your work space attractive, colorful, or whatever inspires you--this will help keep you excited about your work.
  17. Use aromatherapy
  18. Certain scents like citrus are uplifting and energizing, while other scents like lavender are relaxing--use them to your advantage.


Life's learning opportunities don't always come in the classroom or other neat settings, and neither do the opportunities for exercising your brain. Seemingly unrelated circumstances can arise to give you an opportunity to work through a problem or learn something new. These other miscellaneous strategies can keep you on your mental toes in order to catch a brilliant idea, whether it happens at the bus stop or in your executive leather office chair.
  1. Practice
  2. Practice makes perfect--it's as simple as that.
  3. Always carry a notebook
  4. Good ideas come at random times and having a notebook means you'll never forget them. It will also help organize your thoughts and help you remember things by writing them down.
  5. Read a lot
  6. Reading stimulates all sorts of regions of the brain and helps you become a better learner.
  7. Problem-solve whenever you can
  8. When you run into roadblocks, problem solving techniques can help you work through.
  9. Role play
  10. By working through real-life situations, you'll be able to more fully understand your ideas.
  11. Collaborate
  12. Working in groups allows you to share ideas and get ideas from others.
  13. Try to enjoy learning
  14. It's much easier to devote your time to something you enjoy. so get your head in the game!
  15. Review
  16. Regularly review what you've already done, so you don't forget later.
  17. Find examples
  18. Find examples of your finished product, and you'll get a better idea of what you need to accomplish.
  19. Take notes
  20. Take notes, so you can remember questions and ideas later.

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