Life is a perpetual learning process. Especially the time until early adulthood is characterized by learning in school, training and study. During this time, skills are formed for the future, designed to prepare young people for working life. Learning itself provides the foundation of the whole. But how does one learn correctly? How to ensure that each student follows the best methods and strategies that suit him or her?
It is clear that these questions are far too rarely addressed, which naturally leads to them remaining unanswered. The result: frustration and no fun in learning. While toddlers are introduced to new tasks through play, few students* today say they enjoy learning.
It is all the more important that young people educate themselves in the field of learning. That is exactly why we have compiled the most important methods, tips and learning strategies below, so that learning is fun and successful again.
How does learning work?
Learning works individually – but there is one basic rule that everyone must follow regardless of learning type. The rule is: learning only works when new knowledge develops based on existing knowledge.
This means nothing else than that learning success requires that the memory can successively process the information that a student wants to learn. This can be ensured by always asking the question about the starting point and the goal in the learning process. If these points are well defined and we always start from our existing knowledge, the learning success will be many times greater.
In order to understand learning methods, it is first of all crucial to understand which senses there are and what role they play in learning. In this context, people often talk about "learning types", which aims to classify individuals according to the expression of their senses. However, it is not that simple, because people are more complex in their learning behavior. Often the learning situation plays an important role or the combination of two or more methods leads to success ("mixed types").
These are the 5 basic learning methods:
- Auditory → Learning by listening
- visual → learning by seeing
- motoric → learning by touch, movement
- Verbal-logical → learning by reading, analyzing
- Communicative → learning through conversations
The term "learning strategy" is often misunderstood. Because when people talk about learning strategies, they might think there is a clear guide to learning out there that is all-encompassing and fits the individual perfectly. This is then meticulously searched for – in vain.
In reality, it looks like this: A perfect Learning strategy is composed of many individual measures, which are determined and defined on the basis of empirical values. In concrete terms, this means that if you can answer the following questions for yourself, actions can be derived from this to form your learning strategy:
- When do I learn best? (times of day, time intervals, breaks)
- How do I learn best? (Reading through content, reciting it, writing it down, etc.).)
- With what do I learn best? (Reference books, explanatory videos, etc.)
- Where do I learn best? (At one’s own desk, in the living room, in the library, etc).)
- With whom do I learn best? (alone vs. with a learning partner)
- How do I check my knowledge? (solving test tasks, explaining, question-answer learning sheets, etc.)
The derived measures taken together will result in your individual learning strategy. So if your current strategy is not working and the results are not right, then you should ask yourself the above questions. If you follow up very specifically on these questions, you will quickly find out where the problem (resp. your potential!) lies. This is then where you need to start to improve your learning strategy.
Once your learning strategy is outlined and the most important questions are answered, it’s time to optimize your learning strategy. There are many starting points.
We have summarized 10 effective learning tips for you below, which can help you regardless of your learning type.
Below you will find 10 effective learning tips that can help you regardless of your learning type.
1. Have a fixed place to study& Fixed learning times
Effective learning works best when you make a habit of it. Habits require that something happens in the same way over and over again – this is how routine develops. Therefore, you should set up a fixed learning place where you study every day. It is not necessary that you are there alone or that you have the room only for yourself. It should, however, provide a calm learning atmosphere.
2. Create a learning atmosphere
Often the optimal learning atmosphere is disturbed by the fact that the cell phone is lying on the table, a series is running in the background or people are talking in between. This has a particularly negative effect on learning success. Quiet background music is acceptable but at best without lyrics. Anything that makes the brain have to process additional information while the student is learning weakens the learning success.
3. Recognize learning types
No learning method works the same for every student. That’s why it’s important to test different learning methods and check whether they match your own learning types. Parents who want to support their children in this process can, for example, read out, write or sketch the learning material and then have their child repeat it back to them.
4. Reduce pressure
Many children feel that they are under enormous pressure to perform well. It is important to realize that this pressure can easily lead to frustration. This results in the attitude "I won’t be able to do it anyway" and the motivation disappears. Mistakes must be allowed and problems should be perceived as challenges. Parents can contribute greatly to this.
5. Learning plan
As mentioned at the beginning, learning only works with structure. A learning plan, which specifies fixed times and topics, is correspondingly central. The student’s own learning pace should be taken into account and also that learning involves more than just reading content once. A realistic plan motivates and gives pleasure in learning, which helps you remember more. Repetition and application of learned knowledge make the real difference in a test/exam or class assignment.
Very few students prepare properly for learning. However, preparing an overview of the topics according to their relevance and selecting the materials can contribute to an increased learning effect. At the same time, preparation prepares the brain for the information and enables it to store it better.
It can be demotivating to work toward a distant goal, such as high school graduation. What helps to keep the motivation high is to aim for smaller milestones. Achieving this gives self-confidence and positive energy to keep going on the way to the big goal.
8. Take breaks
The brain works best when it is not overloaded and has time to process information. Regular breaks, in which the student goes out into the fresh air or does sports, are absolutely essential for learning success. These should be included in the learning plan (see 5.) are taken into account.
9. Start simple
When learning, keep in mind that the brain needs a certain amount of time to "warm up". Accordingly, you should start with an easy task. Difficult tasks are often daunting, which is why people do not even begin to work through the learning material. Start simple and then increase the difficulty when you’re in your flow.
10. Use "cheat sheets"
Writing cheat sheets has a great effect on your learning success. Because you limit yourself when writing the notes very much to the most relevant content. The thrill of creating such a cheat sheet (which you should not use on the test, of course) usually leads to increased concentration and better memorization skills.
You can use the cheat sheets afterwards besides very well for repeating.