5. Create mental associations.
You can shorten your learning time by creating mental associations to link what you already know to new information. Techniques such as using a familiar acronym or rhyme to help you remember different types of marketing sequences, using favorite colors to help you remember algorithms or visualizing something interesting about a client to help you remember their name are all ways for you to create mental associations.
The more mental association techniques you know how to employ, the easier it will be for you to increase your learning speed.
6. Exercise your brain.
A brain is just like any muscle in your body -- the more you exercise it, the more effective it becomes. Try learning something new, set yourself a new challenge or use fun resources like BrainHQ and Lumosity to increase your attention, memory, cognitive abilities and brain speed. The more you train and exercise your brain, the faster your learning will be.
7. Listen to alpha state-inducing music.
We have four major types of brainwave patterns: alpha, beta, theta and delta. Out of these, the alpha state (approximately eight to 13 Hz) is where our concentration is best and peak learning is easily achieved.
You can help your brain to enter into the alpha state by listening to music with a beat of eight to 13 Hz (such as baroque music) while you are learning. Even if you don’t like baroque music, you can use other types of music with similar beats. Try to avoid music with singing as lyrics can be distracting.
8. Modified practice after six hours.
Malcolm Gladwell first popularized the concept of deliberate practice in his book "Outliers: The Story of Success." Deliberate practice is practicing with intentional focus on skill improvement and focusing on growing out of one’s comfort zone. In his book, Gladwell uses the concept of deliberate practice to explain why some athletes and musicians improve so much faster than others.
More recent research has found that by modifying your practice slightly, you increase your learning speed, especially if you are trying to learn motor skills. This is because the process of modifying your practice supports brain reconsolidation where existing memories are strengthened with new knowledge. The ideal time to do your modified practice is six hours after your first practice as the brain takes about six hours to do its reconsolidation work.
9. Get hands-on experience.
Nothing beats learning like actual hands-on experience. Textbook knowledge transforms into something much more useful when we can combine it with practical knowledge.
For example, you can read as much as you want about share investing but until you actually buy your first shares of stock, you won’t understand what the process actually entails and what it is like to put real money on the line.
Another alternative is to fully immerse yourself in the experience of learning. For example, if you were trying to learn Spanish, spend a few months living in Mexico and don’t allow yourself to use any English while you are there. You will pick up the language a lot quicker than using audiobooks and textbooks.
10. Teach someone else what you are learning.
When you teach someone else what you are learning, you retain approximately 90 percent of what you have just learned, especially if you do this immediately after learning it yourself.
By sharing your knowledge with someone else, not only are you helping someone else but you will also discover quickly how well you know your subject and discover any gaps.
Build these ten habits into your learning and you will be amazed how quickly your learning speed will increase.