Learning Technologies Newsletter

ISSUE 98 - September 2013 - by Phil Chambers

TIME TO READ: 3.5 minutes (average reader) - less than a minute (Speed Reader) - Word Count: 819 To learn more about Speed Reading Contact us or read my book Brillaint Speed Reading.

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Welcome to the September 2013 issue of the Learning Technologies Newsletter. Please continue to forward it to friends and colleagues who you think would find it useful.

In this edition of the newsletter we have an article on Study Skills to coincide with the September return to school, News from the UK Open Memory Championships and our regular features of quote of the month and Mind Map Tip.


September's Quote of the Month

"Most executives, many scientists,
and almost all business school graduates
believe that if you analyze data,
this will give you new ideas.
Unfortunately, this belief is totally wrong.
The mind can only see what it is prepared to see."

~ Edward de Bono

More quotes here

Mind Mapping Tip of the Month

pencils Experiment with different media – fibre, felt or brush tip pens, watercolour or acrylic paint, colouring pencils, gel ink pens, crayons, pastels – the list is endless.

For 101 Top Tips see my book here.


The UK Open Memory Championships

Congratulations to Jonas von Essen from Sweden who won The UK Open Memory Championships. Ben Pridmore took the tile of UK Champion with James Paterson in Silver and Mike Outram in Bronze medal position (full results here). The event went very well and attracted media coverage in the London Times and Independent newspapers, Yahoo News on the internet and BBC Breakfast News on TV (click here to watch the interview with Jonas).


Back to School

Student September spells the end of summer and sees the kids going back to school. The shops are full of deals on pencil cases, grey trousers and white shirts. However, starting a new school or a new academic year gives a more profound opportunity than merely a change of uniform. It should be a change of attitude. Start right, begin as you mean to continue.

Learning, whether at school or in later life for professional qualifications, is all about making new connections in your brain. These start off very fragile and fleeting but need to be reinforced through repetition and review.

If you were building a house you would make sure that the concrete foundations were set before starting to build the walls. In learning, you have to make sure that each component of the subject is retained before the next part is added. All to often we take reams of notes, file them away in neat ring binders and put them on a shelf. Then when exams draw near we take them down and try to memorise all the contents. Nothing is consolidated during the learning process.

How do you retain what you learn as you learn it? It’s quite simple really and just takes as bit of self-discipline. Every evening, take the notes from each lesson that day and build a summary Mind Map for each subject. In some cases you may have to do a new Mind Map each day but mostly you will build one up over the course of a week or so as new information is taught. Then the vital bit happens. After each addition (of say, half and hour) take a 10 minute break then review the whole Mind Map. When a Mind Map is ‘finished’ don’t file it away never to be seen for months. Review it the next day. One week later try to recreate it from memory. Compare this with the original and pay special attention to anything you forgot. Make two more reviews after a month and, if time, after 3 months.

Getting in the habit of regular reviews consolidates each new piece of learning. This makes it far easier to take in new information. In any well-structured course of study new material fits with what has come before, like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. The more pieces you have fixed down the easier it is to add new pieces. The more you remember about a subject, the easier it is to make the necessary connections and association to learn more. Start the revision from the first day of term. Don’t wait till exams. You will be less stressed and find learning a breeze. I know I keep banging on about the importance of review but this is only because it is so vital to success. The whole schools system is deeply flawed with the notion of ‘study leave’ in the run up to exams. If you have kids or are studying yourself please don’t fall into the trap of last minute revision.

That’s it for this month. I’ll be back in touch with the next newsletter in early October.

Best Wishes