Effective Ways to Retain Everything You Learn!

Retain Learning

Learning is the art of acquiring new knowledge & skills to enhance our overall development. The process of continuous learning keeps our mind up-to-date and also enriches the quality of our life. Retaining what we learn is quite important in our everyday life as it helps us to be effective at our work place in yielding desired results and outcomes.

We sometimes get stressed out with ‘over learning’ because of which there is a tendency to forget some important things. There are many significant ways by which one can easily retain what one has learned.

Here are a few causes of poor retention and tips to overcome.

Reasons for forgetting:

  • Lack of interest
  • Lack of proper understanding of the concept
  • Disuse – Memories do not stay for long when not reviewed or visited frequently
  • Increased preoccupations in the mind (both necessary & unnecessary)
  • Mental tensions

In order to avoid these causes of poor retention, one must effectively plan his / her method of ‘internalizing’ learning, so that it can be retained for a longer time.

Some simple techniques that will help:

  • Identify a clear purpose for learning
  • Get a thorough understanding of the material / information that you need to learn
  • Build a strong background on the subject matter
  • Avoid mental overcrowding of immaterial / unnecessary things
  • Be determined to implement whatever you learned in practical life
  • Divide the learning into manageable bites
  • Make a habit of writing while learning – Notepad helps
  • Exercise your brain – This keeps your mind fit just like body fitness

Apart from these techniques, there is a concept called “visual learning”, which involves learning from seeing a task performed. This learning style is more interactive and engaging as it includes pictures, diagrams, graphics etc., that help in remembering concepts for longer period.

I hope these tips help you in retaining learning, with positive results. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic!

Click here to view free e-Course on Positive Reinforcement

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Bhanupriya Samudrala, Specialist-Instructional Design

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4 comments on “Effective Ways to Retain Everything You Learn!
  1. David Alper says:

    There’s no reason to focus on retention.
    Focus on performance support.
    Our 24/7 access to content in all its forms replaces the need to retain.

    Let’s move away from the old school mindset of knowledge transfer from the 20th century and emphasize JIT enablement in the 21st century and who knows what else in the 22nd

    Ask me ANYTHING. If I don’t know the answer, I can get it QUICKLY

  2. Fantastic article, for, after all, we will never be able to recall everything we have learned. The keys are being able to jog our own memory when we need the information – when we are in the heat of battle and that very information is just the tool to take us over the top.

    Quality information comes from everywhere – peers, situations, training, etc. – and we have to be ready, willing and able to lap it up like milk.

    When I was a sales rep all those years ago, I jogged my memory with conveniently placed notes on my monitor or in pitch-books. I needed only see a couple keywords to get my brain on that track and spout out the well-placed information from my memory. Without all the pieces, the puzzle cannot be complete.

    So, I would say note-taking, journaling where we have risen and fallen, and learning from our mistakes…

    How often have we gotten into an argument with a significant other only to come up with a zinger hours later we wished we had used? Well, in the magical realm of sales, we can…because our next opportunity is right around the corner. Write down where we have fallen and how we could have addressed it. Use that to our advantage.

    Knowledge is power! When we embrace that and use creative methods to “retain” that knowledge, we can master our craft.

    All the best!

    Carson

  3. The easiest way I know to retain knowledge is to actively practice it; particularly for complex subjects. A good example would be converting hexidecimal numbers to binary. I used this skill daily when I was a network manager and even though it is a relatively complex process it became second nature. Now that I don’t do it anymore, the concepts are still in memory, but my recall of the process is much slower.

    I also find it important to take good care of my mind. The brain is a muscle – similar to our other muscles it can atrophy too if we’re not diligently exercising it. As we keep our minds in shape with a well rounded regimen – solving problems, memorizing, adapting communicating, imagining, listening, observing, investigating – we should find it easier and easier to approach new subjects and retain what we’ve learned.

    Don F Perkins

  4. Pete Francis Bulmer says:

    If one is looking how best to retain information for secondary language speakers in cerebral traditional way , then it is very important to focus on a students individual interests which may be very different to those in the course book that often imperialistically tells them what these are but and even then it is very important to link this to their individual involvement of those topics if it is going be relevant and sink in .

    This is not just because he or she will find it more relevant but because the student is also much more likely to use the information in the near future.

    The quicker they can use the information in their every day lives the better if they are going to be able to retain it .

    However there is only so much a student can retain and the problem is not only the question of can they retain it but can the students access the information, when they need it quickly .

    This is just as important

    If the students are not able to access what they have retained they will become overloaded and start suffering serious symptoms of information or grammar bloc and some do become as a result catatonic.

    One area that is often neglected is the ability absorb access information physiologically , mother tongue speakers of languages do not spend too much time learning their own language cerebrally but do it largely physiologically .

    Much of the information they access does not seem to consciously go deep into the brain but accessed through triggering mechanism that are connected through sound and the mouth that automatically trigger the correct reply with absolutely no thought what so ever .

    It is very ironic for a secondary speakers learning a new language and this is often completely ignored and it becomes a highly academic subject but for mother tongue speakers their language seems often closer to being a sport .

    If we recognize this there are also many ways of introducing a lot fun into the learning process through trigger and reflexing methods
    which are much quicker than using the brain directly.

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