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How to Improve Learning Skills?

by Vijay Garg
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In general, the skills that are required for learning are often termed as learning skills.  Sometimes Learning skills are also called a study, research or academic skills. These are the skills which differentiate the good learners from the poor learners. When learning skills are taught to a poor learner, he may also become a good learner. The first and the foremost thing required for good learning skills is understanding the need to study or learn. When a person has mastered the learning skills, he gains more confidence. This has a direct impact on the student’s result. It causes a great hike in the student’s academic result.
What are 21st Century Learning Skills?
The 21st-century learning skills include 4 C’s-
Critical Thinking
Creative Thinking
Critical Thinking: Critical thinking is putting the focus on a topic to understand it deeply and think upon it. When we talk about the left brain activity, we are talking about critical thinking. Critical thinking ability includes:
Analyzing that means breaking it into small parts an examining each part separately and examining how each part is joined with each other.
Arguing to the statements present in front of you. Look for evidences and reasons before believing or reaching to the conclusion.
Classifying something into groups and knowing how each and every thing is different from the others.
Comparing two or more subjects and finding differences or similarities between them.
Describing a term or a thing in terms of logical or physical aspects.
Evaluating a thing against a given standard or measure.
Explaining the topic or the theories behind it.
Finding causes and effects of a problem and ways to solve it.
Determining the cause of something which happened and knowing its after effects.
Creative Thinking: Creative thinking is thinking open-mindedly. It does not have any restrictions on what the person is thinking. The person thinks about the future discoveries and new technologies which may be invented. Creative thinking ability includes:
Asking questions about new and different ideas and listening to all the possible practical and even the impractical answers.
Creating a new thing by combing different items or materials according to a predefined plan.
Designing something for a particular task which is perfectly fit for it.
Entertaining other people by means of self-made stories, jokes, riddles etc.
Imagining ideas which may be impractical, impossible or unknown till now.
Innovating something which never existed before.
Turning over a topic, that is, thinking about a topic with an entirely new perspective.
Solving a problem and bringing about one or more possible solutions.
Questioning about what is unknown to you.
Communication: Communicating is the process of putting your own thoughts in someone else’s mind and receiving back their response. The basic abilities required for communicating are:
Analyzing the situation.
Choosing a medium for communicating.
Deciding whether the message to be transferred is accurate, reliable, and up to date.
Listening attentively to the other person also.
Reading word and images to understand what the author is trying to communicate with it.
Speaking correctly, that is, using the right words, voice tone, expressions, gestures and body language.
Writing messages into words or sentences.
Using technology for communication.
Collaborating: Collaborating means working on a common topic to reach a final common goal. The basic abilities required for collaboration are:
Allocating resources and work to each member wisely.
Suggesting ideas and noting them down.
Making wise decisions.
Assigning duties to every member.
Evaluating whether everyone is doing their work and the work done is correct.
Setting small achievable goals at an individual level to reach to the final common goal.
Leading the group.
Utilizing time properly to achieve the goal in proper time.
Managing the conflicts which occur when working in the group.
What is the Importance of Learning Skills?
Learning skills increases the learning capabilities of the students. These skills help in scoring good marks or grade. It boosts the confidence of the student in the classroom. The student feels encouraged and motivated to learn new things. It increases the academic success of the student. In the absence of these skills, the student gets discouraged. He may also feel that he cannot study in any circumstances. The student may lose the desire to study. Learning skills are not just for a specific subject, they could be used to study any kind of subject. Learning skills will teach the student how to study. Every student will grow up and become a professional. To become a professional, one requires not studying nut effective studying. A student can succeed in studies inly if he has good learning skills. A person without proper learning skills will just cram things and the student with good learning skills will understand everything and question it and explore it and unfold its folded parts. Learning skills teach the students how to study in the right way and to gain the maximum from minimum work.
How to Improve Learning Skills?
Everyone is not blessed with learning skills from birth. All the students are not taught these skills in their early schools. But these skills can be developed or improved at any age. The only thing required for their improvement is hard work and practice. As they say, practice makes a man perfect, so does practice makes learning skills also perfect and the student becomes a perfect learner. With practice, anyone can improve his learning skills and can achieve academic excellence. It is not very difficult to achieve this. A strong determination can make it very easy. Here are some tips which are beneficial for improving learning skills. They are as follows:
Make Notes: In a class, when the teacher is teaching, make notes side by side. Note down whatever you understand from the teacher. Make note of what the teacher is saying not from what is written in the text book, or the presentation or the blackboard. Put the very important notes in boxes. Use stars or other marks to mark important thing or questions. Do not stop making notes of a topic if you have missed some sentences, instead leave space for them and continue writing. Ask the teacher or the fellow student regarding the missed sentences later on. If possible, use two color pens while writing. When you look at the notes written with a single colored pen, the text becomes very dull and boring. If you use two or more colors the text will seem to be interesting. Using this strategy, you can use a fixed special color pen for writing about important topics. In this way, you will first notice the things which are important whenever you open your notebook. Whenever we write something, those things grounds in our minds. We remember more of what we write than what we listen. In this way, making notes increases our memory. Notes become our reference for the future. In exam time, notes made in the class are very beneficial.
Always Study in the Groups: Try to study in groups. Make a group of maximum five people. Decide time, venue and topics to study. Group study is beneficial if all the group members study seriously. There should be no extra discussion in the group and no gossiping at all. Everyone should discuss whatever they know about the topic. Everyone should come prepared with the topic of discussion on a particular day. No one should make any excuse for not studying. As all of us remember what we talk to our friends more than what we study in the classroom or read from the text, it is a very good idea to discuss useful topics with our friends. In this way, we get to know the different views of different people regarding the same topic. The topic becomes clearer. The discussion should be healthy and not be criticizing.
Develop your Memory: Use various techniques to sharpen your memory. It will increase you memorizing power. Use shortcuts for remembering difficult things. Break big numbers and words in small parts in order to remember them. Repeat things in order to memorize them. Form acronyms like VIBGYOR are used for the seven colors of the rainbow. Associate things with your daily life, you will memorize them. Try to understand things than cramming them.
Pre Preparation: Read once the next topic to be discussed in the class in the next lecture. Pre preparation helps a lot. If we read the topic in advance, we will understand at least a little of it. Some or the other things will become clear. When the same topic will be taught in the class it will become all the way more clear. You will definitely understand better.
Take Breaks: Do not study for a long time. Your brain will become tired. A tired brain will not understand anything. Memorizing will be difficult in this case. Take small breaks of 5 to 10 minutes while studying and refresh your brain. In this break have some refreshment or listen to some music or talk with your friends or family. It will make your brain feel fresh. In this way, you can learn or study for a longer period of taking breaks rather than studying in a nonstop way.
Teach Someone Else: Whatever you have learnt, teach it to someone else. This will be a benefit to you as well as to the person you are teaching. The person you are teaching will get to understand a new topic and it will be a revision for you. You will be able to recall the full topic correctly.
Test Yourself: Make practice tests for yourself. This test would be for you and you cannot cheat yourself. When reading a topic, make questions from it. Write these questions on a separate sheet of paper. After you have finished learning, try to solve these questions without opening the textbooks or notes. In this way, you will be able to recall more the topics you have learnt. It will give you more success in exams as it becomes a writing practice for exams. Moreover, it would be like pre exam to you. It will increase your preparedness for exams and your learning power.
Do not Multitask: when you are learning, you should only study. Do not do any other task while studying. When you do n number of tasks, you brain’s concentration gets divided into n parts. Therefore, we cannot devote full concentration towards learning. This multitasking includes watching television, listening to music, eating, talking with family or friends, chatting, using facebook, or using a mobile or any other distractions which prohibits you from studying carefully. While doing multitasking, whatever we learn it is not for the whole life span. It is just for a short span ranging from 10 minutes to 2 hours. Therefore, it is not wrong to say that multitasking spoils our learning ability.
Choose a Proper Place and Time to Study: Fix a proper time and place for studying. The place should be free from all distractions and the time should be such that your mind has nothing else in it at that moment. Usually, the students choose early morning or late night time for studying because at this time there is no noise from outside. The atmosphere is calm and peaceful. Never study while sitting on the bed. Table and chair is mandatory for studying. Whenever we study while lying or sitting on the bed we feel lazy and sleepy and fall asleep. So, proper place and time for studying can maximize learning.
Take Care of your Body: for a healthy brain, healthy body is required. Take a balanced diet. Eat more energy giving your food. In the breaks, you take while studying, have some drinks as refreshments. Drink plenty of water. Exercise regularly. Exercise will keep your body will relax your body and mind. It pumps more oxygen to your brain and will in turn increase your concentration and learning power. Get a proper sleep of minimum 7 to 8 hours. This is necessary for a healthy mind. You can learn only when you have a healthy mind.
Learning skills are very important for every person of any age. Learning skills are not god gifted. They have to be induced in everyone. This induction is usually done by the parents or the teachers and sometimes by the students themselves. Following a proper routine, a strong will to learn, and frequent practice will definitely make you a perfect learner. It is not impossible to change your learning habits, but it is not easy also. It needs a strong determination. Following the above mentioned tips and tricks you will definitely improve your learning skills and you academic result also.


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