Written by Kim Leggett (Clean Health Online Master Coach)
2020 has been a year of great change and the coronavirus pandemic has introduced and mainstreamed many changes into our lives in such a quick space of time, namely, the way we work, study and interact with other people. Just to get through day-to-day we have had to adapt to this. When we look at study, the online space has EXPLODED with an increasing number of courses being offered completely online which for some students can prove to be quite a challenge.
Whether you are studying face-to-face or online, here are some tips to ensure you are utilising your learning to it’s full potential:
Create a ROUTINE
Routine gives a sense of predictability over our environment and helps us feel in control and reduces our worry or anxiety. If we are less anxious we are able to redirect our energy that would be spent managing our emotions into studying. Win-win! An added benefit of routine is that it literally changes our brain!
Repeated behaviours build neural pathways that overtime are strengthened and become more efficient. Less effort spent on routine tasks leaves more mental capacity available for learning new information.
When creating a routine, plan your time and stick to it. Time management is key for students to again control stress levels and stay on schedule. This goes for allowing for some flexibility when unexpected life events happen and giving yourself some time to shut off and take a break.
You may be thinking – “Colors aren’t important.” But how do you explain traffic lights, warning signs or even the colors of the rainbow? Color is more important than you think and even when it comes to your learning.
Color actually plays a key role in creating an environment that fosters learning and by choosing the right color can seriously affect attention and behaviours when learning. The color green for example is said to improve concentration (1). Low wavelength colours promote restfulness and calm by improving efficiency and focus. Not only is green one of the easiest colors on the eyes as it reminds us of nature but it creates a relaxing space.
Visual aids can be extremely helpful when studying. Whether it be the use of mind maps, diagrams or flow charts – being able to break up chunks of text with visual aids can help you highlight certain information and aid in quick recall. This may not work for everyone but if this is your learning style this can help condense notes in a simple, quick-to-digest format that can ease the studying process tremendously.
It’s common to feel unmotivated and can stem from feeling overwhelmed or when you feel like you haven’t made progress on a certain task. Knowing that you are not alone can go along way! If all else fails, call for back up! Having a study body who’s willing to check up on you and your progress or even study along side you can do the trick. Some people often feel more motivated and are more productive when they have someone to report back to.
Testing yourself may be one of the best ways to know that what you’ve been learning has actually gone in and been absorbed. After each chapter or topic try and answer some mock exam questions to ensure you’ve understood and truly know each topic well – this will mean that you aren’t just regurgitating information. As Albert Einstein once said, “ if you can’t explain it to a six year old, you don’t understand it yourself.”
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- Bhardwa, S. (2020). Tips for studying online and at home for university students. Times Higher Education. Retrieved from: https://www.timeshighereducation.com/student/advice/tips-studying-online-and-home-university-students
- Shift. (2019). The Psychology of colour: how do colours influence learning? Shift E-Learning. Retrieved from: https://www.shiftelearning.com/blog/how-do-colors-influence-learning