One of the most effective ways to learn is to capture just important concepts that you want to remember and review over time (Spaced Repetition).
You can create your own personal summary from your Kindle Highlights. Here is an example using Helmut D. Sachs' popular book on memory and learning.
Remember Everything You Want and Manage the Rest: Improve your Memory and Learning, Organize Your Brain, and Effectively Manage Your Knowledgeby Helmut Sachs
The demands put on you in your professional, student, or daily life are already outstripping your brain's processing capabilities.
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Re-finding information, that is, searching for information we have found before, can be an incredible waste of time.
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Use powerful computer tools to support your memory and learning, to extract the important information from web pages, books/e-books, and videos, and to skillfully take notes.
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We connect (associate) the new information with information we already have in our long-term memory. The more we can connect new information with existing information, the greater the chance we will remember it.
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Effective learning always includes connecting (= associating) new information with information you already have in your long-term memory.
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If we fail to retain what we have learned
, for example, by not using effective strategies, it becomes increasingly difficult to learn information that builds on earlier learning.
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For most information to become permanently stored and easily retrievable, you have to recall it from time to time. This act of practicing recall strengthens the memory of a particular piece of information.
It is like telling your brain, "This is important; I want to use it." Likewise, by never trying to retrieve a piece of information, you are signaling your brain that it is not important. In other words, "Use it or lose it."
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Paying attention to what you want to remember, connecting new information to your existing knowledge by making the information meaningful, and practicing recall are crucial if you want to keep the new information accessible.
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Contrary to what some memory books promise, you still have to practice recall from time to time to keep the information accessible. In fact, actively practicing recall is probably the easiest and most versatile memory strategy of all.
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Reflection is a powerful method to elaborate on new information: by thinking about the new information and asking questions, we tend to automatically activate existing long-term memories and connect the new information to these existing memories. This is very different from passively absorbing information presented in a book, lecture, video, TV broadcast, etc. It helps to build a knowledge structure, which connects the new pieces of information to each other and to your previous knowledge.
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Whether you want to remember the important information from a lecture, video, book, or article or learn new terminology or vocabulary, practicing recall to test yourself is a very powerful and certainly the most versatile strategy to improve your memory
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Practicing active recall means reciting the information you have read, listened to, or watched from your memory rather than reading the information again. You are basically testing yourself.
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While reading, note down questions incorporating the key information you would like to remember. You can use what/who, how, where, when, why ... to come up with these questions. After reading the article, take a break of about 10 minutes. Practice recall: try to answer all the questions you have noted down from your memory. Get feedback: After having recalled as much as you can remember, go back to the article and compare your recall with the content. That way, you are getting a feedback about how you are doing. Pay particular attention to the information you have missed. Spending your time on active recall rather than rereading has two obvious advantages: You are testing yourself and thus are practicing access to the memories you will need in your meeting or exam. You know what you don't know and can focus your time and effort on the information you couldn't recall.
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The time you should spend recalling versus reading and memorizing varies depending on the type of material you have in front of you. As a rule of thumb, spend around 50% of your time practicing recall.
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Complete the whole recall test before checking. That is, try to answer all the questions to your best ability (or recite all you can remember) before you check your recall. Experiments have shown that delaying the feedback promotes better long-term retention compared to immediately checking up on your answers.
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During review, you have to go through most of the information, some of which you already know by heart. This becomes increasingly annoying and boring. You are wasting time, instead of focusing on the material you don't know.
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To keep information, you have to review it several times by practicing recall or using it. An efficient review strategy involves gradually increasing the time interval between repeated reviews.
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I recommend reviewing newly learned material 10 minutes after initial learning (take a 10-minute break and do something completely different) and again a couple of hours later. Then double the time interval between subsequent reviews; that is, review after 1 day, 2 days, 4 days, 1 week, 2 weeks, 1 month, 2 months…
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Spend the majority of our time focusing on the important information we don't already know well. Review by practicing recall rather than rereading.
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Learn and review with the Leitner Box System:
The order of the cards changes over time. Some cards move to the next compartment, while others go back to compartment 1.
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- Compartment 1 - Every day
- Compartment 2 - Every 2 days
- Compartment 3 - Every week
- Compartment 4 - Every 2 weeks
- Compartment 5 - Every month
We spend a major part of our time on the Internet trying to find information that suits our needs. Indeed, we are going to encounter many gold mines of knowledge, but also a lot of trash. To allow us to remember the valuable information, we need to collect and organize references to the "goodies," so that we can later find them with ease.
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