Learn, don’t study!
This is David’s article that appeared in Viet Week and the Thanh Nien News on the 2/3/2012.
By David DeBrot
Learning, as opposed to studying can improve your results in your academic career, professional career and your life. It’s a powerful approach to information and the world that can make your life experience and learning build on itself – a cycle of improvement.
So, what is the difference between the verbs ‘learn’ and ‘study’ anyway? Rather than boring you with definitions, let me ask you – when was the last time you read a book, listened to someone speak or wrote something because you wanted to? Were you able to recall the information and use it a long time after this? Chances are, you were. This is learning.
Next example – when was the last time you read a book, listened to someone speak or wrote something because someone coerced you to? Were you able to recall the information and use it a long time after reading or listening to it? Chances are you weren’t. This is studying.
Humans are much better at retaining and recalling information they engage with using their own motivation rather than another person’s coercion. Practically, we in the Learning Skills Unit see examples of this in students who demonstrate their own interest and initiative in finding answers and clarifying their understanding rather than waiting for this information to be transmitted by their teacher. These students nearly always end up with better outcomes and enjoy the process of learning in their field.
Specifically, these students (and you can) do the following:
- Review the specific steps they took to complete an assignment or project and how well these worked
- Plan to apply the steps that worked in the past on future assignments or projects
- Gather information and different perspectives from various sources such as websites, videos, podcasts and people
- Record their own ideas about the topic by taking notes, drawing ‘mind maps’ or creating their own system with color and labels to organize their ideas
- Discuss and debate the topic with other people who are pursuing the same topic
By accepting the same approach and focusing on your own motivations and interests and exploring as many sources as possible in understanding whatever topic you are currently focusing on, you will discover huge gains in your outcomes, confidence and pleasure in the process.
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