Side Street Style: Top tips for learning from home

Side Street Style

Family travel and lifestyle blog

29/04/2019

Top tips for learning from home

home learning



As some of you may already know I work from home but prior to this while studying for my degree, in the last year I had to do a large portion of it from home, having had my son 6 weeks before the first day back of my final year at university. I learnt a lot about self-driven learning and creating a space conducive for learning and creativity. It's not something that comes overnight and it does have to be worked on. Also as I continually work on gaining more skills I am looking to doing a course at home, like many parents, online learning has opened a gateway to being able to improve employment opportunities and gain new skills around having a family.

Today, jobs rely on learning more than ever before. Shifts in the economy mean that more people occupy knowledge jobs - like consulting, management and digital and IT-based roles more than ever before. People in these positions need to learn the skill of learning to stay up to date with the latest developments in their field. It’s not just about access to the right information: it’s being able to process it and incorporate it into the way you perform your role.

So if you're looking to undertake one of many online courses available online, here are my top tips for creating a space at home to get the best results.


Strategy #1: Create A Learning Environment


Humans are creatures of habit and association. Most of us go to bed when it gets dark and wake when it gets light (or we would if we had the choice). We all clean our teeth religiously in the morning and at night - something that we learned in childhood. And we insist on wearing our seatbelts when travelling in the car.

These habits are automatic. We don’t even think about them most of the time. The good news is that you can put this tendency to form associations to good use by creating a learning environment: a physical location you go to when you want to educate yourself. What you want is a place that your brain will associate with the task of learning, priming you to develop your thinking. Make sure it's comfortable and that you have all the materials you need, with a minimum of distractions. If you have an office, snug or garage space you can close the door and separate yourself from family life that would be ideal.


online learning





Strategy #2: Learn In Short Bursts


If you want to learn faster, one of the best things that you can do is to learn in short bursts. It turns out that our brains aren’t particularly good at continually learning new things, hour after hour. They need time to consolidate what they’ve learned and consigned it to memory. Your brain finds it hard to do this if you continue to bombard it with new information.

If you take an online MBA course, you’ll no doubt see this research in practice. Many innovative educators insist that people take 10 minutes breaks between learning sessions to consolidate what they’ve learned. Doing this helps to foster the learning process.


Strategy #3: Pretend You’re Teaching Somebody Else

Ever wondered why your teachers at school seemed to know everything about everything to do with their subject matter? Researchers believe that it might be because they have to teach somebody else.

Teaching somebody else, even if you’re just pretending, is a potent method of enhancing your learning. Scientists believe that the reason for this has to do with the way the brain gives credence to teaching. It’s often hard for the brain to justify giving up resources for learning for learning’s sake. Creating new neural connections is an energy-intensive activity, and something the brain wants to avoid if it can help it.

But if there’s a purpose to the learning: for instance, teaching somebody else, then the brain will be more willing to take on board new information. This is why researchers believe teaching is the best way to learn: it forces you to consider learning as important and necessary.

Strategy #4: Practice Spacing


What sounds like a better strategy for you? Spending 90 minutes in a single session learning calculus, or spreading the learning out across three 30 minutes sessions, two days apart?  Researchers believe that the latter is more effective. It’s akin to watering a lawn. Watering a lawn for 90 minutes once per week will yield some benefits. But watering it for 30 minutes, three times per week is likely to have an even greater effect.

The same is true for learning. Repeatedly exposing yourself to the same information, over and over, helps to reinforce the information, making it easier to learn.


adult learning


Strategy #5: Mix It Up

It can be tempting to get into a habit of learning material in the same way. For instance, if you’re somebody who likes to learn by reading, then you will always prefer to go to the textbook to find out what you need to know.

Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, however, did research investigating whether people learn better when approaching the same material in different ways. The researchers split people up into two groups and then fed them educational material. In the first session, both groups got the same content, but in the second session, the treatment group were asked to perform learning tasks in a different way.

At the end of the experiment, those in the treatment group appeared to understand the material better and did better on the tests. So if you want to learn faster, then try approaching problems from different angles.


Strategy #6: Take A Nap


Going to sleep might not seem like the ideal way to learn, but there is evidence from the journal Psychological Science that napping may help. People who nap between learning sessions appear to assist their brains in consolidating what they’ve learned. The sleep group in the experiment did a better job of recalling information than the group who had to remain awake throughout the entire trial.


studying

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11 comments:

  1. Hi! I could have sworn I've been to this web site before but after looking at
    some of the posts I realized it's new to me. Nonetheless, I'm definitely happy I stumbled
    upon it and I'll be book-marking it and checking back regularly!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So glad you stumbled upon it and hope you visit again

      Laura x

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  2. These are great tips! A lot of this is how I studied when I was in college. Now that my oldest has started kindergarten, we've been trying to work on some of this with him. He has his desk in his room for school stuff so he knows when he sits there it's time to learn. And he never does anything for more than 20 minutes without taking a break.

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  3. These are all really helpful tips. I've studies from home several times (and am about to start again) and creating a suitable learning space was definitely key for me.

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  4. I have studied from home before and most of what you shared I have applied while I was studying. Especially I love to pretend like I was teaching someone else, that in a way made it easier for me to memorize and understand.

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  5. These are great tips. I love learning at home...I have always preferred going at my own pace.

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  6. Great tips! I love the idea of pretending like you're teaching someone else! That could be very helpful!

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  7. When I do plan on going back to school, using these tips will be very helpful. Having the idea that I plan on doing classes online and learning from home will put these tips to great use.

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  8. You have some fantastic tips here! I did most of them when I was studying for my Masters online and they truly did help.

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  9. These are great tips, I could use some of these with my older homeschoolers.

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  10. I'm currently struggling to juggle my day job, kids, blog, and study at the same time. These tips come in very timely for me. Thanks for sharing!

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Lovely comments

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