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6 Important Things To Know About How Your Brain Learns

Stashed in: Sleep!, Learn!, Brain

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1. We take in information better when it’s visual

The brain uses 50 percent of its resources on vision.

Think about that for a minute. Half of your brain power goes to your eyes and the processes in your brain that turn what you see into information. The other half has to be split up among all the other functions your body has.

Sleep deprivation can cut your brain’s ability to take in new information by almost 40 percent

5. We learn best by teaching others

When we expect to have to teach other people what we’re learning, we take in new information better. We organize it better in our minds, remember it more correctly, and we’re better at remembering the most important parts of what we’ve learned.

One study told half the participants they would be tested on the information they were learning, and told the other half they would have to teach someone else what they learned. Both sets of participants were tested on the information and didn’t have to teach anyone else, but the subjects who thought they’d be teaching others performed better on the test.

The study’s lead author, Dr. John Nestojko, said the study implied that students’ mindsets before and during learning can make a big difference to how well we learn new information. “Positively altering a student’s mindset can be effectively achieved through rather simple instructions,” he said.

Though we don’t realize it, learning with the idea that we’ll have to teach this information later tends to invoke better methods for learning subconsciously. For instance, we focus on the most important pieces of information, the relationships between different concepts, and we carefully organize the information in our minds.

Action: Keep a notebook or blog where you write about what you’ve learned. Write about each new concept you learn as if it’s a lesson for others.

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