A Theoretical Framework on Accelerated Learning & Improved Memory

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Eureka! I stole this from the internet. Please don’t sue me.
  • It’s a framework (it has 3 main “phases” that intersect at varying points, building on top of one another but also uniquely defined on their own)
  • Its focus is on accelerated learning (not to “skip steps” but to streamline the approach of learning while tailoring it to personal preferences)
  • It improves memory retention (because methods of learning are tailored to the individual, which is the cornerstone of the theory)
  • And it sounds cool. Suck it, uni profs. I know big words too!

Phase #1: The Foundations

This phase lays the bedrock of the learner’s “process” moving forward. The purpose of this phase is to test and determine the best methods of learning that the individual can utilize. This is as much an art as it is a science. There are plenty of cases for specific types of learning (with research to back them up), but truthfully the best way to learn is to find the ways that you learn best. That differs for each person. Some of us learn better by intensely studying in silence, uninterrupted. Some of us need to study with a group, reviewing content. Some of us need to wear red-heeled shoes and pace back and forth, reciting the learning experience in order to solidify it (I knew someone who did this). Ultimately, we have many ways of learning a subject, each one resonating with us to a higher or lower degree. This phase is to identify the many methods of learning, hone in on the methods that resonate with us best (we know by their results and by our enjoyment of the process, as it aligns with our unique qualities), and remove any methods that don’t resonate with us.

  • When taking notes, I need to do the following: rewrite the content into my own words to better understand them, reorder them into new groups and themes, and use active learning principles such as reflective questions to help me structure a reviewing process (I got this from the Cornell Method of note-taking. The video outlines multiple methods of note-taking, clarifying the Cornell Method in the latter half of the video. Thanks CrashCourse & Thomas Frank!)
  • I work best on a whiteboard with space to pace while making sense of subjects.
  • I’m a visual learner, so visualizing content helps me retain it. This is why I use the Memory Palace exercise. I can tap into my imagination to play out the information in my head.
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Whiteboards are dope.

Phase #2: The Acceleration

For our second phase, we’re going to put these methods together into a flexible & streamlined process that we’ll run subjects through. By “flexible process” I mean something that is subject to change based on what you feel is best, but still organized in a way that it takes the guesswork out of learning and allows you to tackle a subject in a way that’s comfortable for you. The goal of this process is to create a step-by-step method of making sense of a subject: taking it from initial exposure to retain in your head & at your disposal to apply (whether in an exam or at work).

  • Whiteboard: I’ll take all my notes, read through them, and then throw ideas & concepts at a whiteboard (typically using a mind-map, but I’ll basically freestyle this), connecting concepts, mixing new and old ideas, challenging ideas that the books share, clashing ideas they don’t share, etc. This gives me ample time to digest the complexities of the various resources.
  • Rewrite: after the note-taking & using my whiteboard, I’ll reorganize the contents based on how my brain has laid them out into a new set of themes & groups.
  • Memory Palace: after I’ve taken notes, put ideas together, and organized those ideas in a new structure overall, it’s time for me to solidify them in my head. I’ll use a memory palace, which is a visual method of learning where you imagine yourself walking through a familiar setting (e.g. your childhood home) and visualizing the ideas you’re memorizing as if they’re coming to life. The more dynamic your visualization is, the more likely it is to stay in your head. A quick “walk” through your memory palace, and viola! All ideas come right back to you. This allows you to tap into subjects quickly.
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Line em up, knock em down.

Phase #3: the Integrated Phase

This phase is the most fascinating, and the oddest of the others. The principle behind this phase is one that I learned from studying Mastery by Robert Greene, specifically on the chapter outlining the Dimensional Mind.

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The more you learn, the more you realize things are more connected than we originally thought.

To Conclude…

So that’s that. My theory on learning explained for the first time. Its true purpose is to reorient your approach to learning so no matter what subject you’re exposed to, you have a basis you can tackle it with. Its goal is not to “hack” learning in any way: quite the opposite. The goal of this framework is to direct individuals along the path of effective learning & memorization that actually works, removing needlessly wasted time on methods that don’t work for the individual while creating a culture of learning that is dynamic, active, and enjoyable. That will inevitably accelerate the learning process, reduce time spent learning, increase memorization, and aid in the application of knowledge. It is my hope that this helps shed a light on the subject of learning for its own sake, as it is one I believe the world needs more of.

Resources:

  • The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle
  • Deep Work by Cal Newport
  • Mastery by Robert Greene
  • Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
  • Mastermind by Maria Konnikova
  • Thomas Frank & College Info Geek
  • How to Develop a Superpower Memory by Harry Lorayne
  • My highschool teacher Mr. Woodwood, who taught me that “school is meant for you to learn how you learn”
  • My less-than-ideal academic performance, where Woodwood’s lesson still stings due to my inability to accept it until way down the road
  • My years as a Martial Artist, where I learned of my own capabilities and embodying the principles I learned

Poli Sci grad, Comms Strategist, great at remembering names and terrible at pronouncing them. I write on political psych, practical philosophy, and random stuff

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