What's The Best 'Structured' Way To Study

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What's The Best 'Structured' Way To Study & Retain Information

Having a structured study programme makes all the difference to the amount and degree of knowledge we can retain. The order of study is vital for long-term retention. Stepped, incremental education establishes frames of reference to build on and add knowledge to.

By learning the basics and fundamental principles first, students can build on this stable foundation. Understanding why something works the way it does helps to frame meaning into what you learn.

The best modern structured learning accommodates the natural ways that human beings absorb information. For most people, reading words alone is a less than effective medium. We use up our brainpower processing letters on a page into meaning, having to read, process and remember all at the same time.

Fortunately, gone are the days when the only way we could research information was via the written word, and we were subjected to a 'one size fits all' type of instruction. It's well understood that our learning receptors are visual, auditory and kinesthetic. We look and see things; hear and listen to things, and touch, feel and sense things. By stimulating each of those senses when teaching a subject, the student absorbs and retains information at a much deeper level.

Interactive learning incorporates watching and listening to demonstrations, then having a go yourself to practice and commit the work to memory via repetition. This method of study repetition and cycling lines up neuron tracks in the brain, which strengthens the capacity for recall. Just as a pony can trek for miles without guidance because he's been there so many times, so students can establish good recall by repetition. It is also very useful to use patterns for remembering by the use of rhymes, mnemonics and visual pictures in your mind.

Structured studying also calls for goal planning. It's essential to define what you want, why you want it, and when you want it by. Display photos on your wall of what you want to achieve. This reinforces the message both to you and those around you, and helps you to stay committed. Schedule a study diary, with days, times and study breaks, and a tick off list to show your learning progress. Also: Know how to deal with mental blocks when you get stuck (See 'What Do I Do When I get Stuck in My Studies?')

The best interactive training courses are structured for the student to learn in the most user-friendly, productive manner. Everything is in place for a progressive, retentive learning experience that will serve the student well throughout his or her career. All the trainee needs is consistency and a willingness to learn.

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