Using the right tools can make any job easier, more efficient, and more enjoyable. We all know this yet we tend to skip over this knowledge when we are trying to learn new material. We continue to do the same slow, laborious reading of each word linearly from front to back. We read without a purpose or at least without the right purpose and we get frustrated because we can’t retain what we have read. Isn’t time to try something new?
Let me explain this with a great analogy. If you are tasked with cutting the grass you can cut it with a pair of scissors, you can use a push lawnmower, or you can use a riding lawnmower. Each tool will complete the job, but let’s face it a riding lawnmower just makes more sense because it is the most efficient tool for the job. Learning is the same way. Think about the last time you drove down the highway, did you need to pull over to the side of the road to read the billboards? Or were you able to read them at 70 mph, in addition to talking on your cell phone, and adjusting the radio?
So why not apply these same principles to your learning. I have been working with students of all ages for years, and when the techniques are applied the results are consistently amazing! Learning was fun in elementary school, remember? Why not make it fun now! It doesn’t need to be hard when it is done right. You can retool your tool kit and add just a few very specific techniques and free up time for other things you want and need to do.
Reading with a purpose is one of the first strategies you need to hone. Stop and take a few minutes to determine what you are trying to learn from a specific book, article, or even a website. Then ask yourself some questions, think like a reporter what are the what’s, how’s, when’s, where’s, and who’s of the material. Will you be asked to answer question on the chapter, if so, read the questions first, they define the purpose of the reading. Now you can act like a detective and uncover the facts to answer the questions. When you do this first you save valuable time and increase the speed by which you can finish the assignment. But the best part is, by reading with a purpose you retain the information easier and longer. Give it a try, what have you got to lose!