The 3 Most Common Mistakes in Learning



It’s likely that you’ve been studying all wrong.

Many of the fundamental learning strategies that people consider tried and true make no significant impact.

So what is learning anyways? When you break it down, learning is the act of acquiring and storing knowledge and skills to memory so you can readily make sense of future problems and opportunities.

We look to Cognitive Scientist Henry Roediger, author of Make It Stick and Science Board Member at amplifire to explain some of the common mistakes.

1.Rapid Fire Repetition

“People commonly believe that if you expose yourself to something enough times you can burn it into your memory,” explains Roediger in Make It Stick, ”Not so.” While it can appear effective, this type of learning doesn’t stick, but melts away quickly and is no longer useful down the road. You’ll retain more by taking key concepts and explaining them in your own words.

 2. Rereading

Roediger lays out the facts on rereading, “Doing multiple readings in close succession is a time-consuming study strategy that yields negligible benefits at the expense of much more effective strategies that take less time.” Rereading essentially creates a false sense of mastery with increasing familiarity. However, this familiarity is not an indication of true understanding and often comes in one ear and quickly out the other. Use your time much more wisely by administering self-quizzes to identify what you don’t know and distilling underlying principles to those concepts.

 3. Singular Focus and Intentionality

In the past, it was accepted that if you concentrate on one thing hard enough, that you’ll remember it forever. As humans, we are drawn to what feels easy and productive, but that isn’t what creates retrievable and useful knowledge.  But recent trends in adaptive, modern learning dictate that “skill is better acquired through interleaved and varied practice than massed practice” says Roediger.

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