In my Study Smarter, Better Memory Workshop the first module I teach is called “NeuroScience Basics and Triple Your Memory.” It’s a 30 minute segment that’s half theory and half practice and a great place to start if you want to learn to study smarter. You’ll discover how your brain acquires information and that’s the basic underpinnings to just about everything else I do in my trainings.
The Theory: There’s a mechanism in your brain that decides to learn – it’s not luck or chance. A decision is made and those of us who study brain function know where it is and how it’s done. I explain it in simple terms and I’ve developed memory techniques that allow us to take control of that.
The Practice: We give you a standard test for memory – which is simply memorizing a standard list of objects. This is something done by doctors, neuroscientists and we at Farrow Memory did it in our double blind study. In just a few minutes you learn a little technique that allows you to take control of that learning mechanism we mentioned above so you can easily score above a genius level! (That’s essentially THREE TIMES MORE than the average North American memory.
There are no extra exercises involved. It’s just using the same brain that you have in a different way. My goal in this short exercise is to get you to understand that your brain is not static and that memory and learning is not fixed – by your genes, your background, income level, race or culture. Although there’s a lot of statistical correlation to those things, all of that goes out the window when you take someone from any background and teach them how to run their own brain.
Many people are stuck in the notion that brain-power and your ability to learn is 100% genetic and you can’t do anything about it. They hold the ideas that people are born stupid and so forth which is an incredibly intolerant way of looking at the world. We don’t know any better but my goal is to dispel those types of myths.
How is this knowledge applied to study skills?
Once you understand that there is a mechanism that activates long-term memory my hope is that you’ll immediately change how you study. You’ll change the interval in which you study and how you think about information. What we focus on is how the actual matrix of information is connected.
When studying for an exam one of the phrases I like to use is that “information is not an island.” Memories are not islands they are all chains they are all interconnected. You’ll grow to understand how information is in the brain and how studying actually works when it works and how it doesn’t work when it doesn’t work. As a result there should be an immediate shift in strategies away from modes that don’t work to styles that do work for you as an individual.
For most college students, in 12+ years of school, they never learn this until they meet me. This is not taught is schools in North America, however there are some places in Asia and around the world where it is starting to make more headway. They are places that are more open to new ideas and the latest in neuroscience.
The classroom of the future…
There have been tremendous strides in neuroscience in the last 20 years that have not made their way into the classroom. Going even beyond my methods this is referred to a brain-based learning. It’s creating a learning environment based on how the brain works as opposed to one based a lecture-based format. Beyond my method Brain-based learning takes into consideration everything from learning styles to timing to many other factors. But again few have made their way into the classroom. That’s a very well know and often complain about fact.
No matter what school I go to students always come up to me and say “I wish I’d known this sooner.” Our role here is to first get rid of the myth that your ability to learn is something that is fixed or hardwired into the brain and help learners and educators understand that it is something that can be changed with strategies.