learning hacks

Everyone says we are living in changing times and need to assimilate, learn and unlearn consistently, and yes, sleep and exercise have their place as techniques to help us do that. However, if you are not naturally curious or find it overwhelming deciding where to start, or even if you are just feeling a bit stuck, you may need some help to get you going.

The following ideas represent diverse ways you can kickstart and fast track your development and your motivation. To make it simple, I’ve included the links to get you started. Try them and let me know how you go. I’d love to know what works for you and share further tools that work.

How to quickly find information on a specific topic.

When you need to hit the ground running, it’s important to be able to find the right information when you need it. When you don’t know where to start looking or what questions you should be asking, pay attention to what others in your industry are talking about. These sites will help.

Scoop.it is a content curation tool which lets you gather together information on a specific topic. It gives you access to content from mainstream media to niche publications.

Answer the Public allows you to find out what questions people are asking about a particular topic. This gives you a starting point for your own learning.

Quora is a question and answer website. Ask your question and get answers from people around the world.

Learning how to learn.

When tools are designed to work hand-in-hand with the way our brains work and retain information, they make learning much easier. These apps are two which are useful.

Learn2Learn is an app which covers learning fundamentals such as developing a growth mindset and using neuroscience inspired memory hacks.  It breaks learning into chunks and presents it in animations and infographics, plus suggests actions you can take to embed the learning.

Gnowbe is an interactive microlearning app which lets you set your learning goals, leads you through the learning and rewards you when it’s done. It’s strength is the  “learn by doing” approach which works so well with adult learning.

Develop your memory.

It is possible to improve your memory. Like a muscle, it benefits from regular exercise and challenges. The sites I’ve listed below all offer different exercises from crosswords and sudoku through to other learning activities.

Peak is an app which delivers games to stretch and improve your focus, memory, problem solving, and mental agility. They are in game format, so they are fast to play and enjoyable, too.

Lumosity is very similar. It’s a brain-training system, offering game-based learning in an online or app format.

Crosswords are a simple way to improve your memory and brain function and help keep your brain working properly into old age. Whether you choose standard crosswords or their cryptic counterparts, completing them regularly strengthens your powers of recall and expands your thinking. Sudoku works in a similar manner but uses numbers instead of letters in the problem-solving activity.

For a combination of memory and brain challenges, try some of the activities at Braingle. You can enjoy a game and know it’s doing you good.

Simplify, summarise and visualise.

Sometimes we learn better if we can see the topic as a diagram. We can follow the flow and see how it works, all on one image.

Create an infographic for yourself and your team and map the learning pictorially. Canva, Piktochart, and Easel.Ly are all sites which offer different methods of creating an image or infographic. If you’re familiar with PowerPoint, you could always choose a template from the many freely available online and use it as the basis of your flowchart or infographic.

Take a course.

Look up a free online course on Coursera and Udacity or Saylor. Universities often offer free online short courses so take a look at edX, too. OpenCulture is another great site filled with free learning. If you don’t mind paying, check out Lynda.com, Khan Academy and Udemy for additional options.

Full courses and subjects look online at sites like MITOpenCourseWare or for quick tutorials, try Learn That. For specific skills and certification, have a look at Degreed. YouTube and TED talks are always accessible if you have your mobile to hand.

I hope these tools will help you quickly and easily master your learning. I’ve found them very useful.

Now, I’d love to hear how you go with these tools so please let me know. And if you know of a tool which I haven’t included, please share it with us in the comments below.

For tailored ideas on sourcing particular content or insights, email me. I’d be pleased to help you.