The 2 best ways to learn stuff
I like learning stuff. It’s pretty fun.
It’s also very important to learn stuff. Imagine someone puts a gun to your head and asks you to name the date of the Battle of Hastings, knowing that date would be very important then.
Or in your job, you need to learn not to eat your colleague’s sandwiches; no matter how appetising they look, they will respond poorly to you chowing down on their lunch.
Therefore, learning how to learn is a very important thing, especially when you need to escape unlikely knowledge desiring mobsters and the wrath of an irate colleague.
So what techniques are useful? At school I was taught that flashcards were the answer to all my problems; if I made a strong set of flashcards then the GCSEs were in the bag. Highlighting important facts was also key. A year 11 without a highlighter pen was like a jouster without a horse – you needed to have one to be in contention with the big boys.
I thought these approaches were stupid and I never did them. I ended up OK.
So here are the 2 ways I think are the best to learn:
Make it into a song
When we sing things we remember them. Think about all the speeches you know all the words to (probably none) and then think about Wannabe by the Spice Girls. You 100% started singing it and probably know all of the chorus.
Catchy pop-tunes are so easy to learn and, for some reason, your brain remembers the lyrics and associates it with the melody much easier than if you were listening to a monotonous voice.
At school I had a teacher who taught the circumference of a circle by changing the words to Kumbaya. I still remember it to this day:
“2 pi r my lord, 2 pi r, 2 pi r my lord, 2 pi r, 2 pi r my lord, 2 pi r, circumference of a circle, 2 pi r”
It’s super catchy.
Also, songs are fun. Revision is fun when it’s a song.
Make it a story
This has been a popular tool for many years. One of the most famous teachers in the world, Jesus, spoke in parables and stories a lot of the time.
Stories are logical and much easier to remember than straight principles, particularly if you’re teaching some ethical or political idea. Take Animal Farm by George Orwell for instance, that teaches us that pigs are awful creatures and some horses will betray you. There are some political messages in there but those are the main pieces I learnt from it.
Once again, stories are pretty fun. When you make learning fun, that’s when learning becomes learning.
Stories are also exciting. When you throw in a tale of a lightning bolt striking a copper bar and everyone holding the bar gets electrocuted, that’s when you remember that copper is conductive.
Write yourself stories when trying to learn stuff, it’ll come in mightily handily.
If you follow these two principles then you’re sure to be the brainiest brainbox in brainland. And if, for whatever reason, those tips don’t help you to learn, then you’ll at least have a sub par musical which can be sold for millions of pounds and made into a movie.
I heard that’s how Les Mis got started…