Due to the current world conditions we are likely to be forced to stay indoors for long periods of time and change our routines, you have tried to choose a new skill or learn a new subject. If you are not an active learner, you may feel like you are taking too long to pick up on that new skill or miss new knowledge. You may also think that you are a slow learner.
But slow learning often has more to do with our ability to focus, our mindset, and our innate ability to learn.
Let’s take a look at four reasons why you are learning slowly and what to do about it.
1. Lack of Focus of Learning Slow
Focus is important for learning. If you are not paying full attention to what you are trying to learn, it will make learning more difficult and slow. Therefore, when you can believe that you are a slow learner, you are most likely just a distracted learner.
Once you focus on yourself, you will be surprised how fast you can gain new knowledge and skills. How can you improve your focus? Here are some things to help you.
It is easy to focus in a quiet, distraction-free environment
Have you tried reading an article on a noisy place? Or have you tried to read a book back and forth every few minutes? It is almost impossible to concentrate.
So, the first and simplest strategy to improve your focus is to get rid of as many deflections as possible. Choose a relaxed environment to do your studies and make sure you will not be interrupted.
It is easier to focus than Refocus
Multitasking, as we have been thinking about it, does not exist. Our brain cannot cognitively demand two activities at the same time. We think multitasking is the most frequent task switching. We move back and forth between one activity and another.
Some people are better at task switching than others, but overall, task switching is inefficient and makes us lose focus. Once distracted, our brains take several minutes to focus exclusively on things that demand mental energy, such as learning. Therefore, we are better off avoiding any type of task switching (or even mental wandering) in the first place.
A good way to do this is to block time for learning and make sure to break away from everything else. Once we set a time for something, our mind is free to turn off all “mental” information (“send that email,” “tomorrow’s preparation for that meeting,” etc.) And let us focus on the task at hand. .
It is easy to concentrate when our body and mind are relaxed and healthy
Poor nutrition, dehydration, lack of sleep and unhealthy habits affect our ability to concentrate. We try to keep our learning abilities in a certain day with our reasoning powers or in our memory. But our physiology also plays a major role in learning and internalizing new knowledge and skills.
If you want your brain to focus and be in peak condition for learning, then you need to keep your body in top condition as well. With a good night’s sleep, better diet, less alcohol and better hydration, your brain will reward you with more focus and more effective learning.
2. Mindset and beliefs have a strong impact on learning
In the book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, world-renowned psychologist Carol Dweck explains that our approach can have an impact on our development.
People with a certain mindset — the belief that we are born with characteristics that cannot be changed — have a tendency to think in terms of “you either have or don’t have,” which in turn is a mental May create inhibition that hinders their progress.
But people with a growth mindset – the belief that we can develop and improve our abilities through passion and perseverance (what psychologists call Angela Duckworth “grit”) – work hard to enhance and improve our abilities Are motivated to
As Henry Ford once said, “Do you think you can or do you think you can’t, you’re right.”
And this is true when it comes to learning. If you believe that “you either have what you have to learn” or “old dogs can’t learn new tricks,” you will create a negative space effect (AKA nocebo effect) that slows down your learning or Can make you worse
3. Unrealistic expectations make us believe that we are slow learners
Whenever we want to choose a new skill or learn a new subject, we believe that the learning process will go smoothly. But the reality is that learning is sometimes frustrating, stressful and slow.
We forget this reality, because as adults, we often do not come into new areas of which we know nothing. You are already good at your job and various things you have been doing for some time. So, you’ve probably forgotten what you feel through the process of learning from scratch – and how much time and energy it actually takes.
The big problem comes when we don’t meet our unrealistic expectations of how quickly we should learn, we blame ourselves. We think we are slow learners, that we have no talent, or that we are not as smart.
Our expectations about the learning process and our learning speed are, to a large extent, making us feel like slow learners – even if we are not.
So, as we should be aware of our mindset, we should also keep our expectations in mind and ensure that we talk to people in the field (teachers, advanced students, etc.) and spend more of time and energy. Keep a realistic perspective. Commitment is necessary to know what we are doing.
It is also important to note that learning is a long-term process. Some people move rapidly through the beginning stages but slow down later.
For others, it is the opposite: they learn slowly in the early stages but rapidly in intermediate and advanced ones. The point is that a fast or slow start is not a good predictor of your abilities as a learner.
4. Previous learning affects learning speed
What do you think snowboarding will learn faster, someone who is already a good surfer and skater or someone who has never tried a board game?
Past learning affects how quickly we learn something new. The man who is already a good surfer and skater has the foundation for board games to move into snowboarding, which will let him learn new skills fast.
In an unambiguous way, our brain works as a scaffold – everything we have already created serves as a foundation to build on top. Here is where comparing yourself to others can be misleading. We do not know their background or what they have learned in the past.
We may think that when we compare ourselves to classmates and colleagues, we are slow learners, but they may already have the knowledge and skills that allow them to pick up new learning very quickly . The strategy here to become a fast learner is to never stop learning. The more we learn, the faster we can learn new things.
Turn off thoughts
For the most part, people are not naturally fast or slow learners. It is not a matter of their ability to learn but how efficiently and effectively they use that ability.
Think of it this way: Imagine that you want to move a wheel from point A to point B. But also think that instead of turning the wheel, you lay it on its side and push it. You will propel the wheel and take it where you want it to go, but it is not the best way to do it. It will take more time and effort to get from point A to point B.
How fast and easily you make a wheel move, you have everything to use it and you have very little to do with the wheel.
The same goes for your brain. You may think that you are a slow learning person, but most likely, you just need to learn how to use your brain more effectively. By improving your focus, mindset and understanding of the learning process, you will feel that you are going to learn faster than you thought.
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Featured photo credit: Kyle Gregory Deoras via unsplash.com