Many students do not know that there is a difference between memorizing and learning. Young children can memorize a vast amount of information in a short period of time. However, as students reach puberty, it becomes more difficult to do. This is because the adult brain works much differently than the brain of a child.
Try to imagine pouring liquid into a glass, which is half-full as it begins to overflow. While you may be able to observe the liquid flowing out, you have no way ot determining whether it is the liquid that was already in there flowing out, or the liquid you are pouring in. To stop the glass from overflowing, you would have to periodically remove some liquid from the glass to compensate. Using that analogy, we can also understand what happens when we try to “cram” in a lot of information in a short period of time.
how we learn
So how do we identify what is learning? According to the Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, learning is “the act of a person who gains knowledge or skill or knowledge or skill gained from teaching or study”. For this reason, it is difficult to learn if you are simply cramming information in for a short period of time, which is basically a temporary physiological condition of placing information in. In order for you to actually learn, two things have to happen:
Simply put, information has to be applied to real life situations to increase understanding, and then it is to be transferred into the long term memory over time and sleep.
The importance of sleep in learning
Many students do not understand the importance of sleep. Essentially, they undermine their learning experience because they do not realize that sleep is a necessary component in memory recall.
In the sleeping stage, this is where the body rebuilds to repair the damage of “today,” and then transfers information from short term memory into long term memory.
Just knowing this one point alone can do much to transform the academic experience. While cramming may meet the first criteria of content application, transference does not occur with the new information acquired and it just simply escapes into information oblivion.
How to improve your learning experience
To increase your level of competence and truly learn, you should:
- Understand the difference between memorizing and learning
- Adopt positive study strategies to increase learning efficiency
- Be disciplined enough and follow through with what you have learned
With wisdom comes understanding and you can’t become an effective learner without it. Take the time to discover your hindrances and develop an action plan to success. By doing so, you will be able to transform your learning experiences.
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