Thursday, August 23, 2018

Do You Retain Enough of What You Read?

We’re consuming more information than ever before — but retaining all that knowledge is another story. If you find yourself struggling to use what you read (or even just remember it), you probably aren’t learning productively. To be a more efficient learner, try three things. First, focus your reading on a single topic for several months. The deeper you go into a subject, the stronger a foundation you’ll have for learning about it in the future. Second, regularly synthesize what you have learned. When you finish reading something, ask yourself, “What are the key takeaways here?” If you can’t explain an idea to yourself, you probably didn’t learn it very well. And third, take occasional breaks from consuming new information. Reflecting on what you’ve read in the past is an important part of processing it — and constantly taking in new information can interfere with that. Give yourself time to review, consider, and apply what you’ve already read.
Adapted from “Become a More Productive Learner,” by Matt Plummer and Jo Wilson

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