Ramont Smith

Ramont Smith

Change Listening to Increase Learning Retention

Many high school and college students suffer from low learning retention, often relying on hours of grueling memorization and rote study to pass tests and complete coursework. To improve learning retention, students should consider changing their typical approach; of going to lecture first, taking notes second, reading third and finally asking questions. Instead, students should consider slipping micro-exposure and discussion into their usual learning process. Doing this helps increase brain plasticity for a more effective way to store and access new information. 

Traditional lecture and note taking typically isn’t very effective in increasing learning retention, as most of the information can pour through the student’s mind in one ear and out the other. This is especially true if the material is dense or complex. In contrast, students who have invested in understanding how their mind works have learned how to learn. They use a different approach to increase their retention in lectures. They are able to use different techniques to help make their mind “listen” differently. Rather than just passing through, their mind holds onto the information in a way that increases memory capacity. Active listening increases active learning and when done correctly generates massive amounts of new neuron connections aka memory.

Like a pot of soil that can only hold a certain amount of water, a person’s mind can only hold a certain amount of information. When students actively learn through micro-exposure and discussion, they use active learning to help the mind absorb the new information easier, and increase the plasticity of the mind. This in turn increases the amount of information the person can store, and access more readily. 

The phrase “If you know nothing, you learn a little; if you know a little, you can learn a lot” is particularly relevant to the process of increasing learning retention. When attempting to learn a new concept, it takes much more effort if you are starting from knowing absolutely nothing. However, when you have even a small amount of knowledge related to the concept, you [can] actively connect new information to something you already know, therefore retaining more for longer. 

Taking the time to change the listening approach, and adding in micro-exposure and discussion, can go a long way towards increasing learning retention. When students use lecture as a second exposure to information, the neural networks that are created become stronger allowing them to recall trains of thought with greater ease. With enough practice and dedication, students can learn how to effectively learn and retain new information, eliminating the need to study for long hours. Students gain a fundamental understanding of this during our transformative workshop. After investing and learning these concepts once, they never look at learning the same again. 

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