How to speed up learning?
Acquiring new skills is always challenging. Athletes and artists both spend a considerable amount of time in honing their skills.
Practice is a key ingredient to developing a new skill. Doing one thing over and over again creates a neural connection that will hold the information being learned.
But how can you ensure that you don’t forget the information you’ve just learned?
One research found that extending the time in learning helps lock the information. Practicing after a skill is learned is helpful in solidifying the learning process.
In the previous study, participants were instructed to continue practising after a skill is learned.
The result suggests that an extra twenty-minute practice after a skill is mastered can help lock the information.
The best thing about a continuous practice is that it shields the learned information. Even if you stop improving later, you will retain the information.
Professor Takeo Watanabe, one of the authors of the study explained the result. “These results suggest that just a short period of overlearning drastically changes a post-training plastic and unstable [learning state] to a hyperstabilized state that is resilient against, and even disrupts, new learning,” Watanabe said.
In most cases, the learning process can be impaired by the proceeding learning. To prevent this from happening, the authors had outlined recommendations.
1. Overlearning helps solidifies the learned information. This means that continuous practice even after a skill is learned makes the information easier to retrieve or apply later.
2. After you learned a skill, resist the urge to learn new information. It is important to strengthen the neural connection that holds the information before you acquire another skill. Learning new information subsequently will actually disrupt what you have learned.
3. A learning interval is helpful. This means that you can learn two skills intermittently. A few hours of interval between the two tasks is crucial in avoiding interference.
Finally, Professor Watanabe gave his ultimate recommendation. “If you want to learn something very important, maybe overlearning is a good way. If you do overlearning, you may be able to increase the chance that what you learn will not be gone,” Watanabe said.
This finding is useful to all of us. If you want to retain most of the information you learned, try to overlearn.
A 20-minute practice after you learned a skill is enough to retain the information.