Sep 20, 2010
For an excellent review of the most recent findings on learning habits, check out The New York Times recent article: Forget What You Know About Good Study Habits. Tons of unexpected and fascinating results!
The findings can help anyone, from a fourth grader doing long division to a retiree taking on a new language. But they directly contradict much of the common wisdom about good study habits, and they have not caught on. For instance, instead of sticking to one study location, simply alternating the room where a person studies improves retention.
Take the notion that children have specific learning styles, that some are “visual learners” and others are auditory; some are “left-brain” students, others “right-brain.” In a recent review of the relevant research, published in the journal Psychological Science in the Public Interest, a team of psychologists found almost zero support for such ideas.
Comment: The way we learn matters for two reasons: a) we need to efficiently retain some information for the various tasks we have to perform every day, but also b) learning induces neuroplastic changes in the brain, which in turn may increase our brain reserve and brain health (see our prior article on Brain Plasticity: How learning changes your brain).