Learning Tips

Tips for Learning and Academic Skills Improvement

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Also see: MOTIVATION and Success and Teaching & Learning PHILOSOPHY

Self-Improvements and Success Skills' Links are below

(!) "I do not want to give you a fish, I want to teach you how to fish!"

It is much more beneficial to understand general concept (theory) than to memorize particular problems. Solving problems should help you better understand theory so that you can then solve any other problem. If we can not solve a problem that "proves" we do not fully understand "theory." The key is UNDERSTANDING, NOT REMEMBERING!

If you think theory is boring, that means you are not truly interested in understanding.

"Thinking is for our brain what is running for our body - THINK about it ... and keep thinking..."

Learning is individual and life-long process. Teaching is a process in which others (teachers/tutors) help you learn. Education is an organized system with an objective to facilitate learning via teaching and other means.

But remember, learning is individual and you have to do it for yourself. The key is to "stretch" your imagination and to associate an unknown subject to known-to-you subjects, and to THINK about it and "through" it until you GET IT, i.e., it has to "make sense" to you! A teacher will provide you with the facts and his/her interpretation of a subject, but you have to "cement" these facts with your thinking/imagination into your knowledge.

Usually, the first step in learning is confusion - you have a lot of questions about a new subject. That's where a teacher may help you to resolve your confusion by answering your questions. That is probably the best teaching method, which assures that a student-learner is actively involved in thinking, as opposed to passive listening to a teacher.

Another confusion comes from subject-specific terminology, which is for a new learner like a foreign language. A common person could hardly understand, let alone comprehend, a lawyer or medical report if written in professional language, and that is true for every profession. Behind every term (word or expression) there is a deeper meaning. Learning is a process to understand and comprehend the subject-specific terminology, and to differentiate between similar but not the same terms. For example, heat (in BTU) and temperature (in degrees) are related/similar (may be "cousins"), but fundamentally different terms: one is the energy (in BTU or kWh) while the other is a potential (in degrees F or C) relevant for heat transfer (two bodies at the same temperature level may "contain" quite different amount of heat energy). Glossary of a subject-specific terms always comes handy here, and if it is not provided to you, you should make one for yourself. By the time you learn it, you've learned the subject.

And finally, you have to first learn subject's theory, meaning to understand related phenomena, and then apply the general-theory on specific-problem solving. It pays off to spend time to understand the theory, i.e. why and how the formulas are derived, and use that understanding to apply formulas for problem solving. Problem solving helps you better understand theory and vice versa, they feed and complement each other. If you can not solve a problem, that really means that you do not quite understand theory.

Self-Improvements and Success Skills' Links:

Academic Success Skills and Time Management

Study Habits & the Ten Traps

Getting There - Successful Learning

Also see: Teaching & Learning PHILOSOPHY and MOTIVATION and Success

"If you can not explain it, you do not truly understand it!"

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