Whatever it is you are learning, you surely want to remember the most of it. Accelerated learning is something we can all benefit from, but can rarely control it. The truth is, days are too short for us to remember everything we hear and see. The only way to remember the most of what we learn is by maximizing the effectiveness of our brains during the time we spend learning.

There are few people with photographic memory that are actually able to remember everything they see. However, the human brain is not generally designed to remember every piece of information it receives.

Our brain is not a bucket filled with water. Buckets rarely have the problem in retaining the water you put inside them, at least not until it reaches the top and starts overflowing. Human brains function differently. We cannot retain everything like a bucket can, but we can treat the reasons for which our brain leaks some important information.

The Learning Pyramid

The NTL Institute, located in Bethel, Maine has developed the Learning Pyramid in the 1960’s. We are reaching to this particular research because it actually outlines the ways human learn. Understanding how we learn is the first step in finding a way to remember 90% of what we see and hear.

According to the research, the human memory can be separated in 7 percentage categories of how much people remember:

  • 90% when they use the information immediately after receiving it
  • 75% when they practice what they have learned
  • 50% when they engage in discussion with others
  • 30% when they see the information in a demonstration
  • 20% with the help of audio-visualization
  • 10% when they read articles, books and other printed or written materials
  • only 5% from their university, school or college lectures

Regardless of the results of this particular research, our learning is still based on mostly non-interactive methods. Unfortunately, this is the biggest reason why we cannot remember most of what we hear and see.

Nowadays teaching system slowly starts to introduce more active methods of teaching. You may have noticed how teachers start introducing audio classes and presentations. The main reason behind this change is that many researchers have proven that more activity in the classroom results in better chance of remembering the information. However, the change is still moving too slow.

What does this actually mean? It means that in order to remember more, you need to find the most effective way of remembering things. For example, learners of foreign languages should start focusing on more active speaking, after which immediate feedback should follow.

Taking action instead of learning passively is always the better choice. And this is not only the case for learning. Take for example, exercising. Isn’t it always better to work with a trainer or spend some time at the gym rather than watching workout videos?

Time, Money and Learning

Most people connect learning and remembering failure to either lack of time or lack of money. This should not be the case. No one should make excuses about not being able to learn something.

Time is equal for everyone, regardless of where they are. If a person can achieve ten times more than another person in the 24 hours they both have, the problem is not the time. The problem is the effectiveness and efficiency of those who spend it.

Time is irreversible i.e. it cannot be regained. This makes it very important for people to value the time they have and try to optimize their learning every day. Take for example, millionaires. There are so many that started from nothing, but achieved more than they could dream of. And if you think these situations are too rare to be taken seriously and that luck is what caused it, then think of something as simple as a student who has learned a language fluently after a really short period of time.

You cannot have more time than others do. However, you can always opt for the most effective method from the beginning and achieve more in a little time than someone will in hours. Sometimes it takes just a bit of bravery and action in order to achieve it. If you know of a solution that can save you time and allow you to remember better, why put it off? Sometimes investing time and money in a certain thing can prove to be the best thing you have done for improving your learning process.

The fact is, we spend the majority of time re-learning what we did not manage to learn yesterday. If you only start realizing that time cannot go back and find the way to retain more knowledge, you will most surely succeed. Standing in place with the same methods and ways of learning that did not benefit you in the first time can only pull you back.

The only question here remains: what will you do to change this?