Introduction: Learn While You Sleep: 10 Steps to Remember Facts
For those who frequently read this blog, you know that I have an interest in learning and memory. Learning and memory specialist James D. Weinland developed 10 steps to remember a particular fact. In the 1960 book, Learn While You Sleep: The Theory and Practice of Sleep-Learning, the author David Curtis reported:
“In defining memory, James D. Weinland writes that there is no sharp dividing line between learning and memory, since all learning is based on memory. He makes time the one distinction, in that memory is learning that persists. A memory so ingrained that it requires no effort at all is a habit. Memory is a function of the mind, and greater intelligence and better memory usually occur together.”
In previous blog posts I have stressed the importance of learning for a reason and not for the sake of learning. I have also emphasized that when you learn you shouldn’t do so in a vacuum, but connect it to what you already know. This is paramount, especially when you are working toward becoming an expert in a particular field.
When you read the 10 steps for remembering facts, you will also notice that the information applies to when you are reading books. To thrive in workplace today, employees have to constantly update skills. Frequent readers of this blog are learning the 10 skills needed for future jobs, as reported by the World Economic Forum. These steps are useful in learning those key skills.
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Learn While You Sleep: 10 steps to remember a particular fact:
- What’s the value in remembering the fact? How will it benefit you? Try to see its significance, try to be interested in it.
- Focus on the fact, be sure you have it right.
- Be sure you fully understand it.
- Intend to remember it.
- Be confident you can remember it.
- Involve the ego if possible.
- Associate it with other related facts. What do you already know that you can relate to this new piece of information?
- File it in its proper place in your memory system.
- Nothing exists in a vacuum, see the fact as a part of a larger whole.
- If there is a basis for doing so, learn it as part of a small group of related facts.
(Source: Learn While You Sleep; The Theory and Practice of Sleep Learning, David Curtis, 1960)
The 10 steps are simple, yet profound. I have added to some of the steps based on my experience and what I know. To learn and retain any information, you stand a better chance if you are motivated and have an interest in learning the new information. It’s also good to evaluate, interpret and analyze the information, all critical steps in problem solving.
Update: First Published September 2010
Have you read?
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