Introduction: Effortless Learning by Tony Roe
I have devoted this year to learn the 10 key skills needed to thrive in 2020. I created the Strategic Reading Challenge to do so, and I have people in the Facebook group who are participating in the challenge. Therefore, I am always looking for ways to make it easier to learn the skills. I have several books on accelerated learning, so I will be working my way through them. Effortless Learning: Learn the Secrets That Teachers Never Told You: Master Any Subject, Memorize More, And Focus Fast is for students, but I was able to find some useful tips for me to be more effective when learning the key skills.
I will focus on this type of information for this post. If you are a student, you may want to read the book for yourself. Before I write about what I found most helpful in Tony Roe’s Effortless learning, I want to share a quote from 10 Ways to be a Better Learner by Jeff Cobb. I thought the quote was important because Tony Roe talks a lot about revising your notes.
“Develop the habit of taking notes: Organize your notes, Review it a few times, Re-work it, Reflect on it, and Connect it to what you already know. This is a powerful way to learn and move information/knowledge to your long-term memory.”
Have you read?
What is Effortless Learning by Tony Roe About?
In Effortless Learning, the author writes that scoring top marks centers around two things – learning strategies and exam/application strategies. For professionals who are interested in continuous learning, that would translate into learning strategies and practical application of the information. Tony Roe emphasized note making versus note taking and how to use mind mapping to capture your notes. This is very hands on because you cannot create a mind map unless you understand the information. Note making also involves revising your notes.
When learning a subject, it is important to ask questions and keep on revising. When you ask questions, it is an active form of learning because you are now on the lookout for the answers. To succeed at your learning goals, you have to decide to succeed and have the desire to succeed. And everything begins with a dream, a desire, a GOAL. What are your learning goals for the year? A few of us are learning the 10 key skills that the World Economic Forum says you need to thrive in 2020, how about you?
- Complex Problem Solving
- Critical Thinking
- People Management
- Coordinating with Others
- Emotional Intelligence
- Judgement and Decision Making
- Service Orientation
- Cognitive Flexibility
To achieve your learning goals, you have to be able to measure your progress. If you are a student, your grades indicate achievement. If you are a professional, you could teach the information to someone, and if you cannot, that’s an indication that you need to do more work. You could also try to apply what you learn, and if you have trouble doing so, that indicates you need to do more work.
Accelerated Learning Strategy #1 – Power Reading for Information
To power read, you must read the book quickly, extracting the essential information that teaches the skill. What is key information vs not useful information. Focus on the 20 percent of keywords. You are retrieving key ideas in the form of keywords. Remember the 80/20 rule when reading. Read through the chapter quickly to get the essence of what it is about. You can power read the book more than once which will increase your reading comprehension.
Reasons to Power Read
- Power reading is an effective strategy to extract key information in the form of keywords.
- It increases your ability to concentrate and comprehend. The faster you read the better you comprehend the information.
- Free up more time for constructive activities. It reduces the amount of time you spend reading.
Power Reading Theory
Some of the information below will sound familiar to you while some will be new. But it is worth paying attention to.
Step 1: Previewing: Scan and skim the book to get the gist of what it is about. It also allows you to look for important information – key ideas. When you preview the book, you get a sense of where the important ideas are.
Step 2: Look for key ideas and keywords. Speed read the text and circle any key ideas and keywords you find.
Step 3: Repeat step 2 three to five times for maximum comprehension. Read with high tempo music with no lyrics in the background.
Step 4: Transfer all the keywords to a mind map.
Asking questions can be an accelerated learning strategy. It gives you insight into a problem, which helps in the search for solutions. When you read a book for information or to further your knowledge on a topic, you usually have questions you want answered. What questions do you want the book to answer? When you pose questions before reading the book, it is an effective way of learning. This helps you to make connections between what you are seeking and what you know. When you ask questions, you are driven to facts. While I was reading this section in Effortless Learning, I was reminded of the eight elements of thought, which I present below. The eight elements of thought help you to understand the material that you are reading.
Eight Elements of Thought
- What’s the author’s purpose for writing the book?
- What’s the author’s point of view on the issue?
- What assumptions are the author making?
- What are the implications of her reasoning?
- What information does she use to reason through the issue?
- What are the inferences and conclusions?
- What are the most basic concepts?
- What’s the question the author trying to answer in the book?
Why Ask Questions
- Challenge assumptions.
- Expose contradictions.
- Lead to new knowledge and wisdom.
To use questions effectively to get the answers that you seek, you have to be able to distinguish between effective and non-effective questions. Effective questions help you to discover opportunities and find creative solutions.
Asking Questions: What, Why, When, How, Where, and Who.
Questioning to Solve Problems
Probing: delve deeper and deeper. Use questions for understanding to lead to learning. Have an intention what you need to know after every question.
Fatal Mistakes While Asking Questions
- Make sure each question is relevant: Think before you ask a question. Follow an idea to see where it leads.
- Questions should not be vague or ambiguous: Shows you are not clear about what you want to ask.
- Saying I don’t know before asking or answering a question: This indicates uncertainty.
- Avoid accusing, sarcastic, or threatening language or tone in your questions: Imagine how you would feel on the receiving end. It is about respect.
- Asking questions that are too general: Moves you away from topic.
- Behind every question must be an intention to know something: Do not ask a question for the sake of asking. Intent should be to gain knowledge and wisdom.
- Not asking a question in the first place: Do not worry about what people will think about you for asking the question. Be curious. Have an open mind and stay curious.
Listening is a Part of Effective Questioning
When you ask questions, you have to listen attentively. Listening gets you to a deeper level of understanding. To determine what a problem is, active listening and questioning are your best tools.
Accelerated Learning Strategy #2: Taking Notes with Mind Mapping
Importance of Taking Notes
Writing things down is the best way to remember because it is a form of learning. Using note making strategies will decide whether you get an ‘A’ or a lower grade. Learn to make whole brain notes. This means you are engaging both sides of the brain. To recall information, it is important if you linked the information, and the strongest linkage is emotions.
Left side of brain: analysis, logic, math, sequence, linear, language
Right side of brain: emotions, creativity, color, rhythm, imagination, and dimension.
It is best to use both sides of your brain. Mind maps help you to absorb more information. To use mind maps, you have to understand the whole or you cannot map it out. It forces you to process the information you are learning.
Types of Whole Brain Notes
- Mind Map
- Cluster Map
- Time Line
- Flow Charts/Concept Maps
Have you read?
Rules and Guidelines of Mind Maps
Step1. Draw a main idea at the center of a horizontal page
- Use 3 colors
- Picture size at least size of thumb
- Don’t use frames
Step 2. Create a sub-topic by adding a branch from main picture.
- Use capital letters
- Keyword focused
- Words always on the line
Step 3. Develop your main points
- Branches radiating from sub-topic are small
- One word per line
- Color of branches radiating from the same point should be the same color
- Use keywords, symbols, and images
Step 4. Map out details
I said this before, but it is very important, so it is worth repeating. Linking information helps you to recall it. The strongest linkage is emotions. Visual images help you to link information as well as make associations. Association is connecting the new information with what you already know. This is an active form of learning. When you want to memorize information, you have to make linkages between the information. A good way to do this is to create a funny, absurd, and outstanding story to link the information.
When you learn something new, if you do not take steps to move it to your long-term memory, you forget most of what you learn within an hour. Therefore, it is important to review your notes at timed intervals to remember what you learned. Five minutes after class, one day after, a week later, one month, and two months. This is called spacing.
Have you read?
To get a return on your investment in learning time, learn how to apply what you have learned and memorized. If you are learning the 10 key skills, you should be aware of what the key skills are teaching you. Decide each day what you are going to read.
Related Books by Avil Beckford
Final Thoughts: Effortless Learning by Tony Roe
To succeed today in an ever-changing environment requires that you are a constant learner. Since you will be learning all the time, it is important that you have some strategies to make learning more fun and efficient. Effortless Learning by Tony Roe will help you to get the most out of your learning time.
Join me in the Strategic Reading Challenge to Learn Key Skills Facebook Group. I created some e-books to help you get the most out of your reading time.