I have always liked learning and am, in my own opinion of course, quite ok in knowing how to learn. School felt easy and I got the grades I was after in most cases. However, my focus was on getting the grades and passing the courses and having a goal to effectively pass a course leads to different learning methods than having a goal of really understanding and being able to use the knowledge and transfer it to other domains. So my most used methods utilised some of the very same methods which I critique and see as leading to rote memorisation and quickly forgetting about the content.
This year I decided to change this. This year I want to find the methods that really work for me and learn to apply them well and often enough that they are ingrained into my behaviour as default settings. I also want to share this journey with all of you, so there is accountability in this process as well.
So my goals for this year are:
- Reading for understanding: finding the methods and tools to use which allows all (or most) of what I read to be used effectively later on, utilised and applied, so that I can say what the main content was and not just who wrote it and where I can find it again.
- Reading faster: I read a lot. Being able to read faster would enable me to read more. I really want to be able to read more. So at the beginning of February (or around there) I measured my reading speed and it was about 300 words per minute with 80-100% comprehension. At the end of this year, I want to read at least 700 words per minute or more with an average of 90% comprehension.
- Memory: I have noticed that outsourcing my memory onto my iPhone has effectively made it more difficult to remember things. So I want to practice remembering more and finding effective memory strategies that help me, for instance, to learn new languages.
- Learning new languages: Last year I learned Swedish and I can converse in that quite well at least concerning everyday matters. This year I want to learn Swedish better so I can also write in it and converse about more topics. I also want to learn to converse in French at least about everyday topics. On top of this I want to be able to function as a tourist in Italian and Chinese.
I will report back on how I am progressing and what tools and methods I am using. Currently I am using Memrise (French, Swedish, Chinese, and Italian), Duolingo (French), Acceleread (for reading faster), listening to the radio in Swedish, watching series and films in various languages both through Netflix and Youtube, conversing when ever able in foreign languages and trying out the Cornell note taking system while reading (more on reading for understanding in a later post). I’ll report back in a month or so on how I am doing then.