Learning how things are done the right way and mastering them is what really contributes to empowering yourself as a person to excel and be competitive in your field of interest.
However, sometimes to understand the information, we often have difficulty keeping up with what we are trying to learn, we are distracted, and don’t even have enough time, making it difficult to wrap our heads around mastering some topics.
Sometimes, it feels like what we’re after isn’t meant for us because of the difficulty of knowing it. Having said that, there are different cognitive skills that we can work on in our lives that can help us become better learners, and if we take the time to improve ourselves in these areas, we can have sufficient time to absorb the information and apply it on the spot. – the place we need.
Here are 11 of the most effective cognitive skills to accelerate your learning, consider a better and more rewarding learning experience in the weeks, months, or years to come. Read more!
Selective attention is a cognitive skill that allows you to direct your attention to a specific task that is important at a given time and eliminates other distractions that may be tempting for you to engage in.
When you are in a noisy environment, many things can grab your attention. Most of these things may be fun and want to feel involved, but they take you away from the reason why you are in the environment. Now, through selective attention, you can stay focused on why you are in that environment and pursue the tasks that brought you there.
For example, if you and your friends are in a restaurant located in the heart of the city where there are cars babbling, voices from other shop clerks in the shops next door, drunk people arguing and fighting, and much more, you will surely hear most of those voices.
However, the main reason you’re there is to have a conversation with your friend while you eat, and selective attention helps you focus on the task and keep your attention until you’re done.
There are 2 types of selective attention: selective visual attention and selective auditory attention.
Selective visual attention is ample and very eye-catching. Here, you can focus on the things that have high priority amidst so many other visually appealing things.
Selective auditory attention is selective attention based on your sense of hearing. Using the example of you and your friend at a restaurant, you can block out other voices and focus on what your friend is saying.
By working to increase selective attention, you can improve your learning abilities as this helps to direct and maintain your attention on your studies for a long time without allowing yourself to be distracted by other shiny and seductive objects and sounds.
To improve your selective attention, it would be a good idea to make an effort to do focused attention meditation, go to places that are quite noisy, and try to focus on a few selected objects or sounds for extended periods of time. By doing this often and making it more difficult as you progress and get comfortable to some extent, you will be able to sharpen your attention.
Read: Activities That Seem Productive But Waste Time.
Sustained attention, also known as alert attention, is a cognitive skill that helps you stick to a project and keep working on it until you complete it. With continued attention, you become more of a long-term person when it comes to your work or study.
If you decide to pick up a book you want to read on a topic you are interested in, you stick to that book every day until you finish reading it, and then from there, you can now read another book.
Continuous attention improvement is cultivated through long periods of focus where you focus on what you are learning and then take the time to identify the things you have learned in detail.
For example, while you’re reading, you could have another plain sheet of paper on which you jot down the things you’ve learned in detail after about 30 minutes to an hour of focus. And when you are done with the book, you list the knowledge you have gained from the first chapter to the last.
Listening to audiobooks and watching long videos of what you’re learning also helps. Also, following periods of interesting activity with long periods of learning gives a positive kick to your attention.
3. Attention Sharing Skills
While having your attention focused on one thing is good, the reverse is also useful. Divided attention is having your attention on more than one project or task at the same time. This may seem counterproductive but it really isn’t.
Think about having different units that you take at your institution of learning or other chapters within one unit. There are times when you find yourself in a place where you are about to finish one chapter, but also you have to take the next chapter or are about to finish the last page of one unit while also having to keep in mind that you have another unit that you really need to start with.
Getting one thing done while getting ready and planning another is common, and having divided attention in such cases can help so that even when you take two exams on two different units in a day, you can still keep both of them informed without struggling. .
Divided attention, which is also called multitasking, requires the active use of short-term memory for some. And while this is happening, it is also important to aim to store information in long-term memory through constant repetition as it helps in the long term.
Being aware of what you are supposed to learn and how you are learning is also very helpful in increasing divided attention.
4.Logic and Reasoning
Logic and reasoning are cognitive skills that pave the way for problem solving skills and brainstorming ideas that help make your learning useful in the real world.
Most of what we learn is explained in the most straightforward way possible, but some aspects require you to think deeply about the information you are getting and how it works so that you can apply it safely and effectively where it is needed.
For example, during examinations and tests, the examiner expects you to use what you have been taught to solve the problems given in the test, and since the questions are somehow twisted to gauge your understanding of the topic being tested, you may need to think outside the box. to do it right. This is where logic and reasoning come to the rescue.
To get better at logic and reasoning, you can try different techniques including making inferences for different scenarios and then watching how they unfold to see if you get it right, playing brain games like chess, and figuring out the patterns of the various activities you engage in. .
Processing speed is a cognitive skill that has to do with your ability to interpret what you learn and have an easy time applying it in the right places to get the kind of results you’re looking for. With these skills, you can increase your level of productivity in a day and, therefore, create more time to do other things in your daily schedule.
Think about being able to sit down and within 30 minutes, you’ve read and fully understand what a certain aspect of your study – such as a topic in a unit you did at school or in an online course – is all about. The best part is, you understand the concept so well that you don’t have to go back and reread it and try to figure out what it means and the whole process.
To most people, this may seem far from reality, but some people live this experience. Some have argued that this is an ability that is given to a select few when, in fact, it is something that anyone can learn if they set out to achieve it.
Having great processing speed is possible and it makes you a sharp person, which also improves your quality of life in the long run.
You can increase the speed of your information processing by ensuring that you regularly engage in aerobic exercise, encourage your mind to understand things more quickly by reading and interpreting information faster than usual, and eating a healthy diet.
Visual processing is a cognitive skill that is related to processing speed but only focuses on visuals.
This skill is especially useful when you are trying to understand visual data, such as pictures, tables, and graphs. We can all admit that at some point in our lives we have to use both, and having those skills to know what’s going on does help.
The more you use visually represented data, the better you will identify the patterns used in it and the easier it will be for you to decode new data presented as such in the future.
7. Hearing Processing
Auditory processing like visual processing is a distant cousin of processing speed. It deals with sound-based information such as audiobooks.
We are now in an age where advanced technology is used in almost all industries including education. Instead of having to spend days or weeks reading coursebooks, you can listen to the same audiobooks and learn on a large scale.
If you are good at analyzing and understanding sound and relating it to what you are studying, you will have a much smoother time reading and advancing your studies. Again, the more you listen to audio, the better your audio processing skills will be.
Working memory is where you store recently acquired information. If you read the manual of a device that you want to use immediately, you finish reading and then go ahead and start using it without having to refer to the manual every once in a while, your working memory is great.
Working memory promotes understanding, problem solving, reasoning, and planning in education. Having a good working memory means that you can keep in your mind enough information about various items and their relationship to each other well enough to take on the challenges you have and complete them successfully.
A good way to improve working memory is to try to flash words, numbers, cards, or even dots for a few seconds and figure out what you see after a few seconds, and then check if you got it right. You can even take it a notch higher and try to do some pretty complex calculations with what you see and see if you can hack it.
Listening to sounds and relating to them on a deeper level, such as in flashing brain games, can also provide some boost to your working memory.
9.Long Term Memory
This is the retention of information obtained long ago. You are classified among people with the best long-term memory when you can store and easily retrieve information about something that you acquired months or years ago.
If you’ve met someone a few years ago and then got the chance to see them again and you can still remember their name, what they were wearing, and what you talked about the first time you met without struggling, then you probably have a long term memory in your life. above average.
Some well-known ways to take your long-term memory to the next level are through activities such as constant repetition (reviewing the information in your mind), visualizing what you have learned, and being very focused and attentive when you learn something new.
Fluid intelligence is the ability to reason, as well as create, transform and utilize information from our senses in real-time for a variety of reasons including problem solving. This type of intelligence allows you to think abstractly and reason flexibly, and is usually free from learning, education, and experience.
When you come across a problem that needs solving and you can’t rely on past knowledge and experience, fluid intelligence helps you get to the right answer. Fluid intelligence is believed to decline in late adulthood, although it can be trained and you can always increase it at any time in your life if you so choose.
One of the ways you can improve your fluid intelligence is by improving your working memory as they are closely related to each other.
11. Crystallized Intelligence
Crystallized intelligence can be thought of as the opposite of fluid intelligence because this type of intelligence relies heavily on past knowledge and experience that you have acquired over the years. It is based on facts and knowledge, and you become stronger at it as you age as you gain more knowledge and experience as you progress in wise living.
Fluid intelligence can later become crystallized intelligence when you use it to think and reason about various problems and then store the information in your long-term memory. With crystallized intelligence, the more you get information, learn new skills, and have more experience, the more powerful you are.
These are cognitive skills you should try to focus on to help make it easier for you to learn new things more quickly and understand them better.
Now, mastering this skill isn’t as easy as taking a walk in the park, though it’s not that hard either. This may require you to step out of your comfort zone and push yourself slowly each day so that you can increase the power of your mind.
However, the good thing is that you can do that. You are more than capable of mastering these skills and, as a result, better your life.
Starting small is the key. Pick up one skill at a time. Invest your time in honing it and keep applying it. Before long, you’ll be amazed at how far you’ve come.