Learning process doesn’t only happen through constant re-reading of learning materials. Reading is essentially only the first step. It is the beginning of our educational journey and we need to make sure that we can really be successful in all areas of our lives. It is important that implement the practice of active reading and our brain can be fully engaged with the information we need. If we do this, we will be able to open the door for actual learning and it’s more than just about memorization. It is not enough only to read, we also have to ask multiple relevant questions. If a sentence in the learning material tells us about the “what” of a specific topic, we also need to learn about the who, where, why, when and how. This will give us a complete picture about a single topic, because we are able to approach the topic from different directions.
Make a checklist of questions related to a single topic. It means that you won’t only read. You will also learn many new things, sometimes you will actively seek information from outside the learning material. As an example, learning material on historical events could tell us about the who and when, but may provide little information about the where, why and how. As supplemental information, we could read more information about the location where the historical happened in the past. We could seek this information on the Internet. We will be able to better imagine what happened in the past. Reading supplemental references about the background information related to leading events will also improve our comprehension. The more information that we know about a historical event, the more eager we are to learn.
The next task that we need to do is to perform the comparison task. As an example, latest information may complement the current theories. This will allow us to connect all the information pieces, so we will have enhanced understanding. If we don’t compare, we will have very limited understanding. Other than reading the learning material, we should also pay close attention to the illustrations and example. Often we skip over pictures and charts, because we consider them as a waste time. In fact, visual images are designed to implant more information easier in our long term memory. Visual illustrations should be closely reviewed before and after we read the learning materials. They should become a highly effective tool for making us understand the topic better.
We should approach the learning material from various directions. This will make a huge difference in how we implement studying sessions. Not only we will have better understanding, our application skills and long term memory will be enhanced as well. We will be able to have lifelong abilities to learn and the importance of active reading sessions can’t be underrated. Analytical and critical capabilities can be improved as well. These skills could be somewhat invaluable later in our adult years and we are more likely to see many things in our lives from multiple perspectives. Learning material should be transformed into something practical, applicable and meaningful.