As a student or as a professional you might have been part of knowledge sharing processes like lectures, seminars, or training programs.
Have you ever felt that post the seminar the learning outcome stays fresh in the mind for a while; however it begins to fade away with time?
No need to mention that your attention span also tends to be inversely proportional to the duration of a session. You may often find your mind racing in different directions.
Students especially need to tackle this problem as lectures become more and more difficult to recall during times of exams (Yes! Been there done that). If the learning cannot be retained by the receiver the whole process is rendered futile.
The question then stands; how to effectively hold on to what is taught in class and training programs and increase your personal productivity?
One of the strategies to deal with this problem is to form action plans. Use action plans to transform insights from a learning program into applied knowledge. These plans can also function as a record of how the training insights can be applied in the future.
The following approach can be used to build and work on an action plan.
1. Don’t shoot in the dark, Set clear objectives
Before the session, make sure that you have clarity of what you wish to derive from the learning program. For example, a student should be aware of the topics that are to be covered in class. And professionals should go through their meeting agendas carefully.
2. What have we learnt?
Writing down findings helps retain them for a longer period of time. So make sure you jot down pointers diligently. The mind associates written pointers with what happens in the session.
Hence you will be able to recall instances when you go through your notes. Writing down important stuff will also save you from asking around for notes during exam time 😉
3. Where can we go with this?
Now that you have understood what has to be learnt from the session, try to understand where this knowledge can be used?
Giving your learning process a more application-based approach will give you an edge over others and will retain the learning with you for a longer span of time. You can read all about how to ride a bike and still be unable to ride.
However, learn via experience and you will become an expert rider in no time.
4. Possible Changes: We often stop thinking about the lecture the minute the bell goes off. Even in an office, professionals do not tend to give an afterthought to what went on in a training session. To adopt the findings of the training, one must retrospect one selves.
For example, if the training is related to punctuality you can check what are the reasons that might make you late for office, or if you are struggling with Maths what are the key topics which need to be strengthened.
5. Make a schedule to stick to: Learning is a recurring process and cannot be done once on a blue moon. Write down steps to monitor your progress. Define small goals which will help you see how well you have applied the programs to your day to day functioning.
Students should aim to revise their notes and study material on a recurring basis as this will keep the memory of the lecture fresh. Professionals can implement the lessons in their work styles depending on the training program.
6. Review progress: At the end, it all boils down to how vigilant you with yourself are. No system works without monitoring, so you need to make sure that you review your schedule, timelines, and deadlines on a regular basis. This will also help you highlight key areas of improvement.
Think of the above steps as a way to enhance your learning experience. This will not only help you in being better prepared for your forthcoming sessions but will also be of use when you need to recall your learning at the time of application.
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