The OptiLearning System™ ~ How to learn and remember 500%+ in half the time or less.
Enhances learning quality, integration, long-term memory & joy in learning.
KEY: HOW any material is learned is as important as WHAT is being learned. The Learning Context (environment) is the vital foundation for the Learning Content (material).
Based on decades of scientific research and real-world application, the Optimal Learning System supports enhanced learning, understanding and recall. The following techniques activate and integrate both hemispheres of the brain, as opposed to the prevailing left-brain focus. This opens up vast potentials to optimally learn and remember for anyone who uses these methods, in both learning and teaching. They also help restore fun to the learning process. The key here is quality, not quantity: learning more in less time, and then locking the learning into long-term memory.
The context or environment in which information is learned in deepens comprehension and long-term memory of whatever is being studied. This includes the emotional frame as well: The material being learned ideally should be of genuine, intrinsic interest and offer clear value to the learner, from the learner’s perspective. When anyone is forced to study/learn material against their will or interest, or in a win/lose competitive learning environment, learning is not optimal and creativity and recall both suffer, as has been conclusively shown by Einstein, Deming, Kohn, Neil, Gatto, Robinson and numerous other leading learning authorities. There is a better way. The Optimal Learning System offers a meaningful step in that direction.
The following elements are crucial for optimal learning, in order of relative importance:
1. TEMPERATURE! Ideal is 72 degrees F, give or take a degree depending on local climate. For every two degrees above or below 72°, long-term memory retention drops approx. 25%. Too hot and people fall asleep; too cold and it’s hard to concentrate. Temperature is usually completely overlooked as a factor in learning, yet is absolutely CRITICAL to peak learning and teaching. The mind simply cannot focus nor optimally learn and remember if the body is uncomfortable.
Action Rx: Get a digital thermometer at any Radio Shack (about $15) and strive to keep the room temperature wherever you are learning/studying/teaching at 72 degrees F (22 degrees C).
2. LEARNING CYCLES Short learning/teaching segments of 20 to 50 minutes (max.) are best, with 5 to 8 minute mini-breaks. KEY: Our brain remembers best what is “first and last”; this means we want to have shorter learning cycles, as opposed to just a few long ones. These short learning cycles allow the brain and body to more fully integrate what is being learned.
Action Rx: Use a countdown timer for your learning/studying sessions. Be sure to take at least a 5-minute break every 50 minutes. Remember to reset and start the timer when you begin each new learning cycle.
3. MUSIC Listen to soft Baroque music in the background of your learning space; raise the volume during breaks. Classical Baroque music approximates the ideal brain wave state for LTMA: Long Term Memory Activation. It is also a gentle reminder of the human heartbeat, which tends to relax, open and focus our inner Learning channels. This helps achieve and maintain the ideal, focused learning state of relaxed concentration. Great Baroque composers include: Bach (both JS & JC) Handel, Pachelbel, Telemann, Vivaldi, etc.
Action Rx: Create a Baroque favorites custom playlist and play it softly in the background whenever you’re reading/studying anything you want to remember; also great for your office and clients meetings; promotes relaxed focus.
4. COLOR When writing or taking notes, always use at least 2 colors, e.g., black, blue, red, green. More colors are better than less. Have fun with this: use illustrations, bold lines, symbols and other visuals in addition to words. Highlighting is also great. Color is powerful for stimulating greater attention and recall.
Action Rx: Always have at least two different color pens handy to take notes (alternate colors), and get in the habit of highlighting key points, again with at least two and ideally four+ different color highlighters (fluorescent colors are great).
5. MOVEMENT Some kind of short movement/exercise activates the right brain at the beginning and/or end of each break cycle. This can be as simple as standing-up and stretching for 1-2 minutes. A regular movement ritual primes and prepares your mind to shift right back into learning mode at each break’s end.
Action Rx: Make it a habit to do some kind of movement ritual for 1-2 minutes at the start of each new 50-minute learning cycle, e.g. stretching, 1-minute yoga, etc.
Additional boosters to further enhance the Optimal Learning System
USE THE 3-VIEW FORMULA™
1. At the start of each learning cycle, take a few moments to Pre-VIEW your material.
2. The learning itself is the In-VIEW phase of the process, best supported with the primary techniques above.
3. At the end of each learning cycle, or at the end of the day, briefly Re-VIEW what’s been learned, highlighting key points. This is not intended to be a linear process, but more spontaneous and organic, with time for reflection and review. The 3-View Formula also applies to teaching.
ID KEY WORDS Before beginning, it is good to think of 3-8 key themes or words that convey the essence of what you will be learning or teaching. Another very powerful whole-brain activator is to use a good mix of multi-sensory descriptive words (i.e. relating to Sight, Sound, Taste, Touch, Scent, “6th Sense,” etc.). This engages Emotional Memory Encoding™, which further locks-in learning into long-term memory.
USE SCENT To better encode any material being studied into your long-term memory, select a favorite scent (e.g., rosemary, peppermint, lavender, etc.) and include your chosen scent in every study session. Studies have shown up to a 20% increase memory recall of studied material using this method. To practice, get some essential oil at a natural food store and dab a touch under your nose when you begin studying. Repeat the process just before and even during your test and you’ll have greater recall of the material you had studied. The sense of smell is a very powerful memory enhancer; remember how sniffing an old scent can take you right back to times and places past.
AIM: WHOLE-BRAIN INTEGRATION The entire Optimal Learning System is about integrating and amplifying both hemispheres of the brain. This vastly increases your potential for deeper learning and memory. Conventional teaching methods are almost exclusively focused on just the left-brain, with often sub-optimal results.
Here’s a partial list of left and right brain dominance categories:
Analytical – Creative
Verbal – Non-verbal
Successive – Simultaneous
Hearing – Sight
Sense of time – Sense of space
Splitting things up (ANALYSIS) – Joining things together (SYNTHESIS)
DEFINING the dots – CONNECTING the dots
Tensing – Relaxing
Logic – Intuition
Dealing with parts – Seeing the whole
Written language – Insights and ideas
Part/piece identification – Total pattern recognition
Fixed – Movement
Linear* – Holographic
*Linear is considered a more left-brain function. While important, it is overemphasized by the prevailing educational system and thus by most people. A more integrated approach includes the right brain for greater balance and integration. The objective is to increase our total learning capacity, to better understand the material and to promote stronger long-term memory.
TRY MINDMAPPING Another proven technique for accelerating and amplifying whole-brain function and learning is called Mind Mapping. Two books, both titled Mind Mapping, one by Tony Buzan, originator of the method; the other by Joyce Wycoff, provide an excellent how-to on this subject. The Mind Mapping technique has been proven to be a most powerful way to create, capture, and remember information. It is also is the best method for students to record notes to enhance recall. Often described as holographic imaging, it adds a great new dimension to the usual 2-D flatness of a piece of paper. MindMapping helps make learning more creative, fun and engaging.
Benefits of using the Optimal Learning System include
• Increases Long-Term Memory Retention 500%+
• Decreases the time needed to study and remember information
• Promotes a more integrated, whole-brain learning experience
• Raises the quality and value of the total learning process
• Restores fun and creativity to learning – Optimal learning is enjoyable learning!