Learning how to learn

The most effective, cutting-edge learning techniques that you can apply to your daily life. Learn more →

Header image

The main problem with education

Whether it's at school or university, the one thing no one ever teaches you is how to teach yourself. All you actually do is memorize information in order to regurgitate when you take the test. You get drilled on how to solve specific exercises so that while you know exactly what you need to do when exam time comes around, do you truly understand the subject material? All you've really learned is how to pass that one test. Once that test is over, the information in your head has outlived its usefulness.

Conclusion: Knowing how to study is absolutely essential, but for some reason, this point is too often overlooked. So, what can we do to remedy this?"

There are certain techniques and exercises that can be applied to the learning process to help make it more efficient and engaging. This is exactly what we do at Practicum.

Learning Techniques

Five Strategies from Barbara Oakley

  • Two ways of Thinking

    Two Ways of Thinking

    Deep understanding comes from being able to toggle back and forth between focused and diffused thinking.

  • Recall


    Improving your ability to remember key bits of information helps to connect different parts of the brain.

  • Interleaving


    When you learn multiple skills at the same time, they reinforce each other.

  • Questions


    When listening to your teacher, think up a good question, something that you're really itching to know.

  • Illusions of Competence

    Illusions of Competence

    Test yourself, write it down, tell other people, and repeat the process in different settings. Only then can you be truly certain you've understood something.

TED talks

For lovers of procrastination

Barbara Oakley’s story.

Math didn't come naturally to Barbara in childhood. She thought of herself as more of a humanities person, and not a brilliant one at that. With an eye to becoming a linguist, after school she enlisted in the army, who sent her to learn Russian. After several years of service, during which she rose to the rank of Captain, Barbara left the army and decided to study engineering. In was during this time that she developed her learning methodology as she was forced to reprogram her brain for a different kind of learning. It turns out that when something doesn't come naturally to you, having to work hard to gain the knowledge that other people may get at first glance gives you a deeper, more comprehensive understanding of the subject matter.

The Feynman Technique

Learn without forgetting.

More →

Facts and Figures

On learning and the brain

  • 86 billion

    The number of neurons in the human brain

  • 2.1 billion

    The number of adults with low reading proficiency

    World Bank, 2017

  • 1,000 terabytes

    Human information storage capacity

  • 500 trillion

    The number of nerve synapses responsible for learning in an adult human

  • 420 million

    The number of adults under 25 with insufficient education for finding employment

    World Bank, 2017

  • 17 - 20 years old

    Peak learning age

  • 1885

    Development of the forgetting curve

  • 1897

    Publication of Ivan Pavlov's research on classical conditioning

Salman Khan

The One World Schoolhouse

Sal Khan's passion and innovation is transforming learning for millions of students worldwide. The One World Schoolhouse is a must-read for all who are committed to improving education so students everywhere can gain the skills and knowledge to be successful in school, careers and life.

George Lucas


Ten principles of rapid skill acquisition

by Josh Kaufman

  • 1

    Choose a lovable project.

  • 2

    Focus your energy on one skill at a time.

  • 3

    Define your target performance level.

  • 4

    Deconstruct the skill into sub-skills.

  • 5

    Obtain critical tools.

  • 6

    Eliminate barriers to practice.

  • 7

    Make dedicated time for practice.

  • 8

    Create fast feedback loops.

  • 9

    Practice by the clock in short bursts.

  • 10

    Emphasize quantity and speed.

Useful resources

Further materials on learning techniques and hacks.

Leave a Comment

Share your thoughts with the community