6 Jun   Opinion

Are you happy with how you learn?

by Connor Neblett

Why are you procrastinating? Why is it hard to focus in your lectures? Who was that author that Emma thought you should cite in your next essay? Where did you put the photo of that math formula your friend sent? What day is it?

When it comes down to it, learning is simple – there are many different things you can learn, but the core concepts remains the same: find some information that you want to learn, and work on it. Use a mnemonic to help you memorize it. Write an essay about the information you’re trying to absorb. Build an electrical circuit based on the principles you’ve been reading about. All you have to do is synthesize the information in any way that you can.

It’s really not that hard.

Until it is. Sometimes, you weren’t interested in the topic to begin with – you’re learning it because you think you should, or because someone else is “forcing” you to. Maybe you are very interested in the topic, but you get distracted by some other thing that needs your attention. Oftentimes, memorizing the information is just more effort than you were expecting it to be. Then there are the times where you want to learn the exciting things first, but there is a lot of “boring stuff” that needs to come first, because without the foundation you’ll be hopelessly lost.

The point is: an abundance of obstacles can get in the way of learning. And that’s why, over the past few millennia that education has existed, many, many people have tried to find ways to make learning easier on themselves. Educators and students alike have developed systems and workflows that make it much simpler to go from “I don’t know anything about this topic” to “I’m an expert in this field”.

A good start is to find someone that is knowledgeable about the thing you want to learn. Then you might try taking notes. That could be helpful. From there, you can start avoiding distractions by isolating yourself. Or, you could join a study group – a lot of value can be derived from a place where ideas can be easily shared and discussed. Drink a coffee.

Whatever methods you employ, you’re lucky to be reading this in the 21st century. Technology has given you a thousand different ways to “be more productive”. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t, and that’s ok. I’ve probably tried hundreds of tools to make myself a better student. There are apps for everything now: word processing, note-taking, anti-procrastinating, rote memorization, mindmapping, diagramming, spreadsheeting, and todo lists – you name it, I ’ve probably tried it. It can be a bit overwhelming.

The good news? There are countless people actively trying to solve this problem for us. There are educators trying to make better and better learning materials. There are developers releasing new apps to help you learn, every day. There are researchers conducting studies to determine the “best way to learn”, once and for all.

Supernotes is a platform that serves a singular purpose: we want to help you study better. Whether this means learning the material more thoroughly, more quickly, or with less stress – it really doesn’t matter to us. If we can do all three of those things, that’s wonderful. If we can manage just one, that’s great too. We aim to do this by employing tried-and-true methods that have been used for thousands of years, as well as methods that are much newer. As much as possible, these methods will be backed by extensive academic research, which we will always make available for you to read yourself. So, if you want to learn better, sign up to the Supernotes waiting list, and you’ll be the first to know when it’s time to learn with us.

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