4 Common Myths About Learning

As we age, we never stop learning. Formal education might end after four years of higher education, but there is still a world full of places we have yet to explore and concepts we have yet to grasp well enough to share our knowledge with others.

With learning comes misconception. The more scientists “learn” about learning, the more they are able to speak for how the brain truly masters concepts and solves complex problems.

Here are four common learning myths and how educating yourself on these misconceptions can enhance your own learning.

1. You are Right-Brained or Left-Brained

creative

Boost your Creativity

Do you tend to solve problems with a creative more than an analytical approach? If so, you might consider yourself to be right-brained.

In truth, you’re neither right- nor left-brained. Research has found that the connections the brain makes while thinking happen in all regions of the brain rather than one for the creative-minded and the other for the more logical thinkers.

Focus your mental energy on learning and thinking in the way that’s most effective for you personally, rather than worrying about whether or not a learning technique is best suited for a certain brain hemisphere.

2. Time Management is a Waste of Time

time management

Time Management

You’re a busy person. There’s a lot to do and not much time to do it all. You’re doing your best to take the time necessary to learn a new skill or pick up a new hobby, but with so many things on your plate, it’s better to just dive right in and see what you can get done. Or is it?

More likely than not, it’s not time management itself that’s the issue: it’s the way you’re trying to manage your time.

By listing out your tasks and forcing yourself to finish the most important ones first, you’ll start looking at your to-do list differently. Suddenly those most important tasks earn more of your time and effort than the less important ones. Making more time for learning, and diving as deep into it as you can, is more effective and productive than you might think.

3. It’s Bad to be Confused

confuse

Clarity Comes from Action

There’s nothing more frustrating than battling that lost, confused feeling you get when you don’t understand a concept. It makes you doubt yourself and secretly wonder, “Can I really learn this?”

Science tells a different story. Instead of forcing us to give up or hindering our learning process, confusion actually makes us better learners. When we’re confused, we are much more motivated to work harder to figure out the answer or understand a concept.

Confusion prompts us to ask questions we might not have asked otherwise, or gives us the confidence to ask an instructor to repeat an explanation in a different way. Don’t shy away from confusion – it’s good for your brain.

4. “Real” Learning Only takes Place in a Classroom

class room

Learn from Unsuccessful People

When you think of learning, you probably picture rows of desks, a white board and an instructor lecturing in front of his students. This is a traditional form of learning and how most classrooms are structured, but it isn’t the only format in which learning can take place.

Just because there’s no classroom doesn’t mean learning isn’t happening. Learning outside the classroom makes us more engaged in the subject matter and encourages us to be more creative in coming up with our own devices for remembering key takeaways.

These days we can learn from anywhere. Online programs give us the freedom to learn virtually anything we want, whenever and wherever we want. Don’t let the unappealing idea of sitting at a desk keep you from learning new things.

Now matter how, when, where or why you learn, the truth is that everyone learns best in their own way. There is no right or wrong. What is important is you make learning something new a priority, no matter the subject or what you plan on doing with it.

Pay close attention to the unique ways you solve problems, organize your tasks, ask questions and get the most out of your lessons. There’s a chance you know an effective learning method someone else doesn’t. Spread not only your knowledge, but how you go about obtaining it. Learning isn’t just an individual process. Helping others answer their own questions is just as powerful a tool.

ByMeg Dowell

Meg is on a mission to help people learn to live smarter, healthier lives. She is the managing editor at College Lifestyles magazine and blogs daily at megdowell.com.

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