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  Lecture 1 : Knowledge Synthesis

Knowledge Synthesis : Wiring Your Brain For Success.

Your parents and teachers probably tell you that to be successful in life you need to work hard and do your homework. Working hard is fine but actually to be successful you need to do more than just work hard, you need to work smart.
Working smart means learning how to master your own mind, and wire your brain for success. This module is a crash course in brain science that ends with a few simple habits that will make you more more effective in everything you do.
The first thing to understand is that we all learn differently. There’s a great assessment you can take on a website called Edutopia to find out which combination of learning styles you have.

Bodily-kinesthetic intelligence means you learn best by doing something practical
Interpersonal intelligence means you learn best with others
Intrapersonal intelligence means you are great at learning by yourself
Logical-mathematical intelligence means you are great with numbers and logic
Musical intelligence means you learn best through sound
Naturalistic intelligence means you enjoy being outside and learning from nature
Verbal-linguistic intelligence means you learn best through reading, writing and conversation
Visual-spatial intelligence means you learn best when something is explained visually through pictures or objects

So… when you have to learn something make sure you do it in a way that suits to your preferred learning style. For example, if you are visual, interpersonal and kinaesthetic learner, don’t sit by yourself doing homework. Get together with your friends and turn your homework into a visual game that you can all work on together. Use this course to convince your parents that having lots of friends around is part of your learning strategy and not a distraction.

The next valuable thing to understand is that unless we do something with new knowledge we will forget it.
Research has shown that in a mere 48 hours after hearing a presentation, no matter how attentive the listener is trying to be, he or she will forget about 75 percent of everything the speaker said.
If you want to remember new knowledge effortlessly you need to transform that knowledge into something that is personal to you.

Here’s the process I use.

When I take notes, I don’t just write out exactly what is being said, word for word. I try to pick out the most interesting phrases and themes. Then within 24 hours I use those hand-written notes to type up what I have learned in my own words. I also try to think about how this knowledge could be useful to me in the future. I often add my own ideas and try to spot connections with other things I have recently heard or thought about.

I use Evernote not Microsoft Work for typing up my notes.

The advantage of using Evernote is that your notes are saved online and so if you break or lose your laptop or your phone your notes can still be accessed from another device. Also Evernote enables you to search through all your notes, not just a single word document, which makes it a lot easier to find stuff. You can even design a hashtag system for your notes to find specific phrases when writing your essay or creating a presentation.

It’s worth pointing out again that you should type up your notes within 24 hours. Try to develop a daily practice of spending 10 to 20 minutes typing up everything you have learned that day.

My final point about taking notes is this. I find that it is best to use pen and paper during your lesson or lecture and then to type it up later at home. The reason for this comes down to how our memory works. The more you repeat something in your mind in different ways, the easier it will be for you to remember it.

Try this theory out for your next test. Rather than cramming a revision session the night before your exam, spend 10 minutes every night for two weeks recalling the exam content in a new ways. On the night before the exam, don’t do any revision. Just have a good night’s sleep and take the exam the next day. Your mind will be sharp and you will be able to remember everything you need effortlessly. Nothing is less effective than having a stressful cram session the night before your exam.