The University of Twente organized a two-evening-session “braintraining”, -on the 19th and 20th of November 2008-. I was free to attend the training, and I learned a lot about psychological and neurological processes in our brain.
The trainer is Marc Tigchelaar, who is a dyslexic student himself, has started a consulting firm on the topic op speed learning and his written several books on this topic. In the article below I will summarize some interesting direct applicable facts and techniques that I got from this training,. Of course you need to attend such a training yourself, so I won’t give away to much. 🙂
1. SPEED READING
Speed reading consists of a bundle of techniques to physically train your eyeball-muscles and use the eye tracking movement system of your brain to concentrate and focus on words and phrases. These techniques limit the “eye-stops” during the reading process, and increase your reading speed.
2. SKIMMING AND SCANNING
Skimming and scanning are techniques to quickly get an idea of the topics discussed in the text, or to get the broad picture of a paragraph or chapter (if this technique is applied to a study book). The whole reading process could be represented in three phases (1) preview; (2) read; and (3) review. Of course the skimming and scanning techniques are used for the preview-phase. Perhaps you could add a 4th phase (0) outlines;
Let me discuss this a little more. If I read a scientific article for my studies, I start with the abstract and the conclusions. This takes more time than the skimming or scanning, but it provides me with the outlines, the directions, important conclusions and the whole outlines of the research. It helps during the reading phase to put each piece of the research-puzzle on the right place. However this approach is what I personally like / prefer.
Also very new to me was the fact that reading and understanding a text is a total different cognitive task for the brain than learning and understand a text. This different cognitive tasks require different techniques, and that is something to remember, since we tend to combine both. If so this influences both tasks negatively, and therefore it’s better to sequentially conduct these tasks.
Mindmapping is a technique developped by Tony Buzan, and could be defined as a schematic way of writing down your information (inline with the functioning of your brain). Some simple tips are: use images and words (humans are good in visualizing and memorinzing images), use words of essence, and use a structure. Our brain “likes” a certain structure.
Since I have a Lenovo X60 tablet, I already discovered the power of writing down your idea’s to provide an overview of the topic you are working on. Furthermore it’s a very powerful tool for structuring the idea’s into a good format for the article or essay your are writing. Mindjet Mindmanager is a great tool to use to create mindmaps.
4. BRAIN TRAINING
The final part of the training consisted of several braintrainig techniques, but the basic principals consist of: (1) making use of the words of essence; (2) translate those words into images; (3) put thos images into a structure.
A very cool technique I was really amazed about is the so called Loci technique. We had to draw a rout or room which we know very well. The room or route should consist of 20 points. At random 20 words are read and should be connected with the sequential point of the “route” in a visual image. Crazy assosiations are memorized better. After a minute of fifteen we had to write down the words in the sequential order. The amazing result is that with this technique it’s easy to memorize the 20 words and put them into your longterm memory.
Finally the training was ended with a video with one of the speed reading world champions. The close up of eyes and techniques this men uses are really amazing to see. With this practical example I want to thank Marc Tigchelaar for the einteresting training, and you can combine or use the techniques in the way they help you in your study- or businesslife.