Remote learning is definitely very different from what you’re used to when learning in school.
But with a couple of brain-friendly strategies, you can make the most of every remote learning opportunity.
In fact, these strategies apply to all learning.
Not only can they help you overcome some of your remote learning challenges, they also have lifelong learning benefits.
Let’s take a look at these 7 remote learning strategies with lifelong learning benefits.
7 Remote Learning Strategies with Lifelong Learning Benefits
1. Chunk Your Learning
Do you ever get stressed thinking about a long chapter you need to read for class?
Or about a heavily graded essay due soon?
Does it make you unwilling to start working?
Now, if that task was broken down into a series of smaller tasks, this wouldn’t be the case.
In fact, this is proven by neuroscience.
A series of steps is a lot less overwhelming than one big task.
When you complete one of the steps, you feel as though you’ve accomplished something.
The reward pathway, also called the mesolimbic pathway, of your brain lights up.
Dopamine levels – a neurotransmitter known as the motivation molecule – increase.
And as a result, you enjoy a sense of reward for having completed that goal. Your brain enjoys this sense of reward so much, it wants to repeat the experience.
And this is what drives your motivation – your brain triggers more dopamine in anticipation of another reward when you complete the next goal.
Have you ever felt a powerful sense of accomplishment after, say, scoring high on an exam?
Or perhaps winning a sports event, or defeating a video game boss?
It’s such a pleasurable sensation that it makes you want to experience it again, right?
All of this is possible because of dopamine, and chunking lets you use this system to your learning advantage.
As a result, you get more done, and you stay motivated doing it.
Dopamine also keeps you focused and alert, and this is great news for those of you struggling with attention during remote learning!
2. Take Brain-Friendly Breaks
And I’m not talking about spending 15 minutes scrolling on your phone. Or catching a few minutes of Netflix that turn into a few hours.
Neuroscience shows that taking regular 5-minute breaks in between every 20 to 25 minutes of learning improves recall and retention.
Hermann Ebbinghaus, a mathematician, shows why this is the case.
He developed a formula called the Ebbinghaus curve of forgetting. The curve shows that the longer the time between the beginning and end of a lesson, the steeper the curve.
In other words, the longer you spend studying, without making attempts to retain information further, the more you’re likely to forget.
So, long hours stuck at a desk isn’t actually helping you learn any better.
On the other hand, taking a short break of just 5 minutes between roughly 30 minutes of studying improves recall.
This is because all the information your brain was temporarily storing during learning has a chance to connect with your existing knowledge when it’s no longer focusing on new information.
As a result, this knowledge becomes part of your longer-term memory.
So, make sure you’re setting your timers to take these brain-friendly breaks, to keep your motivation, focus and recall up!
3. Review What You’re Learning
Spaced learning – i.e. learning with breaks, and spaced repetition go hand in hand.
Remember, the Ebbinghaus curve of forgetting shows the rate at which people forget new information when no attempt is made to retain it.
By reviewing and retrieving information you learned, you’re making attempts to retain it.
When you go back to work after your short break, quickly review what you learned.
This activates the neurons or braincells connected with the memory of this specific information.
If you don’t review, these fresh, new neural connections will simply fade away.
On the other hand, the more you review, and actively try to recall this information, the more active the neurons will be.
And the more active they are, the stronger the neural connection. The stronger the neural connection, the longer lasting the memory!
4. Get Enough Sleep
Staying up late is one of them, and you might think it’s pretty harmless.
But getting enough high-quality sleep is essential for successful learning.
When you sleep, the hippocampus and neocortex of your brain remain active.
They sort through the things you learned that day, process them, and store them in long-term memory.
If you don’t get enough sleep, your brain doesn’t have the time to cement what you’re learning during the day.
As a result, even after a night of cramming, you might forget much of what you learned.
Meanwhile, your dopamine levels also fall when you don’t get enough rest.
Since dopamine helps keep you alert, awake and focused, you might feel tired and unable to pay attention the next morning.
When you get enough rest, your brain also enters what’s called an alpha brain wave state.
Out of four brain wave states – alpha, beta, theta, and gamma – alpha brain wave states are the best for learning.
You feel calm, relaxed, but also alert and ready to focus.
So, it’s very important that you get enough sleep, not just during remote learning but all learning.
It helps keep your brain in good health and keeps it running efficiently.
Put those devices away for a couple of hours before turning in for the night!
5. Get Some Exercise
Staying active is another excellent strategy to improve your brain’s ability to learn.
When you exercise, it boosts up your blood circulation.
With more oxygen-rich blood getting to your brain, your brain can work faster and more efficiently.
Those neural connections you read about form faster.
Exercise also boosts the level of dopamine and other mood-boosting chemical messengers like endorphins and serotonin.
Some light exercise, like a run or even a brisk walk around the block or inside your home, can help you focus and learn better!
6. Listen to Some Music
It can make you experience a range of emotions, carry you off to a different time and place, soothe and excite you.
Remember the alpha brain wave state I talked about earlier?
Listening to a specific kind of music can shift your brain into that state automatically!
Music at 60 beats per minute (BPM) without any lyrics can switch your brain into the perfect state to focus and learn.
In fact, listening to music has several brain-friendly benefits.
Multiple studies have linked it to enhancing memory, better moods, stress relief, and more.
7. Learn How to Learn
In school, you’re often taught what to learn, but not how to learn.
Now, with all the confusion and questions around remote learning, this might be even more confusing.
The tips I mentioned here – chunking, spaced repetition and spaced learning, etc. – are all how to learn strategies.
And there are many more, including all the tips and tricks I’ve got for you in Total Recall Learning™.
With strategies that show you how to learn, you’re prepared not just for remote learning, but any learning situation.
This is because you have a formula that tells you exactly how your brain works.
It equips you with the knowledge of how you learn best!
So, with these 7 remote learning strategies with lifelong benefits, I hope you feel prepared not only for remote learning, but all learning!
Pat Wyman is the CEO of HowtoLearn.com and an internationally noted brain coach known as America’s Most Trusted Learning Expert. She has helped over half a million people in schools and corporations such as Microsoft, Intel and Google improve their lives with her learning strategies, learning styles inventory and courses, such as Total Recall Learning™.
Her superpower is helping people learn, read and remember everything faster. Pat is the best-selling author of more than 15 books and is also a university instructor, mom and golden retriever lover!