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How to Learn Everything - Avalanche Learning

The information comes down like an avalanche.The beauty of mother nature (avalanche) - Image

Innumerable podcasts, millions of books, blogs, wikis, articles, feeds, tumblr, twitter, facebook...The amount of information is overwhelming.

How do you absorb the massive amounts of information in a useful way? This article is the first in a five part series titled How to Learn Everything. In this article, I'll walk you through an overview of how to consume massive amounts of information in our information-saturated world.

In the next article, I'll discuss how to use technology to increase the information we consume in Plugging into Tech. After that we'll talk about how to capture inspiration with advanced note taking. In the third article of the series, we'll talk about memorizing as you listen with mnemonic notes. Finally, we offer an article on speed reading.




Capturing Inspiration - 43 Tips for Advanced Note Taking

The Harvest WriterWe all have those moments.

Inspiration flashes in front of us. Ideas become almost palpable.

I've found that without a method for capturing inspiration, the inspiration is lost. Receipts, post-it notes, and the napkins are the graveyards of genius.

Today I wanted to share a few techniques. Knowing how to capture notes and ideas then organize them in a useable way is a key to learning. If you can’t remember what you’ve learned, then why learn it at all? I’ve scoured the internet, books, and my personal experience to bring you this article. I sincerely hope you enjoy it.

Overview – Advanced Note Taking

I’m going to go over three techniques for organizing your notes: email, Evernote, and the good old notebook. All of these strategies offer you a central method  to consolidate your notes and inspiration. I’ve tried to chalk this article full of useful tips and resources along the way.

Almost Cyborg - Plugging Into Tech

Film Matrix: a choice in your life

My low-tech grandpa tells me the story of when he first got his new TV. This electric magic-box could bring information to audiences more vividly than ever before. He could experience the scenery of his favorite story. Imagine it! Catching the first glimpses of places across the entire globe. I'd guess when biological-electrical implants come along they will seem similar to how my grandpa felt with his first magical TV.

At first the new technology will seem almost impossible, but then the newness will fade. I mean, how different will it be from today? Today, information can be streamed to us anywhere, anytime. I have a few friends who have a cell phone attached to their face so often that they might already classify as part machine! All right I guess it would be cool downloading ninja moves straight into our minds (Oh Neo, how envious I am...).

Today information is everywhere. The information flash flood requires us to be connected non-stop. Smart phones hang around like a lonely switchboard operators from the 1960s. No Siri, I don't want to call anyone right now. This information flow fuels our society. The tricky part is learning how to sift through this endless stream of data and narrow it down to discover what's important. Advances in technology can help you harness the power of this flood of information. I don't have a biological implant to offer but we're getting close!

In this article, I'll offer you tools that allow you to consume so much information that someone may (probably not) classify you as (almost) cyborg.


How to Memorize Everything: Mnemonic Notes


Can you memorize an entire deck of cards in under a minute? Impossible? Memory mnemonic experts routinely accomplish this incredible feat using memory mnemonics. In Moonwalking with Einstein a normal journalist chronicles his journey and eventual triumph in competing in the United States Memory Championships. A normal guy, with an average memory, could train his brain using memory mnemonics to do incredible things: memorize a deck of playing cards in < 1 minute, remember 100’s of digits, and quickly memorize long poems word-for-word. But honestly who cares?

Call me crazy, but I’m not the kind of guy who’s going to sit in his room to practice memorizing decks of cards for months to clock in under a minute (Well, at least I won’t admit in public to doing that :)  ). To me, this is a parlor trick. They certainly entertain people if you ever get interviewed by Jay Leno but the common person doesn’t care about memorizing cards. What about poems? I admit it, I’m not very cultured either. I don’t care about memorizing poems. Perhaps being able to recall a few choice quotes and verses would be nice, but I hardly need to master memory mnemonics for that. Don’t get me wrong, I could imagine myself one day becoming a renaissance man and making the ladies swoon with my mastery of Shakespeare. I'll chalk that up in my list of future New Year’s resolutions (to never accomplish). You get the point. Many people share my frustrations with how today’s uses for memory mnemonics seem pointless.

Memorizing a Semester of Lectures

When I came across memory mnemonics in college, I wanted to make them practical. I was excited about the idea of using them to memorize lectures. Imagine it! An entire semester of lectures neatly stored and cataloged inside my brain. Every test would be an open notes test (my favorite)! History exams would be trivial. Languages, English, Accounting, … almost any subject could be mastered with ease by carrying around mental notes. This idea intrigued me. If I could learn how to do this for college I could employ the same system for learning throughout my life.


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