How to Remember 90 Percent of Everything You Learn


Wish you could learn faster?

Whether you’re a new business owner developing skills, or trying to learn a new instrument, we could all benefit from accelerated learning. But the problem is, there’s only so much time in the day.

The key to accelerated learning is not just putting in more hours, but maximizing the effectiveness of the time spent learning.

How to Remember 90 percent of Everything You Learn

The development of the Learning Pyramid in the 1960s–widely attributed to the NTL Institute in Bethel, Maine–outlined how humans learn.

As research shows, it turns out that humans remember:

  1. 5 percent of what they learn when they’ve learned from a lecture (i.e. university/college lectures)
  2. 10 percent of what they learn when they’ve learned from reading (i.e. books, articles)
  3. 20 percent of what they learn from audio-visual (i.e. apps, videos)
  4. 30 percent of what they learn when they see a demonstration
  5. 50 percent of what they learn when engaged in a group discussion.
  6. 75 percent of what they learn when they practice what they learned.
  7. 90 percent of what they learn when they use immediately (or teach others)
  8. This is also what we modeled our language learning method at Jumpspeak on.

Yet how do most of us learn?

Books, classroom lectures, videos–non-interactive learning methods that result in 80-95 percent of information going in one ear and leaking out the other.

The point here is that instead of forcing our brains how to remember more information with “passive” methods, we should focus our time, energy, and resources on “participatory” methods that have proven to deliver more effective results, in less time.

Ultimately, it comes down to this…

Time or money?

How many times have you heard someone say, “I don’t have time to do X…” I’m certainly guilty of this myself, as I’ve made excuse after excuse about the lack of time I have in my life.

But time is the greatest equalizer of all. No matter who we are, where we are in the world, or how much we strive for efficiency, there are only 24 hours in each day. Every single minute is unique, and once it’s gone, it can never be regained, unlike money.

So if we all have 24 hours in a day, how do we explain the success stories of young millionaires that started from nothing, or language learners going from beginner to conversation fluency after just 3.5 months? They learned how to maximize effectiveness instead of only efficiency.

One practical way that I’ve done this across all areas in our business and my personal life is to ask: If I could pick only one task/strategy for the next 12 months, what will get me closest to my desired goal?

For example, what is the one distribution strategy for our business that will double our business over the next 12 months? Or who is the one person we need to hire that can take our business to the next level?

This constraint forces me to think about where the highest impact areas are for the limited amount of time I have. It’s about working smarter, not just harder.

The ability to retain more knowledge in an age of infinite access to information and countless distractions is a powerful skill to achieve any goal we have faster.

By learning how to remember more information every day, we can spend less time re-learning old knowledge, and focus on acquiring new ones.

We’re all running out of time, and today is the youngest you’ll ever be.

The question is: how will you best spend it?

The opinions expressed here by columnists are their own, not those of

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