We live in a content-driven world. Content has exploded in the last decade. The disciplines have become complex. The issues faced by business and society have multiplied by several folds. Tons of research studies have been conducted by scholars. Practitioners bring new business frameworks into the market. The compound effect of these forces is that most academic and professional programs are now loaded with a vast amount of content that students are expected to master.
Graduates and professionals alike are expected to learn massive content, books, theoretical and practical information and be able to show a good amount of retention on the concept studied.
While we have subject matter teachers, hardly any college or school trains their teachers to become learning experts before embarking on becoming teaching experts. Ironically, the skills to learn at a faster rate are not taught in our fundamental learning institutions either. In this article, I will share a simple 3-step technique to master a large amount of content in a short period of time.
Get there faster with me
I am a performance scientist specializing in accelerated learning. My work revolves around speeding up learning. My primary focus is on professional learning, which is different in nature and composition from academic learning or the learning required to study something.
When I was a kid, I contracted polio. That took away my ability to walk and a large part of my mobility. Tied to a chair and isolated in a room, I had no other weapon than to depend upon what I could learn from books. My challenge and goal at that time were to be able to learn faster to get noticed by others and teachers. Perhaps that was my way of thinking that people would forget about my disability if I shone in learning faster.
In that zest, I probably read every single accelerated learning book available. I must admit there were hardly any books back then on this topic in my early childhood years. Sadly, none of those worked well enough. I had a very analytical, critical, and experimental mind. So I embarked on a journey to find what could accelerate my learning. Later in my journey, I taught the same to my peers and classmates, and it worked wonders on them, too.
Later, I wanted to take up those experimentations professionally and conduct systematic research. During my explorations, I realized that while there are several theories and frameworks to learn faster, not all of them are research-based. As a scientist, I appreciate a framework, method, or strategy that could replicate in different situations and be applicable or usable to most people. A while ago, I conducted a detailed review of major titles available in an online marketplace with words such as ‘accelerated learning’ in their title or subtitle.
Then I reviewed the author’s personal, professional and educational accomplishments. My goal was to see if the author’s academic or educational achievements speak as evidence of accelerated learning. I would have expected someone advocating an accelerated learning framework or strategies to have produced a long list of educational degrees, credentials, certifications, or things of that nature for themselves first. Sadly, I did not see a strong connection or evidence. Sometimes things people teach or preach could be applicable in limited scenarios.
Notwithstanding the lack of rigor in this direction, I have embarked on my professional and personal journey to live a truly ‘accelerated learning’ path myself. I have gone through an extensive self-learning journey. I have earned over 100 international and educational credentials and two doctorates in a short amount of time. As you may have guessed, conducting research and successfully accomplishing a doctoral degree revolves around a massive amount of content. In my last stint, I went through over 5000 journal articles spanning over 10000 pages and read over 100 research and business books. Mastering such an enormous amount of content and information and then translating it into condensed research observations requires several techniques working in unison.
How did I do this? And can you reproduce it? Can you learn some of those techniques?
Among several techniques to learn a large amount of content in a short time, I will share one which has helped me tremendously to accelerate my learning path massively.
Multi-layer Mapping Technique
This technique is called multi-layer mapping to train the brain with several contextual relationships in the content that helps the brain absorb more learning in lesser time. When you have a large amount of content to master, you need to train your brain with overall and detailed navigational aids, just like a map of a large city, made up of several district maps and several streets making the map of a district.