An Efficient Learning Cycle: Steps 7-10 Synthesis, Feedback, And Revisiting Your Learning

You’re nearing the final steps of the learning cycle! Steps 7 to 10 bring together what you’ve learned, produce a final result, and encourage you to reflect. By the time you’ve reached step 10, you should be excited to start again and keep on learning!

An Efficient Learning Cycle: Steps 7-10 Synthesis, Feedback, And

But before we get to that, we have to synthesize, produce, and reflect. Take a look at this guide for steps 7 to 10 of the efficient learning cycle to find out how you bring your knowledge together and produce a result to revisit and relearn.

Step 7 – Synthesis

We’re reaching the end of the efficient learning cycle at this point, which means it’s time to synthesize. This can sound like an intimidating step, but it’s not that difficult once you break it down. 

Connect

For synthesis, you need to start bringing things together. That means finding the links and connections between subjects and opinions. Making these connections will show you have the knowledge and understanding of your subject to start drawing conclusions.

You may want to write out a summary or outline for each connection. Doing so will help you remember what you’ve learned and make sure you don’t forget anything important.

Elaborate

Having made these connections, the next step of synthesis is elaboration. This is where you can expand on these connections, really exploring your knowledge. Use the elaboration to explore the connections past the surface level, and reflect on your learning. 

Incorporate

Incorporating is the final step of synthesis. This is where you combine your own learning with published sources. Incorporate viewpoints you agree and disagree with, to give a rounded and complex result.

Here, you see how much you’ve progressed throughout the learning cycle

By completing the synthesis step, you’re beginning to reach the learning goal of the cycle. How you complete the steps will partly depend on exactly what your defined goal was. Before you start synthesis, you should also consider what your deliverable is.

Step 8 – Production

Step 8 - Production

Now that you’ve synthesized your learning, it’s time to produce a deliverable.

The deliverable is the most tangible end result of the learning cycle. This is when you put your knowledge into practice to create a final output that can be considered the completion of your learning cycle.

A good deliverable brings together all the knowledge you’ve gathered throughout the course of the cycle. It also demonstrates your own understanding and should provide a summary of your research and resources. 

What Is An Example Of A Deliverable?

There are many types of deliverables, depending on exactly what you were researching and what end result you want. A deliverable is essentially any form of output. So, a deliverable could be the design for a bridge or the bridge itself.

Consider the aim of your research when deciding on a deliverable, as well as your defined end goal. If you’re learning for fun, then think of how to produce a deliverable you’ll enjoy creating and will be able to refer back to.

Step 9 – Feedback

With your deliverable created, now is the time to reflect and analyze. Consider not only your end result but the entire learning process.

Reflective Learning: Thinking About The Way You Learn

What is reflective learning? Reflective learning is a fairly self-explanatory method. It involves more than just revisiting and revising information. Instead, reflective learning involves considering what you learned, why you learned it, and how it is meaningful to your own life and experience. 

So, that’s what reflective learning is. But why do we reflect on our learning?

Reflection Encourages A Better Learning Experience

Reflection encourages us to think about what we learned and how it can enrich our lives. By reflecting, we can strengthen our memory, helping to retain information better. We also give ourselves a connection to the information and center it within our lives.

That makes it easier to remember the importance of the information. Reflecting on our learning can give us an opportunity to review for a more effective future learning cycle.

Post Mortem – Why Is Failure The Best Teacher Of Them All?

Some consider failure to be the greatest teacher. If you fail at something, you learn from it. You understand what not to do in the future, and you know what you need to improve on.

By accepting that failure is an inevitable part of life, we’re more willing to take risks and achieve bigger goals. Failure also helps us learn our strengths and weaknesses, which is knowledge we can use going forward.

How Does The Brain Learn From Mistakes?

As you reach the final steps of the learning cycle, you’ve probably encountered many mistakes along the way. And although it might have been disheartening at the time, these mistakes are the reason you’ll do better in the future.

Having made a mistake, the brain responds with a spike of activity known as Error-Related Negativity (or ERN). The ERN motivates a deeper thought response, limiting the chances of making the same mistake again.

What Are The Different Types Of Journaling?

Here are 12 types of journaling with tips and examples.

  • Bullet Journal: A very popular method of journaling, bullet journaling, uses bullet lists to plan the day, record thoughts, and add some creativity. Bullet journaling is an easy-to-use system that can be customized to fit your needs. It’s a great way to keep track of everything you need to remember or want to accomplish.
  • Personal Diary: A method of journaling we’re all aware of, the personal diary is an expression of free thoughts and emotions. For the learning process, use it to record both what you learned, how you felt about it, and the methods you tried.
  • Calendar Journal: Calendar journals organize your day and are typically homemade to ensure you have enough space for all your tasks. Adapt it to your learning by combining what you want to learn with how you organize your day. 
  • Productivity Journal: Like the calendar journal, the productivity journal records everything you want to do in a day. Record how long tasks took you, progress made, and any distractions.
  • Art Journal: An expression of creativity, the art journal can be used for self-reflection as well as learning. Combine visual images with interesting facts for a learning journal.
  • Video Journaling: Don’t like writing? Record your thoughts instead. Make use of the voice recorder on your phone to track your day.
  • Morning Pages Journal: A morning pages journal is the first thing you do in the morning. Write down interesting facts you remember, to consistently engage with the learning process. Or make a note of things to research.
  • Mental Health Journal: Learning can be stressful. Keep track of your mental health with a journal. Focus on free expression.
  • Self Improvement Journal: Track your growth and habits with a self-improvement journal. Be honest with yourself about your progress, but be gentle toward your failings. 
  • Reading Journal: What have you read? What do you want to read? What did you think of your recent read? This method adapts really easily to learning and gives you a record to refer back to.
  • Stress Journal: Sometimes writing things down is the best way to let go of stress. If you feel worries are holding your learning back, express them in your stress journal.
  • Goals Journal: Set defined goals at the start of your learning cycle, and refer back to them with the goals journal. Keep regular track of your progress and achievements, and use the journal as encouragement.  

Does Journaling Help With Learning?

Journaling helps with learning because it gives us the means to express and organize our thoughts. Journaling can also help you to track your progress and take confidence from achievements, as well as planning any future improvements.

For many, the act of writing or recording your thoughts can also strengthen memory and even help you find inspiration. 

How To Write A Learning Journal With Tips And Examples

What Are The Different Types Of Journaling?

Writing a learning journal is adaptable, and the best way to work is by diving into it and finding what method appeals to you. A learning journal is a record for you, so don’t be worried about getting things wrong. 

How do you start a learning journal? With whatever thoughts are on your mind! Consider using step 1 of the effective learning cycle: defining your goals.

If you still aren’t sure how to get going, here are some tips for learning journals:

  • Keep your journal nearby.
  • Write regularly.
  • Reflect on what you’ve written.
  • Use a mixture of thoughts, emotions, and facts.

Step 10 – Revisit And Remember

Memory techniques can strengthen your ability to learn in the future and ensure all the information you collected during this learning journey doesn’t get lost.

What Are Memory Tools?

Memory tools, sometimes known as mnemonics, are techniques used to aid memorization. A memory tool repackages information in a way that makes it easier to retain and recall.

What Are 3 Memory Techniques?

  • Location: To use the location, or Loci, memorization technique, each item of knowledge is associated with a specific place or physical item. This helps the brain to categorize the information. Use this method for learning lists and facts. 
  • Storytelling: Adding a story brings interest and color to information. Create a sequence and story that your brain enjoys and can follow, and add your information in.
  • Repetition: A common but underrated technique, repetition can help us to memorize strings of words, facts, and detailed information. Use understanding and repetition together, so you can properly recall exactly what you have previously learned.

Does Reading Improve Memory?

Reading gives your brain a workout. The mental stimulation provided can help preserve memory as we age and improve our thinking skills. Reading regularly can be a great way to keep your brain active, fight stress, and improve concentration.

What Is Spaced Practice And How To Use It

The idea of spaced practice is that we need to almost forget things in order to learn them again. By leaving a longer time period between revision sessions, our brains come close to losing that information.

When we then revisit the information, our brain has to work harder to remember, strengthening those pathways and adding that information to our long-term memories.

When using spaced practice (sometimes known as spaced repetition), we gradually increase the time periods between revision. Start by revisiting information daily, then every other day, then once a week, once a month, and every three months.

Does spaced repetition really work? Yes! Spaced repetition works because it respects the way our brains function.

Calendar Reminders

Sometimes the hardest part of revision is remembering to do it in the first place. Use a calendar reminder to keep track of revision periods. Use the calendar on your phone to arrange push notifications, and combine these reminders with facts to help you remember.

Final Thoughts

There’s no real end goal to the efficient learning cycle — that’s why it’s a cycle! All the skills and knowledge you’ve gained along the way can be implemented in the future. That’s what makes these four steps so important.

They encourage you to create a final result, reflect on what you’ve learned, and use that moving forward.

Sally-May Schinkel