Mastering Learning: Powerful Mental Tools for How to Learn Learning

Unlocking the full potential of your mind is the key to becoming a lifelong learner. Imagine if you could master the art of “how to learn learning,” tapping into the power of both focused and diffuse modes of thinking to maximize your success.

This blog post will introduce you to invaluable learning techniques and powerful mental tools that will transform the way you learn and set you up for a fulfilling and successful academic and professional life.

Short Summary

  • Alternate between focused and diffuse modes of thinking to maximize your learning potential.

  • Utilize the Memory Palace technique for better memory retention and practical applications.

  • Unlock your full potential with uncommon sense teaching, brain breaks, time management & companion courses!

The Art of Learning: Focused and Diffuse Modes

A person learning with two different modes - focused and diffuse
Focused and Diffuse Learning Modes

Understanding the way our brain works when it comes to learning is essential. The focused and diffuse modes of thinking are two of the several fundamentally different modes that play a crucial role in the learning process. By alternating between these two modes, you can grasp complex concepts more effectively, retain information for longer, and ultimately become a more successful learner.

Focused mode is when you actively concentrate on a task, such as reading a book or solving a problem. Diffuse mode is when your mind is relaxed.

Focused Mode

Focused mode is the state of mind where our brain concentrates on a specific task or concept. It allows us to learn and practice something necessary to master tough subjects actively. The benefits of focused mode include faster learning, better memory retention, and a deeper understanding of intricate topics.

To stay focused and motivated while learning, it’s essential to set aside dedicated time for focused learning, break down complex topics into smaller chunks, and take regular breaks.

Diffuse Mode

On the other hand, the diffuse mode is a relaxed state of mind in which our brain can think more broadly and creatively, allowing us to make meaningful connections between different ideas and concepts. The diffuse mode can enhance your creativity and innovation in problem-solving and help you create long-term memory chunks for better retention.

One effective way to enter diffuse mode is to take a break from focused work for about an hour and engage in activities that are not mentally taxing, such as taking a refreshing walk, listening to calming music, or doing something creative and inspiring.

Achieving a balance between focused and diffuse mode is essential for success, and this balance can be further enhanced by enrolling in a companion course that complements your main subject of study.

The Memory Palace Technique: A Powerful Mental Tool

Using a Memory Palace technique to remember information
Memory Palace Technique

The Memory Palace Technique, also known as the Method of Loci, is an ancient and powerful mental tool that can dramatically increase your memory retention. This technique leverages your spatial memory, helping you retain different concepts more effectively. By associating the information with familiar locations, the Memory Palace Technique creates a vivid mental map of the information, making it easier to recall.

This technique has been used for thousands of years and is a proven method for improving memory, often taught by the same instructors who teach other learning and memory techniques too.

Creating Your Memory Palace

Creating a memory palace involves visualizing a familiar place and placing mental “objects” representing the information to be remembered. The best way to create a memory palace is to pick a place you know well and plan out a route with specific stops.

Then use vivid visuals and creative associations to link two intimately connected ideas with each stop. Visualizations and associations can significantly aid in the process of committing information to memory by providing a helpful link between the information and the memory palace.

Practical Applications

The Memory Palace Technique has numerous practical applications, including memorizing speeches, lists, or complex concepts. By associating each item in a list or point in a speech with a specific object in the mental image of the place you have created, you can make the task of memorizing ordered lists or speeches much easier.

Similarly, you can use the Memory Palace Technique to memorize random digits, names, and faces by associating each digit, name, or face with a specific object in the mental image of the place you created.

Uncommon Sense Teaching: Invaluable Learning Techniques

Chunking Information
Chunking Information

Uncommon sense teaching is an innovative approach to learning that draws on the most recent research in neuroscience to provide you with practical insights and techniques to enhance your learning experience. You can unlock your full potential and become a more effective learner by using these invaluable learning techniques, such as increasing recall, alternating between focused and diffuse modes, and grasping the learning process.

These practical techniques can help you better understand and remember the material you are studying and develop a deeper understanding of the subject matter. With the help of uncommon sense teaching, you can become a more successful learner and reach your academic goals.

Chunking Information

Chunking information is an effective cognitive process that breaks down complex information into smaller, more manageable parts and groups related items together, making new information easier to remember. This technique helps us process information more easily and remember it more effectively.

For example, breaking down a phone number into smaller chunks, such as area code, exchange, and last four digits, can make it easier to remember.

Renaissance Learning

Renaissance Learning is an innovative method of teaching that combines traditional methods with modern technology to create an engaging learning experience for students. This approach encourages students to explore and discover new ideas, helping them become active learners.

By incorporating exciting learning techniques and strategies, such as spaced repetition, mnemonics, and the memory palace technique, Renaissance Learning helps students hone their critical thinking skills, deepen their comprehension of challenging topics, and become more passionate about their learning.

Mental Health and Learning: Finding Balance

Finding Balance and taking brain breaks
Finding Balance

Mental health plays a crucial role in learning, and finding a balance between stress and relaxation is essential for effective learning. By incorporating stress management techniques and mental tools, you can ensure that your mental health is well taken care of, allowing you to focus better and achieve success in your learning endeavors.

Taking the time to manage your stress and relax can help you stay focused and motivated while learning. Brain breaks can be as simple as taking a few minutes to stretch, take a walk, or listen to music.

Stress Management

Stress management is vital to maintaining good mental health and improving focus and memory retention. Techniques such as mindfulness, exercise, and relaxation can help you manage stress more effectively.

Exploring other stress management techniques, such as journaling, positive self-talk, and time management, can also help manage stress.

Brain Breaks

Brain breaks are short breaks from focused work that help reset the mind and improve learning efficiency. Taking short walks, stretching, playing games, doing puzzles, or engaging in creative activities are great ways to give your brain a break and keep it energized.

Incorporating brain breaks into your study routine can help you stay focused, reduce stress, and enhance your learning capacity.

High School Students: Mastering Learning Early On

A person managing their time with a to-do list, prioritization, pomodoro techniques, daily planning.
Time Management Techniques

As a high school student, one can greatly benefit from mastering learning techniques early on in their academic journey. Developing good habits and acquiring effective learning techniques can set them up for success in their future academic and professional lives.

High school students can unlock their full potential by understanding focused and diffuse modes, practicing the Memory Palace Technique, and adopting uncommon sense teaching methods.

Time Management

Time management skills are crucial for high school students to stay organized and focused on their studies. Setting goals, prioritizing tasks, and breaking down large tasks into smaller, more manageable tasks can help students achieve successful learning.

Students can make the most of their study time and maximize their learning potential by developing effective time management skills.

Study Habits

Good study habits are essential for high school students to improve their understanding and retention of information. Taking notes, using mnemonic devices, and practicing active learning are just a few examples of effective study habits that can lead to better academic performance.

By incorporating these habits into their daily routine, students can set themselves up for success in their academic and professional lives.

Companion Courses: Enhancing Your Learning Journey

A group of adults learning online
A Group Of Adults Learning Online

Companion courses can greatly enhance one’s learning journey by providing additional resources, perspectives related course itself, and support. These courses can be taken alongside a main course, offering supplementary learning opportunities that complement the main subject of study.

Enrolling in a companion course allows learners to gain new insights and further their understanding of complex topics.

Online Course Recommendations

Online course recommendations can help learners find relevant, high-quality courses to supplement their learning. By considering factors such as the skill you wish to acquire, the platform for online learning, course description, content quality, reviews and ratings, certification, price, and flexibility offered by the course, you can find the perfect companion course for your needs.

Online courses can also provide the convenience and flexibility of learning from the comfort of your own home.

Two courses I highly recommend are:

Coursera’s Learning How To Learn by Barbara Oakley

edX’s How to Learn Online

Benefits of Companion Courses

Companion courses offer numerous benefits, including increased motivation, improved understanding of complex topics, and the opportunity to learn from different sources and perspectives. They can provide additional learning opportunities tailored to complement your main course and offer flexibility, motivation, and tailored feedback.

Taking companion courses can be especially beneficial in online learning environments, where additional support and resources can further enhance the learning experience.


In conclusion, mastering the art of learning is an essential skill for lifelong learners. By understanding focused and diffuse modes, adopting the Memory Palace Technique, engaging in uncommon sense teaching, taking care of mental health, and enrolling in companion courses, you can unlock your full potential and become a more successful learner. Embrace these invaluable learning techniques and powerful mental tools to transform your learning journey and set yourself up for a fulfilling and successful academic and professional life.

Learning how to learn | Barbara Oakley | TEDxOaklandUniversity

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Frequently Asked Questions

How do I teach myself to learn?

Learning doesn’t have to be a daunting process. To teach yourself, set clear learning goals and choose credible resources. Stick to a regular schedule and apply what you’ve learned. Take visual notes and use educational videos to help you retain the material.

Lastly, make sure to collaborate with others and share your knowledge. By following these steps, you can take charge of your learning journey!

What is the best way to learning?

Getting the most out of learning requires an effective combination of dedication and hard work, and following tried-and-true tips from experts. By incorporating helpful advice such as studying in shorter sessions each day, breaking material into digestible chunks, and taking advantage of visualization techniques, you can increase your understanding of the material and maximize your learning potential.

Visualization techniques can be a powerful tool for learning. They can help you better understand complex concepts, remember information more easily, and make connections between different ideas. By using visualization techniques, you can make learning more enjoyable.

What are the 4 basic ways of learning?

Are you curious about your learning style? There are 4 basic ways of learning: visual, auditory, reading and writing, and kinesthetic. Learning more about each of these styles can help you better understand how you learn best and enable you to make the most out of your educational experience.

By understanding your learning style, you can tailor your study methods to your individual needs. For example, if you are a visual.

What are the 5 ways you can learn?

Learning can be rewarding if you find the right approach for you. With five distinct learning ways – visual, auditory, written, kinesthetic, and multimodal – you can experiment with different styles to see what works best for you.

So don’t be afraid to challenge yourself by learning how to learn something new!

How can I utilize both focused and diffuse modes for effective learning?

Combining focused and diffuse learning modes can foster deeper understanding and build strong memory recall. This helps to make learning more enjoyable and effective.

About the author

Here at Curiosity Hacked, we want to know absolutely everything there is to know about the world and us in it. I don’t know about you, but my brain never stops working – it’s always thinking up a new question that needs answering. My name is Sally-May Schinkel, and my curiosity is out of this world. I hope that with my website, I can find like-minded people, and help them to learn more about the world around them.