Three Ways to Harness the Senses in Improving Personal Learning

Parents and school teachers are well-aware of the fact that children learn better when their senses are engaged. Young kids are constantly learning about their environment through various forms of touch, sight, taste, smell, and sound; with the right amount of stimulation, a child’s level of attention and their ability to form lasting associations will be heightened. Yet as people grow older and fall into routines, we take our senses for granted and often fail to harness their potential in our efforts to continue learning as adults. Here’s what you can do to engage your senses for enhanced personal learning.

Create a controlled environment

Have you ever tried concentrating on an audiobook or podcast during a noisy morning commute? It’s much harder to focus compared to when you’re at home, with fewer sensory distractions so you absorb information better. Draper home audiophiles know that premier sound quality on their outdoor speakers makes a world of difference to the listening experience, and you can tap those resources to create a controlled learning environment, in your home or elsewhere. Set up a dedicated space for learning – remove unnecessary devices and other distractions, make it off-limits to foot traffic while you’re using it, and install adjustable lighting, ergonomic furniture, quality audio equipment, and soundproofing. At the office or on your travels, try to find the same qualities in any location. Bring some headphones with active noise cancellation, and improvise barriers or screens to keep the comings and goings of people out of sight whenever possible.

Match the settings to the task

In a study conducted by Il Prisma across multiple offices, it was found that sensory engagement heightens performance. Workers exposed to blue and green colors, as well as wood and other natural materials, were found to enter a calm brain state which could help facilitate memorization. The effects could also vary with the nature of the task – private meeting rooms seemed to work best with some music and drinks, but problem-solving meetings were better suited to areas with few sensory distractions. The research indicates that, if possible, the optimal setup would be to have an ecosystem of multiple customized environments to suit different needs. You could fashion a space for auditory stimulation and relaxed pace of learning through reading; when you want to try learning through practical application, a space with more visual stimuli or encouraging messages on the walls can bring more positive energy.

Online learningExperiment with sensory activities

When it comes to learning through the senses, there are different rates of retention – starting with 10% of what we read, 20% for what’s heard, 30% of what’s seen, and so on. Using this as a framework, you can improve your personal learning by mixing things up and experimenting with different activities to engage the senses. If a book or audiobook doesn’t seem to work, try searching for online videos or images that can summarize key points in a form you find easier to digest. Teaching back can be a wonderful method of enhanced learning; become part of a community of fellow learners and you can enjoy the benefits of up to 90% retention from what you say and do.

In our desire for continued learning and improvement, we can overlook the fundamental influence of sensory stimuli which is so prominent in childhood. Apply these pointers to retain more knowledge and accelerate the pace of your personal development.

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