7 Tips on How to Become an Agile Learner

Written by Horng Yuan | Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

Learning is life-long process. Picking up new knowledge and skills is important to your personal development and career growth. A common excuse for not being able to commit to continuous learning is the lack of time. You believe you need more time as there are too much to juggle in life and work.

But do you know that you can figure out ways to be agile and learn at a faster pace? Doing so saves you time and allows you to learn effectively and efficiently, raising your level of expertise. You can also spend the time you save doing something else that you enjoy. After all life is short; you should not waste time unnecessarily.

7 Learning Tips

The following are seven learn-better-and-faster tips to help you become an agile learner.

1. Discover your personal learning strategies

This is your starting point. You have your own unique and best way of learning because each individual is different. Therefore, you need to experiment and take time to discover the best strategy and method for your brain and body; it is like finding the best diet for your unique body.

2. Repeat your learning effort

A lot of things are better learned in repeated practice well spaced out over time, and in smaller blocks of time. This is best exemplified in learning a foreign language; the constant few-minute review of vocabulary a few times daily is more effective than studying continuously for hours. Sean Kang has noted that spaced practice enhances memory, problem-solving, and transfer of learning to new contexts.


3. Memorise ideas or concepts

Memory is the ability to encode, store, and recall information; you can read about the stages of memory here and here. Memorisation helps you remember a new idea or concept. As you practise memorisation, your memory is maximised. So, work on your memorisation skills every day and you will get better at the idea or concept you want to learn and master.

4. Understand, do not just memorise

If you want to remember a new idea or concept for long, move beyond memorisation and start develop understanding. For example, you can develop a "system mind-set" by memorising and understanding the concepts of interconnectedness, synthesis, emergence, feedback loops, causality, systems mapping. Understanding enables you to reduce the amount of time needed for memorisation. An indication that you have developed understanding is that you are able to explain and express the concepts to others in your own words. You can read about the differences between memorising and understanding here.

5. Make use of different sources

Using multiple sources allows you to gain diverse information, perspectives, and a greater level of understanding. The sources can include books, journals, online resources, and people such as friends, mentors, trainers, and coaches. Note that many times we learn more from working with people, hands-on experience, and mentoring and coaching. Making use of multiple sources is a great strategy when you are trying to overcome confusion over a concept or subject matter.

6. Write your own notes

Similar to the process of crafting your personal vision, write down and make notes of what you learn. Customise your notes to accommodate how you think. Your own and unique set of notes will help you remember important information, knowledge, and concepts, and keep you on track. The five effective note taking methods that you can use are the Cornell method, mapping method, outlining method, charting method, and sentence method.


7. Take regular breaks

I have blogged about taking breaks and letting your unconscious mind work for you here. Experiment and assess yourself to find out how taking breaks can work best for you. It is recommended that very short breaks are best for memorisation. The maximum learning time for other things are between 30 and 60 minutes. Thereafter, a break is necessary.


Like every other thing in life, learning can be done better and faster. By being intentional and intelligent, you can make the best use of your time for learning. Remember, you are an unique individual, so be sure to experiment and discover what works best for you. Apply the above-mentioned tips and you are on the right track to becoming an agile learner!