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Learning Habits: 3 Book Recommendations for Lifelong Learners

Learning habits: an overview

We often talk about our habits and how they impact our lifestyles and daily routines. You know, like scrolling through our phones before bed or enjoying a cup of coffee in the morning. But have you ever stopped to think about the habits that shape how you learn new things?

According to this article, habits are things we do automatically, without really thinking about them. They're behaviors we've learned through repetition and become a normal part of our daily lives. Some research even suggests that as much as 40% of what we do every day happens without us even realizing it. Basically, learning is a skill, and we can all do better at it. How? By implementing good learning habits. These can vary from studying every day, to taking small notes on content that we consider important, listening to music while learning, taking off anything that distracts you from your study, taking breaks, and so on. 

We can continue sharing our own experiences with learning habits, but we're all still figuring them out for ourselves. So, let's explore a few books on the topic together, and perhaps one will really connect with what you're searching for.

Books on learning habits that you might like

  1. Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones" by James Clear

We’ve talked about this one in a previous article, so we’re not gonna be long on the topic. Basically, this book is an accessible lecture on cultivating positive learning habits and eliminating negative ones. Through practical strategies and insights, the author shows the reader how small changes in our behaviors can lead to great results in building good habits.

How would this apply in studying? Let's say you want to improve your language learning habits. Instead of trying to study for hours at a time, which might feel overwhelming, you could make a small change by committing to practicing for just 15 minutes each day. Over time, these short, consistent sessions can lead to significant progress in your language skills. 

  1. "Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning" by Peter C. Brown, Henry L. Roediger III, and Mark A. McDaniel

As the name suggests, this book breaks down the science of successful learning. The authors share tips backed by psychology research to help you remember information better. They emphasize techniques like actively engaging with the material, spacing out study sessions, and practicing recalling information to improve your learning skills. 

For example, the book talks about how we often think we've learned something just because we're familiar with it, but real learning takes more effort. It suggests techniques like actively recalling information and mixing up different types of problems during practice to strengthen memory and problem-solving skills. And as mentioned before, the use of techniques like active recall is indeed a learning habit, one that might help you learn better and retain information like never before. 

  1. How We Learn: The Surprising Truth About When, Where, and Why It Happens" by Benedict Carey

Benedict Carey explores how learning works in everyday life, and he reveals surprising insights about the best times and places to learn, as well as why some learning techniques are more effective than others. Additionally, it highlights the importance of tapping into the subconscious through perceptual learning and the role of sleep in consolidating information. For instance, if you're learning a new language, you might watch foreign films without subtitles or immerse yourself in the culture through virtual reality experiences. By engaging your senses and exposing yourself to the language in different contexts, you're tapping into your subconscious to reinforce learning and deepen understanding.

Learning habits & eLearning

Many learning habits can be nurtured through eLearning platforms, where content can be conveniently accessed in the format of microlearning modules. For instance, learners can develop the habit of regular practice by logging into their learning management system (LMS) daily to complete short quizzez. Another example is the habit of spaced repetition, where learners review small chunks of information at regular intervals, supported by the scheduling features of the LMS. Additionally, the habit of self-directed learning can be fostered as learners explore various resources and topics tailored to their interests within the e-learning platform's extensive library.

Some (final) thoughts

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