Project Management

You're Studying Wrong—Spaced Learning Study Skills Can Help

Southern Alberta Chapter

Mike Griffiths is a consultant and trainer who help organizations improve performance through shared leadership, agility and (un)common sense. He maintains the blog LeadingAnswers.com.

Do you still use a physical thesaurus or dictionary? No. So why are you still highlighting textbooks and cramming for project management exams?

Adult education has evolved since many of us were at school or university. We now understand more about learning and the effectiveness of various exam preparation techniques. Writing notes or highlighting sections in textbooks has a lower return on investment than more active, visual and science-backed methods. This article explores some modern alternatives.

I had the opportunity last week to do a live chat with learning expert Christopher Allen about effective study techniques for comprehension and exam taking. One approach he shared that I had thought of as old school was the creation and use of flashcards. It turns out I had missed a few critical elements about their use that make all the difference.

You Are Using Flashcards Wrong
First of all, consider making your own flashcards. The process of extracting critical concepts for study and then creating something tangible and visible taps into the right hemisphere of the brain. It requires decoding and encoding information that is much more active and memorable than just making notes or, worst of all, highlighting text in a book that is very passive.

Also, how we use the flashcards is essential. Many people review them at random like a test, but that does not tap into …


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