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6 Ways to Embody Learning

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If you’re trying to learning something new, whether a foreign language or a subject in college, a new study says you may have to get physically involved. According to the researchers, it’s easier to learn using different sensory perceptions combined.

“When someone not only hears vocabulary in a foreign language, but expresses it using gestures, they will be more likely to remember it. Also helpful, is learning with images that correspond to the word. Learning methods that involve several senses, and in particular those that use gestures, are therefore superior to those based only on listening or reading.”

This multisensory learning theory claims that the brain can learn better when several senses are stimulated at the same time.

“The subjects’ recollection was best in relation to terms they themselves had expressed using gestures. When they heard the term and its translation and also observed a corresponding image, they were also better able to remember the translation.” explains Katja Mayer of the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences.

The study suggests that the brain learns better when the information is reinforced from different sensory organs. “If for example we follow a new term with a gesture, we create additional input that facilitates the brain’s learning,” says Katharina von Kriegstein, head of the study at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences.

And it’s not only gestures that help with learning – it’s incorporating all our senses. Touch, taste, sound, smell as well as feelings play an important role in learning too.

Here are some ways to use multisensory learning:

  1. Get up and move. There are a series of movements called “Educational Kinesiology” that was created to help connect the right and left hemispheres of the brain for better learning. Try and make movements you wouldn’t typically make on a day-to-day basis. Use flash cards so you can walk around and move your body while learning.

  2. Act it out. Make a silly play out of the material you are trying to memorize. The stranger and sillier, the more likely you are to remember it.

  3. Sniff something. Whether burning incense or diffusing essential oils while learning, scents trigger memories.

  4. Get artsy. The more visually appealing, graphic and illustrated, the easier it is to ignite photographic memory.

  5. Use your mind. Visualize images that will stand out and be associated with your learning topic.

  6. Mint anyone? Eating something with a distinct taste can enhance memorization (and you can pop the same flavored mint, or any other treat of your choice, when it’s time to recall the info).

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