Training is an important part of learning any new skill. However, if your training doesn’t resemble the actual setting you’ll need to use your skills in, it will be harder to remember. Try to make your practise match your final context as much as possible.
Photo by Ludovic Bertron.
As advice site Barking Up the Wrong Tree explains, the effect of matching your real-life context with your practise is incredibly strong. For example, in the book How We Learn, the author found that people who learned something while diving underwater did better when tested on that knowledge when they were underwater than back on land. The original context we learn something in goes a long way towards helping us recall that memory:
When I spoke to Special Forces Lieutenant Colonel Mike Kenny he told me, “Train like you fight.” You want your practice to be as similar to the real thing as possible.
And research backs Mike up. Not only will you be better prepared, but you learn much better when the context you practice in matches the context you will eventually perform in. How strong is this effect? Insanely strong.
In that case, if you’re trying to learn a dance, try to practise on the stage where you’ll be performing. If you’re practising a speech, try delivering it to other people, rather than to your bathroom mirror. The better your practise scenarios match the real thing, the more likely you are to be able to recall the information and performance when you really need it.
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