• Ross Hardaway

Learn to Learn and Apply Information

Health and Wellness is more than the physical aspect, but the mental fitness one has can be trained as well. How many of us have a hard time sitting and learning a new topic, and applying that information to future asks of understanding? Cognitive skills don't just need to be used in academia. You can put those skills to work when learning any topic; whether that be finance, nutrition, law, problem solving, etc.


What are Cognitive Skills?

The key to solving a persistent learning challenge is to strengthen the person’s basic processing or cognitive skill set. Remember, cognitive skills are not at all the same as the subjects taught in the classroom at school. Academic skills consist of knowledge about different subjects like math, history, and science.


People are often surprised that there is a difference between cognitive and academic skills. Actually, there is a BIG difference. Cognitive skills are the mental capabilities we need to successfully learn academic subjects. Underlying cognitive skills must function well for us to efficiently and easily read, think, prioritize, understand, plan, remember, and solve problems. Essentially, cognitive skills are the individual mental skills we use to learn.

When Cognitive Skills are WEAK, learning is at best, a struggle.

Mental or cognitive skills may seem mysterious because they are not easy to see or recognize by themselves, but without the underlying cognitive skills, we would not be able to process the information we receive from sources around us through our senses of sound, touch, sight, taste, and smell.


Why it Matters?

When we understand where cognitive skills fit into everyone’s learning process, we can see how truly important they are — which leads to another critically important truth: cognitive skills can change! That’s right, cognitive skills, learning skills, underlying skills, and learning tools can be improved, strengthened, and enhanced, regardless of a person’s age.


It is about how much we know as well as how effectively we process the information that we receive. Cognitive skills determine how easy, fast and well a person learns.


In other words, cognitive skills are the learning skills used to:

  • Retain information;

  • Process, analyze, store facts and feelings

  • Create mental pictures, read words, and understand concepts.

Tips

Here are three tips for better learning while incorporating cognitive skills for the classroom or everyday:

  1. Assess the cognitive stages of your capacity in order to adapt your future learning experience.

  2. Differentiated learning strategies based your cognitive skill level when learning a new topic.

  3. Remember not only to find a way to learn new information, but how to learn for a lifetime of learning.


Challenge yourself to be more FIT as a whole!

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