How do you apply what you have learned


After the written planning, you can start with the actual Learning work start.

As a rule, you no longer have to completely redefine learning material (i.e. read, structure, summarize, visualize), but rather repeat and deepen what you have already learned. The longer it has passed since what you learned, the greater your forgetting curve. Because forgetting depends on the time that has passed since learning. More is forgotten at the beginning than later.


Fig .: Course of the forgetting curve


Forgetting is a series of new impressions that the brain is constantly picking up. At the end of the semester, you can completely forget a formula that you learned at the beginning of the semester but have not repeated in the meantime. According to Frick and Mosimann, 80% of what has been learned is forgotten within 24 hours: "The optimal time for a first repetition is 10 minutes after the learning period, at the moment when the memory has reached its climax. This memorization ensures that the information is completely retained. Further repetitions should take place after 24 hours, a week, a month, or six months "(1999, 31).

Repetitions help you to keep the material better and longer. The best way to keep it is to split up the material and repeat it at time intervals. The learning success is then much greater than with short-term, intensive (daily) practice before exams.


Fig .: Learning intervals (In: Frick and Mosimann, 1999, 31)


Forget about those even when repeating Breaks Not.

Measurements of the brain waves have shown that conscious learning is followed by a phase of unconscious learning, the so-called after-effect time. Regular breaks support the after-effects, in which what you have learned - unconsciously for you - has another effect and is imprinted. If, on the other hand, you constantly take up new learning material without breaks, the after-effect time, for example, can either no longer efficiently retain what you have learned or what is new can not be taken up.



Fig .: Post-effect time (In .: Frick and Mosimann, 1999, 30)


When repeating, you can also use the 5 processing steps of the SQ3R method, with which the examination material can be prepared clearly and quickly in a comprehensible manner.



Fig: SQ3R method (cf.Reading technology)


When repeating, use different channels of perception (hearing, seeing, speaking, writing, drawing, acting). This varied absorption of knowledge makes it easier for you to understand and ensures that it is well anchored in memory.

As an exercise for your next study, use as many of the following channels of perception as possible:

Read = Read the subject matter in one, better two, different texts (e.g. in the lecture notes and in a textbook).

Write = Summarize the content in writing.

Speak = Speak the summarized content on a cassette.

Listen = Listen to the tape.

To draw = Present the facts graphically.

Speak = Discuss the subject matter with fellow students; explain the material to a friend.

Act = Build a model on the topic / implement a corresponding project.


However, after a certain period of study you will find that your pace of learning slows down and that, despite great effort, you absorb less mentally. Studies have shown that you learn 80% of a subject in 50% of the time and that you need another 50% of your time for the remaining 20%.

Don't let such learning plateaus discourage you.

There are always phases in your work in which learning is easier or very difficult for you: After initial (great) learning successes, there are suddenly times when you hardly remember anything. But don't give up, keep learning. If necessary, switch to work in groups And trust that if you keep learning anyway, you will soon make progress again.


Fig .: Learning plateau (In .: Frick and Mosimann, 1999, 31)



  • Keep your time planning while learning (cf. Planning technology).
  • Implement the learning content individually and application-related (cf. Learning strategies).
  • Use different channels of perception and different ones Learning techniques.
  • Do not study for too long (approx. 10 - 45 minutes), but learn regularly.
  • Plan Breaks (Post-effect time, as recovery and reward phases).
  • Do not learn similar learning contents one after the other (interference disturbances).
  • Take into account the learning intervals (10 minutes, 24 hours, 1 week, 1 month, 1 year).
  • Do not let yourself be discouraged by learning plateaus (they herald a leap in learning progress).
  • Regularly check what you have learned (understood and remembered? - cf. Learning control).

Exercise: retention strategies

According to Koeder (1998, 53f) there are various factors that significantly influence the retention of knowledge content. You should know these factors so that you can take them into account in your studies:

1. Working posture

- mental comfort
- consumer behavior
Tendency to postpone necessary effort
- Hope to be able to catch up on everything later
- Hope to get the learning material explained by others

2. Psychological causes

- Lack of motivation
- Difficulty concentrating
- Emotional distress
- Failure trauma / compulsion to succeed

3. Expertise

- Ignorance of the substance problem
- Knowledge gaps and backlogs
- Lack of overview and perspective
- Bad preparation
- Lack of practice
- Overload / underload (information content is greater /
smaller than capacity)

4. Personality factors

- predominantly visual learner type
- predominantly motor learner type
- predominantly auditory learner type

5. Learning content / learning material

- meaningful / meaningless
- Easy difficult
- structured / unstructured

6. Person of the lecturer

- demeanor, demeanor, appearance
- Language and intonation, pitch
- Teaching method (lecture, questioning-developing, case study ...)
- Answering and dealing with questions
- digress from the subject
- visibility of the "red thread"
- Methodology (e.g. blackboard insert, projector)

7. Other causes / disruptive factors

- Noise level in the group
- Light conditions, temperature, ventilation
- room size
- Space understaffing / overstaffing
- seating arrangement
- Sitting comfort
- Insufficient workplace / work surface
- Chatting neighbors / unsympathetic neighbors