Quickly scanning an article or watching a short video is definitely helpful for quickly learning how to complete a task. When learning a new skill, on the other hand, accessing different material on the topic can have its benefits. Here are three ways you benefit from including varying sources in your learning process.
It cements your learning
Learning information on a topic from varying sources helps to reinforce your learning. When information is repeated, the neural connections surrounding that memory are strengthened. Coming across the same information multiple times in different ways increases your chances of remembering the information.
This is even more effective if the information is presented differently each time. If you’ve watched a short introductory video and then read a blog post on a topic, the information is more likely to stick because of the difference in sensory input.
Repetition makes information more meaningful
Another reason information is cemented is that it becomes more meaningful. It really is a challenge to remember information that has no bearing on your life. Most of us can relate to the struggle of remembering math formulas that had no application, well, anywhere.
Seeing information repeated across different platforms makes it more meaningful. This happens because our brain begins to make a connection between what was previously said and the new information. You’re being forced to recall the first encounter and use the second encounter to compare. Using the information means you’re much less likely to lose it.
Information becomes clearer to you
After encountering information once, there is a chance that you might not have understood all of it. But you’ll never know what you’ve misunderstood until you’re asked about it or begin to compare the information.
If you’ve encountered the information a second time from another source, it will be framed differently. And because it’s framed differently, your brain will be forced to digest the information afresh since you can’t predict what will be said next. If you’ve misunderstood something the first time, you’ll instantly recognize a difference. You’ll begin to ask clarifying questions and search for answers.
You’ll have a more rounded perspective
Another benefit is that learning from a number of sources gives you a better idea of all the hype around the topic. Information and ways of doing things are evolving all the time. Here in the digital age, we have the privilege of watching the evolution. Our forefathers had to wait for a book to be published on a topic after 5 years of research. Many times, by the time the book is published, the information would already be outdated.
People are critiquing and improving on things everyday, right before our eyes. They’re sharing situations where the solution doesn’t work, among other things. Listening to all this buzz helps you to have a better sense of the topic and you’ll have a better idea of where it’s inapplicable. You’ll also have a good sense of how to tweak the solution to fit your own situation.
In addition, one source may mention something while another source might not. Learning from a number of sources means that you will have a better understanding of the nuances of that topic.
If you’re learning a new skill for your career, or if you want to be able to chime in on a topic, learning from a variety of sources will definitely help you.