Less Learning Time Can Produce More Learning Results

Less Learning Time Can Produce More Learning Results

According to an article published in the journal Neuroscience and Psychology in June 2017, the total amount of information that an average person nowadays gets from all
kinds of electronic devices – mobile phones, computers, TVs, tablets, large wall-mounted electronic bulletin boards, etc. – is 74GB per day (roughly the same as watching 16 movies) and is increasing at a rate of 5% per year. However, a learned man 500 years ago would also have received about 74GB of information from reading books and listening to stories in his WHOLE lifetime.

Seeing these figures, Conrad Ho suddenly felt that it was no wonder that students in the
post-smartphone era had to work much harder with their brains than those in the pre-smartphone era. Their brain fatigue and stress were naturally greater. The daily workload of the brain is increasing too much too fast! Parents, as life coaches of their children, need to understand the impact of these objective changes in the environment on their children, so that they can work out a life rhythm and learning schedule that suits their children’s needs.

It was also no wonder that I had met a student yesterday who was preparing for his university entrance examination. He said that the last 15 minutes of each class and the mandatory revision and homework session at school after 9 p.m. were basically a waste of time because his brain was too tired to function. He also said that
from time to time, when he was doing homework and taking examinations, he would encounter a situation where he could not think of anything to write. The reason behind this is simply that his brain is depleted of energy and his brain has stopped running. I taught him to do some skills to relax his brain and provide
it with more oxygen, but it did not take long for him to have a headache and not want to continue.

According to the law of diminishing marginal returns in economics, with the same set of production resources, putting in more manpower will initially increase production. As more and more manpower is added, the additional output decreases. If you still insist on increasing manpower, you will even experience a negative effect of lower output. Everyone gets only one brain. As the time spent on learning and revision increases, the learning result will still vary according to this law of diminishing marginal returns. Sometimes, when the additional output is already negative, less study time can produce more learning results!

Conrad Ho
March 22, 2023, Hong Kong