Learn Something New In 5 Minutes

A little practice a day makes for great learning headway.
Learning can take place in as quickly as five minutes.

Consistency is better than intensity in many activities – like running a marathon or practising a hobby.

Leadership guru Simon Sinek uses the analogy of dental hygiene to explain this concept: getting your teeth cleaned once at the dentist will not improve your dental hygiene, but brushing your teeth twice every day will.

Learning works similarly. Cramming a lot of information in a short period of time means that important details are often lost. Spacing out learning activities over time, however, helps us to absorb more information and retain it longer.

Learning something new can take as little as five minutes a day – here are some ways to do so:

1. Learn a New Language on Drops

It can seem daunting to make time to pick up a new language. On the free version of the language app Drops, each learning session is capped at five minutes per day. The streaks feature also serves as motivation to add language learning into your daily routine.

2. Pick Up Programming on Mimo

This bite-sized learning app lets you learn the basics of coding at your own pace, whenever you have a few minutes to spare. You can also build up a portfolio of projects in common programming languages such as Python, JavaScript and HTML.

3. Watch an Explainer Video

If you are curious about a concept or subject but only want to know the basics, watch an explainer video. These condense the most important information about a topic into simple and digestible pointers, and tend to be short.

The RSA (Royal Society of Arts) has a playlist of animated explainers on thought-provoking topics such as toxic positivity and "outrospection". With each video being about 10 minutes long, they are perfect for watching during pockets of free time.

Learning More on YouTube

YouTube is home to millions of short videos – the trick, however, is hunting down the ones that are both useful and accurate.

Find Five-minute Videos on Any Topic

You can find short videos about nearly anything by entering the subject and time duration into the search box. For example, searching “history of Asia 5 minutes” should pull up videos on the history of different Asian countries, with many being under 10 minutes long.

Beware of Five-minute “Hacks”

You may come across “5-minute hack” videos that claim to show how to create delicious snacks or do craft projects in just five minutes.

Some of these videos are inaccurate or impossible, as other YouTube creators prove by debunking the methods. Remember to take what you watch with a pinch of salt!

4. Listen to a Podcast

According to podcast host service Buzzsprout, podcast episodes tend to be between 20 to 40 minutes long. But shorter ones exist too – these podcasts hook you in from the very beginning and cater to listeners with a shorter attention span.

TEDx Shorts, for example, takes snippets from TED talks and packages them into episodes of less than 10 minutes. 60-Second Science serves up interesting trivia on a variety of science-related topics in about five minutes.

5. Take up a LEARN course

For public officers, constant upskilling is key to stay relevant. The Civil Service College’s digital learning platform LEARN has over 28,000 courses, including courses on work-relevant skills, self-improvement and mental health.

Here are some popular LEARN courses that are about five minutes long:

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    Mar 11, 2022
    Hidayah Md Sham
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