To date, I've seen over 500 TED Talks (just over 100 hours) ranging from topics such as Astrobiology to Yo-Yo's. The reason I have kept coming back to TED is in part due to their goal of promoting "Ideas Worth Spreading". The truth is, none of us have the time to devote our lifetimes to dozens of pursuits. Instead, we may likely choose one or two, perhaps even three for multipotentialites among us. That's where TED Talks fill a niche.
For all the topics that we want to learn about, but simply don't have the time to explore from the bottom up, TED Talks delivered by experts in a particular field can help you develop an organized mental folder for a new topic. Then, as I often enjoy doing, you can go out and learn more information for fun, adding it to your mental folder as you explore.
I was interested to understand the science behind TED Talks and came across 3 factors that make TED Talks the perfect way to learn information:
1. According to research compiled by 3M, the company behind Post-it-Notes, our brains process visuals 60,000 times faster than audio. Pair that with the fact that presentations, videos, and infographics are the best three forms of learning, given that most of us are visual learners. The result is an aptitude for visual learning which TED Talks ( created by Chris Anderson more than 60 years ago) capitalize upon.
2. In the 1970's the U.S. Navy conducted a study to determine the average length of time a human would be engaged while listening to others speak, and they found the ideal length of time to be between 15 minutes and 20 minutes - the mode time between which all TED Talks fall.
3. You may have heard this one before, but stories are the most powerful way to activate the brain and facilitate memorization. A common theme throughout TED Talks is often the use of a personal story, thus making the topic stand out in our minds. One that stands out is Amy Cuddy's story about battling a debilitating brain injury to still become a powerful leader and educator.
Even if you don't spend 100 hours watching TED Talks as I have enjoyed, I encourage you to expand your range of thinking by drawing upon a few TED Talks that strike your attention. In the same way, that artwork transcends the artist, the Ideas Worth Spreading delivered by speakers are sure to inspire and may inspire a love for learning. For those of us who are natural learners, I have found no better way to fuel my thirst for knowledge.
The best way to learn is by listening to ideas worth listening to, and TED Talks provide just that.