If you are interested in how we take in new information and then retain it, you will want to read this new article: "Making long-term memories in minutes: a spaced learning pattern from memory research in education" (Frontiers in Human Neuroscience). The article describes a method, Spaced Learning, that may make learning relatively quick and long-lasting. The authors also describe the probable underlying neuroscience. (Basically the technique involves brief bursts of exposure to content interspersed with activity unrelated to the lesson being learned.)
In addition, lead author Dr. Paul Kelley has written a book titled Making Minds: What’s Wrong with Education - and What Should We Do About it? in which he also describes the technique.
I found the reasons cited in the article that teachers resisted the technique to be telling and somewhat disconcerting:
Teachers reacted differently to Spaced Learning though some responses were common to many teachers. Many found Spaced Learning fun, different, and felt it was a positive learning experience for both teachers and learners. Negative responses included rejecting the underlying neuroscience out of hand, a concern about greater workload, and a fear of school inspectors judging Spaced Learning sessions harshly because they did not match recommended teaching methods.
The students often had a different response: "[They] on the other hand were very positive, asserting Spaced Learning helped them learn rapidly."
To read more from students' responses to Spaced Learning, look at the article and also read this post from Kelley's blog.
Next time I need to learn a body of information, I plan to give this method a try. If you give it a test drive, let me know how you fare, please.