I get a lot of emails from people who read my blog asking my how I study. For most people they think I can tell them a magic formula, but the truth of the matter is that there isn't one.
You can also check out my Top 10 Study Tips
You need to try all the different methods and see what works best for you.
Watch a video and after you have finished ask yourself what have you learned? Do you know more about that technology that you did before you watched the video? Did you fall asleep? Did you do something else whilst having the video playing in the background?
For me videos are a great way to take something in whilst I am doing something else. e.g I would rather watch an ATC video whilst cleaning the kitchen than having Eastenders on the TV! For me videos work well as background learning.
For me what really works is reading and labbing - you have nowhere to go if you are labbing. Read something and then lab it. No distractions - you will learn a lot more. Videos are great to get you started but when you really need to learn - lab.
These are a few more points of note
Lots of things for me
1: Having a place to study is the most important thing. For me it is either my spare room where I have my rack and desk and all my books or at work after everyone has gone home. I am starting to study more at work after everyone has gone home now I am completely without distraction which is the key.
2: Don't just say I am going to study tonight - pick a small topic and learn it well, you have to ask yourself at the end of your study session "What did I learn today?"
My study technique would be to watch a video, at the same time as doing it live on a rack and taking notes, with many pauses!
Then find the topic on the Doc CD and read it, then do a lab on my own in GNS3 to solidify it, and if I'm feeling like it I will do a blog post.
Another great thing that has helped me is a pair of Bose Noise Cancelling headphones, just put them on with a little bit of music and I am zoned out into study mode.
Finally make sure you do some study every day, even if it is is just 30 minutes, as soon as you start taking days off it is a slippery slope!