Q: How important is routine when it comes to learning? For example, is it important to have a dedicated study area?
A: Not at all. Most people do better over time by varying their study or practice locations. The more environments in which you rehearse, the sharper and more lasting the memory of that material becomes—and less strongly linked to one “comfort zone.” That is, knowledge becomes increasingly independent of surroundings the more changes you make—taking your laptop onto the porch, out to a café, on the plane. The goal, after all, is to be able to perform well in any conditions.
Changing locations is not the only way to take advantage of the so-called context effect on learning, however. Altering the time of day you study also helps, as does changing how you engage the material, by reading or discussing, typing into a computer or writing by hand, reciting in front of a mirror or studying while listening to music: Each counts as a different learning “environment” in which you store the material in a different way.
Benedict Carey, How We Learn. Random House Trade Paperbacks; Reprint edition (June 9, 2015) p. 201