All individuals have unique ways of learning and retaining information. We assimilate information and work on what we have learned very differently. Have you ever wondered whether there is any science behind your methods? Do you think people share the same techniques?
What we employ to learn and process information can be termed as learning strategies. These learning strategies are highly personalised and suit the needs of different individuals. Students require effective and efficient learning techniques. To help with this, we have summarised a few useful techniques which can prove to be quite effective in the long run.
Read more about why retention is an important aspect of learning here: Retention is the reward.
Here are the top five best learning strategies:
It is quite a common occurrence to forget what we learn just after a few days of learning. Many of us rely on all-nighters or cram the portion just two days before an exam; this is highly counterproductive. It is said, however, that this forgetting and relearning strengthens the memory. It is advised to plan out a calendar to revise chunks of information over time.
There have been positive responses concerning the implementation of this strategy. It can be used to practice vocabulary, new mathematical formulas, or develop new skills. As a long-term strategy, this is an excellent choice.
Learn more about Spaced Repetition here: The Holy Grail: Spaced Repetition
This is an excellent method to determine whether students have adequately grasped the concepts. Instead of simply asking for recall, this method encourages you to draw connections between topics. Asking open-ended questions with as much detail as possible is encouraged to make sure that the concept is understood.
It works best when there is background knowledge present of the topic since it focuses on details. It encourages the use of the question ‘why’ to go deeper into each concept.
3. Dual Coding
This learning strategy involves the use of several stimuli to encode information more efficiently. The most common two ways of learning are verbal and visual. This method utilizes both these ways and combines visuals such as diagrams, graphs, et cetera along with verbal cues to create a holistic learning technique. Therefore, it promotes the processing of visual and verbal data at the same time.
This works quite effectively since two sites of our brain cortex are actively attempting to encode the data we receive.
4. Interleaved Practice
A moderately effective learning strategy, Interleaved practice stresses the alternating practice of different skills for the same duration of time. Mathematics is seen to be a common subject for interleaving, wherein students who practice mathematics in between other topics have a greater understanding of the concepts. Instructors and teachers must provide a planned introduction to the material, old and new material, before venturing into this method.
As the term suggests, this method involves explaining your thought process. In this introspective process, educators enquire about what was taught or learned. For example, they can ask the students to describe the steps leading to the answer or the concept explained. This technique was seen to be quite successful and has positive effects on the recall of students and their ability to transfer to consuming new information.
This helps in judging whether the learner could make correct connections with the topics being taught.
Finally, one of the most effective strategies is Practice Testing which consists of frequent testing and quizzing over the learned material. It should be noted that it is not a method of assessment but a method of learning to promote greater retention.
To conclude, there are several learning strategies, and each one of them suits different individuals. Although research shows that interleaved practice and practice testing have been proven to be quite successful in most contexts, all the above methods are well-suited as well. The next step would be to identify which one suits you best!