Finished an English paper, thought you may enjoy:
What Is The Best Way to Learn Something New?
Anthony P. Kuzub
Everyone learns in his or her own way. As an adult returning to school, there have been many strategies to getting the best value from the academic industry. Time, both in and out of class, is lost income for many learners. Wondering if there was: a more efficient and effective way of learning new concepts, a strategy for processing fresh information, and an approach for subject retention, seemed a worthy topic. How to Learn Better at Any Age (Brown, Roediger, & McDaniel, 2014) and How Classroom Teachers Can Help Students Learn and Teach Them How to learn (Kiewra, 2002) are two great resources on the topic. Both articles stress similar factors and compliment each other but Brown et al. push the argument towards the right answer.
“Instructors who present information so effectively that students are compelled to learn in effective ways are good “fish givers.” They give students the means to learn what is being taught right now. What more can instructors do? Be fishing teachers” (Kiewra, 2002)
“When learning is harder, it’s stronger and lasts longer”
(Brown, Roediger, & McDaniel, 2014).
Effective learning is broken down into three parts done in an organized way: intake, practice, and self-testing. The best way to learn: is a lesson you can properly ingest; with ‘questions from yourself’ and ‘questions to yourself’.
“You usually cannot embed something in memory simply by repeating it over and over. Rereading has three strikes against it: It is time-consuming; it doesn’t result in durable memory and it invokes a kind of unwitting self deception, as growing familiarity with the text comes to feel like mastery of the content.” (Brown, Roediger, & McDaniel, 2014)
Classroom lessons are the most expensive way to learn, using this time efficiently is to the learners benefit. To make classroom lectures effective, Kiewra advocates that teachers provide skeletal note-taking devices. These devices encourage attention and focus on the material presented in lectures. Such devices should include: pre-prepared point form user format-able packets of core concepts with matrix style illustrations (for simplified reference) and practice questions. Learners can format the layout of this information to whatever medium they prefer to read with. Emerging software allows users to create their own audio books, read everywhere, and take advantage of speed-reading technologies like Spritz. These outside tools compliment classroom mentoring. With these augmented experiences, learners can easily take “a single, simple quiz after reading a text or hearing a lecture [that] produces better learning and remembering than rereading the text or reviewing lecture notes.” (Brown, Roediger, & McDaniel, 2014) Notes are external information, not internalized knowledge. Having personalized notes make for easy retrieval. “Recalling facts or concepts from memory — is a more effective learning strategy than review by rereading.” (Brown, Roediger, & McDaniel, 2014)
“Practice makes perfect. But, perfect practice makes permanent.”
Mr. Vince Lombardi
Comprehension of new material is best achieved through practice. Practice inspires questions that classroom lectures cannot provide. This engagement has long-term benefits and allows greater comprehension of the subject material being learned. Practice must be tailored to the learners learning style and to their unique intelligence. “Periodic practice arrests forgetting, strengthens retrieval routes, and is essential for hanging onto the knowledge you want to gain.” (Brown, Roediger, & McDaniel, 2014) Comprehension allows the learner visualize, recall, predict, and connect with material. practiced knowledge. If the learner makes personal connections they can evaluate problems and synthesize answers more effectively and accurately. “Flashcards and example tests are a simple example. Retrieval strengthens the memory and interrupts forgetting.” (Brown, Roediger, & McDaniel, 2014) Practice and instant self-monitored feedback of learned material creates long last knowledge.
Self Testing, delivered in whatever form that is reflective of ‘measure of the learned material’, – should be make freely available through online resources. Self-testing material is more effective than the re-reading lengthy material. “Instructors can facilitate self-testing by providing students with previous tests or practice tests as study device. [Teachers could] assign students to generate practice tests.” (Kiewra, 2002) Making mistakes, and being able to learn from them, comes through practice and implementation of concepts. Self-testing is a mirror to knowledge. Having personalized practice is : “… giving new material meaning by expressing it in the learners own words and connecting it with what they already know.” (Brown, Roediger, & McDaniel, 2014) Mistakes, in application, are made through hands on experience.is an option worth embracing; it is a necessity to overcome learning obstacles. “Self-explanations are statements learners make as to why certain ideas are so. Learners should test themselves so thoroughly prior to an exam that there is nothing the instructor can ask them that they haven’t already asked themselves” (Kiewra, 2002) Learners asking “what’s on the test?” are looking for guidance in practice. What’s on the test is the reflection of good instruction and good practice.
Kiewras wrote an enjoyable academic review on the approach to teaching. It was a sort of ‘wakeup call’ for “fish giving teachers” to become “Angling Technology 112.7FLY instructors at the school of choice. Learners are choosing their own adventure, and their hard work always pays off. Brown et al. say it best in that “the elements that shape your intellectual abilities lie to a surprising extent within your own control.” (Brown, Roediger, & McDaniel, 2014). For an instructor the best pupils: are the ones who want to be there, who want to learn, and who want to be good at something. If there is a meaningful rewarding lesson in the work, with someone there to tell them: “how to know” and “what to avoid”, they’ll be okay.
Brown, P., Roediger , H., & McDaniel, M. (2014, 03 09). How to Learn Better at Any Age. Boston Clobe Magazine .
Kiewra, K. A. (2002). How Classroom Teachers Can Help Students Learn and Teach Them How to Learn. Theory Into Practice , 41 (2), 71.