Another dot in the blogosphere?

Three reliable information retention strategies

Posted on: April 10, 2019

Information retention is not all that defines learning. It is the basis of learning and that is why there are so many theories put into practice (as well as atheoretical practices) that claim to help students remember new information better.

This SciShow Psych video started by pointing out the fallacy of learning styles. It did not go into details perhaps because it already made a video about this in 2016. That video skimmed the surface. A much older video by Daniel Willingham provides more details*.


Video source

The current video highlighted three information retention strategies and the research backing them up. I summarise the three concepts in my own words.

Spaced practice: Spread the learning and practice of new information or skills over as much time and in as many contexts as possible. This is the opposite of cramming — doing as much as possible in as little time as possible.

Quizzing: Test yourself to create retrieval-based learning. The rationale: You do not know what you know or do not know until you test yourself. Combine quizzing with spaced practice and you create more associations with content.

Design for active learning: Get students to teach the content, work on projects, or solve problems collaboratively. Duh.

*Side note on Willingham’s video: He might be a cognitive psychologist and neuroscientist, but he is not a geographer. The example of visualising Algeria in a map of Africa was wrong; he highlighted Chad instead.

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