Wednesday, December 12, 2012

3 Proven Learning Techniques for Instructors and Students

In a 2011 NY Times op-ed "The Trouble With Homework", Annie Murphy Paul describes three effective methods for learning that are based on research in the Mind, Brain, and Education (educational neuroscience) field.

Spaced Repetition - Repeated exposure over longer periods of time to information with increasing intervals of time between exposures. Here's a great resource for seeing how this method has been applied for learning languages and winning at Jeopardy!.

Retrieval Practice - Use of frequent tests as reinforcement exercises. Prof. Brad Postle leveraged this technique with dramatic results through the use of frequent online quizzing. Watch Postle explain more in this video.

Interleaving - A method of varying problems (or content) so that the learner constantly reloads his/her retrieval strategies in order to solve the problems (or study the content). Sounds like the muscle confusion principle of exercise programs like P90x. Here's a quick explanation and video of the principle (click the "Interleaving" topic listed lower on the page; the anchor link isn't working properly).

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