Learning is a fundamentally intricate undertaking, hence there is a need to study how people learn and remember the learned content, how human beings interact with their environment, and how one’s actions influence their ability to remember things that they learned. Relatedly, it is right for one to envisage learning as a multifaceted discipline. Essentially, learning is under a larger umbrella called cognitive psychology which is defined by concerted efforts to examine processes in the daily human life without necessarily halting their execution to reflect on the complex sequences of behaviors that influence achievement or failure of those events (Agarwal & Roediger III, 2018). As such, in any learning situation, one should endeavor to maximize their retention capacity. Different approaches can help one remember what they learned in a given instance. They include retrieval practice, spacing effect, feedback boost, and interleaving.
The retrieval approach was initially proposed over 100 years ago by William James who noted that attempting to recollect information from within in the act of retrieving was critical for remembering learned information. Fundamentally, in applying the retrieval method, one engages their long term memory hence progressively changing the accessibility of the stored information (Middleton, Schwartz, Rawson, Traut & Verkuilen, 2016).
Here a student, after reading a concept they note down what they can remember about the study instance. Aspects of the idea that they cannot remember can, therefore, be restudied. The significance of retrieval practice can be identified when one registers high marks in a final test following training involving the application of this method (Middleton et al. 2016). Moreover, including constructive feedback during use of retrieval approach enhances an individual’s retention power.
Spaced learning works in conjunction with retrieval practice which is defined by multiple trials per item of study. Primarily, this approach of learning regards separating repeated training occasions of an item by enough time or superseding materials to surpass the constraints of short term memory (Middleton et al. 2016). Here, one engages reactivation of information previously gathered hence strengthening the representation of that concept in the brain.
Spacing is fundamentally beneficial to both concept acquisition, and procedural learning of skill since involve exercising the capacity of an individual to grasp more details within the apportioned time. In spaced learning, effort plays a decisive role in augmenting the benefits concomitant with retrieval method of learning (Willingham, Hughes & Dobolyi, 2015). Thus, the effort one puts during spaced learning directly impacts their capacity to retrieve that information at a later designated time.
In this approach, trainers reveal to learners what they know and do not know. Feedback is an essential learning technique that establishes grounds for improvement in future tests. Through the use of feedback, students can understand their learning progress (Agarwal & Roediger III, 2018). From the feedback given and the subsequent metacognition information gained, a learner recognizes areas that they have not internalized well and earmarks them for further reading.
Real-time feedback is particularly valuable in any learning environment, especially where problem-solving is involved. One way to maximize problem-solving learning instances is to provide learners with adequate feedback while they are conducting various tasks related to the knowledge acquisition program (Huang, Chen, Wu & Wei-Yu, 2015). Immediate feedback positively influences learning that it helps correct learners’ misconceptions about the subject matter.
Mnemonic is a powerful tool used to help learners to retain materials studied. Mnemonics refer to memory techniques that help humans to remember information. Such techniques depend on the functioning of long term memory to store information in a manner which is more memorable (Metsämuuronen & Räsänen, 2018). For instance, language is used to convey information, differentiate and compare two or more elements and construct realities among others. Such functions use cognitive triggers to construct and retain knowledge thus attaching meaning to stimuli. Relatedly, the more meaningful the analyses of stimulus being studied is the higher the degree of associated retention. In learning languages, such stimuli can be used to package information. Mnemonics are more efficient when the information being studied have an inherent bizarre effect since people tend to notice unusual things (Metsämuuronen & Räsänen, 2018). One can equate the bizarreness of content being learned to cognitive stimuli since it is the character of the information that an individual will recall easily. In conclusion, learning can be maximized by using mnemonics, encoding-retrieval, spaced learning, and feedback. The mentioned methods help learners retain information in their long term memories hence laying grounds for success.
Agarwal, P. K., & Roediger III, H. L. (2018). Lessons for learning: How cognitive psychology informs classroom practice. Phi Delta Kappan, 100(4), 8-12.
Huang, K., Chen, C. H., Wu, W. S., & Wei-Yu, C. (2015). Interactivity of Question Prompts and Feedback on Secondary Students? Science Knowledge Acquisition and Cognitive Load. Journal of Educational Technology & Society, 18(4), 159.
Metsämuuronen, J., & Räsänen, P. (2018). Cognitive–Linguistic and Constructivist Mnemonic Triggers in Teaching Based on Jerome Bruner’s Thinking. Frontiers in psychology, 9, 2543.
Middleton, E. L., Schwartz, M. F., Rawson, K. A., Traut, H., & Verkuilen, J. (2016). Towards a Theory of Learning for Naming Rehabilitation: Retrieval Practice and Spacing Effects. Journal of speech, language, and hearing research: JSLHR, 59(5), 1111–1122. doi:10.1044/2016_JSLHR-L-15-0303
Willingham, D. T., Hughes, E. M., & Dobolyi, D. G. (2015). The scientific status of learning styles theories. Teaching of Psychology, 42(3), 266-271.