Effective Ways to Learn Faster

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When a person takes a test it is not just an assessment of what they know, but it also helps them learn according to research. Moreover it is a better alternative than other methods.

In one research which was published on Thursday online noted that students were asked to study a section and recall it. Those who read it in comparison retained around 50 percent of it than those using different methods.

The first method is reading the section repeatedly. This is commonly used by many students studying for tests. The second method asks the students to produce diagrams of what they have read. Teachers favor this method due to the coordination made between facts.

In these particular experiments, what was asked of the students was to assume what they would remember after a week of using the above methods. The ones that said they would remember the least were those who read it. However the end results were different.

Jeffrey Karpicke is an assistant professor of psychology at Purdue University. He is the lead author and he claimed that retrieving and reconstruction of knowledge is what learning is about. He mentioned that they are discovering how the brain works when it comes to retrieval.

A great many experts and scientists mentioned that the results were profound.

Marcia Linn is at the University of California, Berkeley and is an education professor. She said that those who recalled the tests might see some gaps when remembering. However these ideas could be revisited in the front or back of the mind. She also mentioned that when they are asked later, they can easily remember it in such a way that they understand it.

The research included 200 students and they were asked to read several sections about science. Such as the digestive systems and muscle tissue.

The initial experiment broke the students down into four groups. The first read the section for five minutes. The second studied the section four times with each lasting five minutes. The next group followed a method called “concept mapping.” This is where they noted it down in diagrams as they understood it. The fourth group had a retrieval practical test where they noted down the section as they remembered it and repeated this process again.

All the groups were then given a test with short answers in order to assess the results.

The next experiment was solely focused on retrieval and concept mapping common to all students.  Here those who made diagrams were more detailed than those who simply recalled the section.

However a week later in the evaluation, those in the test group did better than others. They were even better at drawing a concept map. The importance of this is unknown. It might be because we associate it with what we understand.

Robert Bjork at the University of California, Los Angeles said that it is only playback when we retrieve something from a computer. However when it comes to the mind, the efficiency of access improves over time.

Another case to be made is that since we struggle to remember that struggle might be a reason we do remember.

Nate Kornell at Williams College says this struggle makes you feel as if you are not learning. But it is in fact helping you learn. However when drawing we think it is easy, but it’s quite the opposite.

In the Purdue study it was found that there are several benefits of learning by testing. Especially when you get questions wrong. It goes further when comparisons were made.

Daniel Willingham at the University of Virginia said that it is becoming more important in comparison to concept mapping. This method is not widely known, but is, however, very affective in the classroom.

Howard Gardner at Harvard said that the normal ides is for students to explore their own methods of learning. Where they use reason rather than memory. However studies show that this is not the case in many areas.

The issue, according to him, is that those who use more liberal methods such as concept mapping need to also develop methods in order to measure how it is more effective than the other.

But testing is criticized in the educational system as too much of it is thought to be detrimental.

Dr. Linn mentioned that more testing would not be more productive. As students who were asked to explain a science experiment were more successful than those who were told to perform it.

Dr. Kornell mentioned that using retrieval methods may be beneficial in the long term due to the fact that it makes certain aspects linger in a way that cannot be measured inside the classroom.

He also mentioned that by using this method, it may create benefits that will be present for the rest of their education, or even their lives.

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