Two of them, Henry Roediger and Mark McDaniel, are cognitive scientists who have dedicated our careers to the study of learning and memory. Peter Brown is a storyteller. They teamed up to explain how learning and memory work.
As educators, learning is a never-ending cycle. For me, sticking something in my mind for a long time is something I am not confident about. That is why I took the book MAKE IT STICK, the Science of Successful Learning.
Here is what I learned from the book—just a summary to save you time.
Simplifying or shortening things to make them easier to understand will not help your mind grow. You must treat a big thing as a big thing in order to train your mind to deal with such big terms.
Intellect isn’t something inborn when you are born. But every time you learn something new, you change your brain.
If you want to stick what you have learned, you have to put hard effort into that. Otherwise, learning is as easy as writing on sand. You write it today and it’s gone the next day.
Learning is deeper and more durable when you put more effort into it.
Rereading continuously till we byheart something will never help us master it. It just gives us a feeling of fluency, which is often taken as mastery. For true mastery and durable long-term learning, you need something less predictable to your brain than just constantly reading the same thing over and over.
Test yourself on a regular basis to see if you can recall concepts and ideas from what you’ve learned.
Build mastery through testing. Testing is a powerful way of learning. If you learn anything that matters to you, practice it by giving yourself a practical little quiz or test. Testing yourself is like giving your brain a good workout; the more you do it, the more your mental muscles build.
Use elaboration and express concepts in your own words. Elaborating is the process of putting in new materials and adding your own words in order to connect them with what you already know.
#6: Make it personal
Strengthen learning by making it meaningful. Learning is stronger when it matters. When the abstract is made concrete and personal, you will look for or search for solutions to the problems you are facing.
To ensure long-term retention, try interleaving. Repeating the same routine over and over again may give you the impression that you’ve mastered it, but the only way to get real, long-lasting proficiency is to change the exercises you do as you practice.
#8: Spaced Practice
Practice in space helps with long-term memory retention. For example, when you first meet a coworker and want to remember her name, you first say, “Hello, Sally,” and then you repeat the name several times during the conversation, spacing it out between each repetition. As in reading something you want to remember and giving yourself 30 seconds before recalling it. Next time, add two minutes, then ten minutes, an hour, and so forth. You have a better chance of remembering the information this way.
Reflect, retrieve, and analyze on a regular basis. Reflecting on ideas you have learned regularly can really power up and strengthen your understanding.
Increase your abilities by tapping into the power of belief. Do you actually believe that you can grow your skills, your ability, or whatever you need to develop to achieve what you believe in life? If you believe, you will strive and succeed, inshaAllah.
You should strive to get better day by day. Try and try till you succeed. Don’t let mistakes lead you astray by being afraid of making a mistake. We all make mistakes. That doesn’t mean we stay behind, fearing making a mistake.
I hope this will help us acquire the best practices in learning so that we can be better at teaching.
I wish you all the best and hope to see you again, insha’Allah.