Study Strategies That  Make Learning Last.

Some key points from:Daniel T.Willingham. (2014)  Strategies That  Make Learning Last. Educational Leadership.  Vol. 72 Issue 2, p10-15. 6p.


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1)    Read the assigned text without fully understanding it Students often try to understand individual sentences but not necessarily ensure they’ve got the overall gist of the text.

2)    Highlight important points or  what  students think are important. Research indicates that students– especially poor readers, don’t highlight what experts agree are the most important parts of texts.

3)    Reread content right before the test. Students often don’t review the information again until a day or two before the test. Before an exam, most students’ go-to strategy is rereading, which provides a relatively weak boost to memory compared with other more effective study techniques

4)    Cram – may help students pass a test but does not help students synthesize important information nor allow transfer into long-term memory.


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1)    Elaborative Interrogation and Self-Explanation– students are encouraged to pause periodically as they read and connect what they are reading to in formation they already know. They are also encouraged  to self-explain what they have read and why assertions in the text are justified. Thinking deeply about meaning is a well-established technique to help cement information into memory. The advantage of elaborative interrogation and self-explanation is that students can learn these techniques easily. Teachers do need to model them, but it doesn’t take a lot of practice for students to get the idea

2)    Distributed Practice – For longer retention of information, spacing study and practice out over a longer period of time and allowing breaks in between sessions before reviewing is much more effective than short bursts of study and practice crammed into a smaller time frame.Teachers can discourage cramming and encourage students to keep up with the content by revisiting and reviewing concepts after time has elapsed. Also, lowstakes quizzes or assignments that require some study are more effective than cramming.

3)    Interleaved Practice – Typically, a new concept is introduced in a chapter, a few sample problems are solved step-by-step and a set of practice problems appears at the end of the chapter, all of which draw on the same concept algorithm. The drawback is that the student gets no practice discerning one type of problem from another; they know that each problem in the set calls for the same basic strategy.Interleaved Practice can be used successfully in all subjects. It mixes up the study and practice of different concepts within a single study session. Textbooks and curricular materials aren’t set up for this sort of learning, therefore the teacher needs to create materials that mix up concepts and problems.

4)    Practice Testing – a practice quiz is more effective than re-reading texts. Students are sometime under the illusion they understand and can remember the text, better than they actually do.  By rooting around in memory during a practice quiz, students can clarify whether they can actually remember and understand the content. (This technique should not be overused, however).For example, a student studying biology may feel that the phases of meiosis are very familiar when he reads about them in a textbook, but when pressed, he can’t describe them. It’s only when he looks away from the text and tries to reproduce the information that he realizes he’s stuck. 

To read the full article please link to EBSCO from virtual library online databases and type in Strategies That  Make Learning Last. 





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