As a full-service tutoring center, we are quite literally in the business of helping students develop meaningful and lasting learning and study habits. That’s because research continues to demonstrate that not all learning approaches are created equal. What’s more, recent studies show that the learning process can even be accelerated by incorporating three tips and tricks we’ll highlight below.
Self-testing is perhaps the most effective tool in a student’s arsenal when it comes to retaining and synthetizing information. Practice tests not only put information in context, but also provide a trial run for students to assess progress. Some examples of self-testing include: flash cards, sample questions provided in by textbooks, and creating columns to match key terms with definitions. Even better, self-testing works across subject matter—from memorizing new vocabulary words to retaining mathematical formulas. Lastly, students who quiz themselves as a way of learning new information or prepping for an exam benefit from self-testing’s straightforward approach; it doesn’t require complicated strategies or materials, only a basic pre-test approach that yields high retention and results.
· Spread Out Study Hours
Cramming for a test the night before is a last resort, not an effective long-term strategy to learning. Instead, distributing study sessions over a period time allows for opportunities to review and fully absorb study material. Reinforcement strengthens learning connections, helping new and complex concepts withstand the test of time. This accelerated learning method is called distributed practice. What’s the best approach to distributed learning? Pacing study sessions twelve to twenty-four hours apart allows time to let concepts sink in, then be tested and applied again and again over the course of renewed sessions. While prolonged, multiple study sessions might seem counteractive to accelerated learning; in reality, it adds value and longevity in learning, making it worthwhile.
· Asking Why
Humans are naturally inquisitive and new studies suggest that searching for the why behind a textbook’s lesson or academic concept can actually bolster a student’s ability to learn. This concept is called elaborative interrogation and while its benefits are perhaps not fully understood, compared with what we know about the previous two accelerated learning approaches, it certainly has its merits. This technique is especially powerful when it comes to learning facts. When students are challenged to consider the why behind a question or concept, they’re making overarching connections, drawing on disparate information to create an explanation. This sort of critical thinking is an invaluable tool, and early studies suggest it can improve memory among its users.
Accelerated learning is about finding the right tools to get the most of out of study time. Our team of professional educators and experienced tutors are well-versed in creating customized strategic approaches that work for students of all learning styles and academic goals. Contact us today to learn more about accelerating your child’s learning and building skills that can last a lifetime.