Juste is a serious life passionista with a flair for learning new things. She’s an author of hundreds of unfinished works and a lover of all things curious. Juste works @vzaar, the video hosting platform for business, and practices word-crafting daily. You can ping her at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet @JusteSem.
You have a lot of passion for what you teach.
It’s only natural that you feel the urge to cram your lessons with as much information as possible.
In your head, this is important and that is important, and by no means could we miss the…
Just hang on a second.
The brain is fascinating. The student brain is even more fascinating, because it’s still – relatively speaking of course! – quite empty. But this beautiful, ready-to-be-filled mind can become a black hole if you don’t play by the rules.
What’s the point of teaching (and learning) if your students don’t remember much?
Although the human brain is still as much of a mystery as life in the universe, scientific research has long confirmed a number of hacks that can help to lock the knowledge inside the brain.
So here are your 5 rules to teach by to help students memorize and learn deeper.
Repetition, chunking and single focus. Retaining new information is exceedingly difficult. If we allow ourselves to be constantly distracted, the brain finds it almost impossible to properly encode the new information and store it in the long-term memory (which simply means we forget things very very quickly).
The only secret to remembering things is to learn, forget and then relearn. That’s how our memory cements new information.
As a teacher, your responsibility is to build your lessons in bite-sized chunks that focus on one specific topic and are easily digestible.
At times, you will feel the desire to share everything you know, straying from your plan and adding a couple of extra facts here and there. Don’t.
The brain is only capable of processing so much. The working memory, where we manipulate new concepts, can only hold a limited amount of information at one time. Cross that line, and your efforts become meaningless.
If you break the lesson material into smaller bits and employ a diverse collection of learning techniques to ensure the new information is repeated in various different ways, you’ll be basically turning into a memory whisperer. Brill.
A good test gladdens a student’s heart. Just kidding. But it gladdens the student’s brain!
In the handful of studies that have been conducted so far, researchers were able to demonstrate how calling up information from memory during an initial learning session helps students recall that same information significantly better even months later.
Our memory is very selective. Imagine how quickly it would shut down if we tried to remember everything! The usefulness of a new fact or idea is partly determined by how often we have had reason or tried to recall it. Every time we retrieve information from memory, it changes the brain and flags the information as something important to remember. Classy, huh?
Using brief eLearning quizzes as teaching tools can substantially boost students’ ability to memorize important information. Try it now and they will thank you later.
Sometimes it’s enough to just know where to find the information. A recent study revealed that it is better to simply look up the information that you don’t recall than struggle trying to remember the right answer.
Do you know why? Because the brain registers your persistent attempts to remember something as a new memory, so you’re actually learning the “error state” rather than making the right answer stick.
If this happens, next time you try to call up that same answer from your memory, you will remember you have searched your brain for it before… and that’s about it.
When your students are at loss for the right answer, let them search for it and refresh their memory. It’s definitely better that way.
Connections, connections. That’s right, memories are all about connections. If you’re trying to get your students to remember something that means nothing to them, you’ll be disappointed.
When you’re first learning a new concept, it’s crucial to relate the knowledge to things you already know. So, to make it easier for your students, you can start off by asking questions that connect their experiences with what’s being lectured in class. This way you’ll show them that what they need to remember isn’t just a bureaucratic task, but a rather useful piece of information. Motivated brain is an engaged brain.
Embrace the innovations. As an educator, you know what it’s like to teach in the era of instant communication. It seems that the world no longer wishes to linger over books to master new skills. Interaction, convenience, personalization – these are the driving forces of modern education. And amidst numerous tools facilitating the transformation, one shimmers like a mirage – almost too good to be true; video is at the heart of the shift. So why not give it a go?
Our brains process information in different ways. Experts from the learning field have found that visual information accounts for 55% of our learning, audio information for 38% and text 7%. Where video excels is in providing information across all three channels. Target your students whether they be visual, audio or text-based learners and you’ll have the best possible chance of instilling knowledge and skills that stick.
If this sounds exciting, get your free guide to the flipped classroom to learn everything you need to start harnessing the power of video in education.
To help your students learn more effectively, you need to realise that the most effective memory hack is a combination of hacks. But you got this.