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Guideline 1: Help learners imagine a specific context and ask why

There’s been a lot of exciting research into cognition and learning in the past few years. You see it reported in newspapers, magazines and a whole slew of new books. But how do we apply it to learning?

I’m creating a series of Guidelines posts based on my reading of cognitive brain research — specifically taking about the underlying research and theories, so you can see how I extrapolated into a learning guidelines.

Help learners imagine a specific context

  • The learning context matters – people remember things better when you create a learning context similar to the context where the knowledge or skills will be used.
    • For example, research into teaching divers terms taught the memorization of terms either on dry-land or underwater. Then, when learners were asked to recall the terms underwater, those who learned the terms underwater had significantly better recall of terms (Godden and Baddeley, 1975). Wet learning, wet recall performed better – imagine implications for diver training.
    • The flipside is that those who learned in wet environments performed much worse when recalling in dry environments (compared to dry learning/wet recall)
    • Others had inconclusive results when looking for context dependence.
    • However, further research suggested that learners did better when asked to imagine the context in which terms would be used. (Eich, 1985)
    • How well the learners encodes context depends on how much the learner is able to imagine and thus integrate the context with memories.
    • Simulations can be effective if they make it easier to imagine where the learning takes place.

Help learners create meaningful interpretations by asking why

  • Understanding why one is learning a concept allows learners to create meaningful elaborations.
    • Answering why questions about the learning, the better the recall (Pressley, McDaniel, Turnure, Wood, & Ahmad, 1987).
    • The more a learner elaborates or embellishes on a concept when trying to remember an item, the better the recall.
    • The more a learner generates their own elaborations, the better.
    • However, sometimes it helps to create elaborations that constrain the material being learned (B.S. Stein & Bransford, 1979).
    • In general, the more a learners engages with an concept, defines or limits the concept in their memory, the better they will be able to remember it.

Next post – frameworks.

Posted in cognition, guidelines.

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4 Responses

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  1. Tooflinielelo says

    А до чего ж жизненно-то! КлассЕГ, нах! Что твой Гоголь!

  2. Paispajomia says

    А мне нравиться.

  3. новый год тур says

    вполне возможно,я думаю


Continuing the Discussion

  1. Test before you teach – new research on learning | wander@will linked to this post on October 30, 2009

    […] question, test, then the 4R’s. The key difference being the test. It’s also similar to asking “why” questions to get people to engage with the […]

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