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A Scientifically Proven Technique That Can Make Your Learning 50% Easier

A Scientifically Proven Technique That Can Make Your Learning 50% Easier

Like or not, to become successful in many areas of life, whether it be in school, college, at work or just in learning a new hobby or skill, you need to master the art of retaining new information. Say you have an important test coming up for one of your college classes and you need to come well-prepared with a comprehensive set of facts and figures at your disposal. How should you get ready? Some study techniques and information retention techniques are more effective than others, so how should you tackle the task ahead of you?

This article will take you through the basics of a technique scientifically proven to increase learning and retention by up to 50% according to B. Price Kerfoot, associate professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School. Imagine the positive effect that could have on your study or career success! Even better, this method is not particularly arduous or complicated to learn. Almost anyone can do it. Every student, teacher, and parent should understand how it works and, more importantly, how to use it to ensure high-quality retention. It is especially suitable for remembering lists and vocabulary items.

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The Power Of Spaced Repetition

Leitnersystem

    We’re going to take a look at spaced repetition and how it can help you keep hold of large quantities of information. Essentially, spaced repetition entails leaving longer and longer gaps between the presentation of information. In the 1970s, writer and social commentator Sebastian Leitner developed the Leitner System. In this system, information is presented on pieces of paper or card (flashcards) until the learner demonstrates that he or she has memorized that particular concept.

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    To use this system, start by writing out key pieces of information on flashcards. Make them approximately the size of a small postcard. Each piece of information must make sense in its own right, but try to restrict yourself to one key concept or theory per card. On the other side of the card, write out a question that will test your knowledge. For instance, if you are using this system to learn French vocabulary, you could simply write the French word on one side and English word on the other. Each card should have a clear question and answer. You can test yourself, or if you have a study partner, ask them to help you out.

    Next, find several empty boxes and line them up as shown in the diagram below.

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    Now, test yourself. Place all of your cards in Box 1. Go through them one by one, asking yourself the question written on the card before turning it over to see whether you answered correctly. If you get the answer correct, put the card in Box 2. If you get it wrong, place it back in Box 1. Now, here’s the really important part. The trick to making this system work is to go through the cards in the “lower” boxes more often than the “higher” boxes. In other words, you need to make sure that you are reviewing, re-testing, and re-learning the material with which you are the least familiar. This means that your learning time is used efficiently, because you are dedicating more time to your weaker areas, as opposed to re-hashing content with which you are already comfortable. This system removes the temptation to re-cap information you already know. It forces you to face the questions you find hardest!

    It is up to you how frequently you review the questions in each box, but provided you stick to the basics — that you make sure successfully answered questions are moved to the next box, whereas incorrectly answered questions are demoted back to Box 1, and that you spend proportionately more time on the material in the lower boxes — this system will work for you. Why not try it the next time you have a long list of facts to memorize?

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    Jay Hill

    Freelance Writer

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    Published on November 7, 2018

    How to Homeschool in the 21st Century (For All Types of Parents & Kids)

    How to Homeschool in the 21st Century (For All Types of Parents & Kids)

    In 2016, it was estimated that 1.7 million children were being homeschooled in the U.S, roughly 3.3% of all school-aged children.[1] Although this may not sound like a big portion of the population, the growth rate of homeschooling has been 7 to15% per year for the last two decades.

    The burgeoning numbers are not a coincidence. There are tremendous benefits to homeschooling, including one-on-one teaching, adaptability to individual needs and learning styles, a safe learning environment, encouraging learning for knowledge rather than grades, and tailoring a curriculum to the child’s interests.

    Is homeschooling something that you have been considering for your family? With all of the tools and resources available for homeschoolers in the 21st century, it may be easier than you think.

    How to Homeschool (Getting Started)

    After thinking it through, you’ve decided that homeschooling is the right step for you and your family. Now what? Here are the first things you should do to get your homeschooling journey started on the right track.

    Figure Out the Laws

    Homeschooling is regulated by the state, not the federal government. The first step is to find the current and accurate legal requirements mandated by your state in order to educate your child legally.[2]

    The regulations can vary widely, from strict guidelines to no guidelines at all. However, don’t be overwhelmed by the legal jargon. There are many resources and local communities for homeschooling families that can help you figure out the logistics.

    Decide on an Approach

    Every child’s needs are different. This is your chance to choose the homeschooling style or combination of styles that best fits your child’s learning style and interests. A brief description of seven different homeschooling methods are listed below.

    Supplies/Resources

    Often times, purchasing a homeschooling curriculum is done too early in the planning process, resulting in buyer’s remorse.

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    A curriculum is not always needed for homeschooling, and other types of free or less structured resources are readily available.

    Find a Community

    Getting connected with a community of homeschoolers is one of the most important parts of building a successful and thriving homeschool environment for your kids.

    Look for communities online for virtual support or a local group that you and your kids can interact with. Partnering with others fosters better socialization skills for the students and provides opportunities for field trips, classes, and outings that wouldn’t have otherwise been a part of the homeschooling experience.

    7 Different Homeschooling Methods

    1. School-At-Home

    Also known as Traditional homeschool, School-At-Home uses essentially the same curriculum as the local private or public school but at home.

    The lessons can be completed independently, but more commonly, they are administered by a parent or a teacher-facilitated online school.

    • Benefits: formal standards, wide selection of curricula, same pace as peers, short-term friendly
    • Drawbacks: expensive, inflexible, time consuming, parent can get easily burnt out
    • Resources: K12, Time4Learning, Abeka

    2. Classical

    One of the most popular homeschooling methods used, it borrows educational practices from Ancient Greece and Rome. Subject areas are studied chronologically so that students can understand the consequence of ideas over time.

    Socratic dialogue fosters effective discussions and debate to achieve beyond mere comprehension. There is often a strong emphasis on Great Books[3] as well as Greek and Latin.

    3. Unit Studies

    Rather than breaking up education into subjects, unit studies approach each topic as a whole, studying it from the perspective of each subject area.

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    For example, a unit study about animals could include reading books about animals, learning about the classification of animals, figuring out which animals live on which continents, etc. This method is often used as a technique in other more comprehensive educational methodologies.

    • Benefits: promotes thinking about concepts as a whole, not monotonous or redundant, student-directed, bolsters weaker subject areas, beneficial for teaching multi-age students
    • Drawbacks: incomplete, knowledge gaps, curriculum-dependent
    • Resources: Unit Study, Unit Studies, Unit Studies Made Easy, Konos

    4. Charlotte Mason

    This Christian homeschooling style utilizes shorts periods of study (15-20 minute max for elementary, 45 minute max for high school), along with nature walks and history portfolios.

    Students are encouraged to practice observation, memorization, and narration often. With a focus on “living books” (stories with heroes, life lessons, socio-ethical implications), reading plays a big role in this student-paced teaching style.

    5. Montessori

    Maria Montessori developed this method through working with special needs children in the early 20th century.

    With a primary focus on the student setting the pace and indirect instruction from the teacher, this approach includes free movement, large unstructured time blocks (up to 3 hours), multi-grade classes, and individualized learning plans based on interests.

    6. Unschooling

    Unschooling is a learning model largely based on the work of John Holt.[4] The teaching style focuses mainly on the students’ interests, putting priority on experiential, activity-based, and learn as you go approaches.

    For basic skills such as reading, writing, and math, a systematic technique is employed, but testing and evaluations are typically not utilized. Teachers, in general, play more of a facilitator role.

    7. Eclectic/Relaxed

    As the most popular method of homeschool, eclectic homeschooling is child-directed, resourceful, and non-curriculum based.

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    Parents can sample any combination of homeschooling methods and styles or resources. One growing sector of eclectic homeschooling combines part homeschooling with part traditional schooling.

    How to Facilitate Homeschooling with Technology

    One of the reasons homeschooling is more feasible than ever before is due to the accessibility of tools and resources to enhance the learning process.

    Email

    Email is a tool that has really stood the test of time. Invented in 1972, it is still used today as a primary means of communicating on the Internet.

    It is a great way to share assignments, links, and videos between parent and student.

    Google Drive/Calendar

    Google Drive offers a multitude of essential programs that can come in handy for homeschoolers, such as Docs, Sheets, Slides, and more.

    With its sharing capabilities, easy accessibility, and auto-save ability, it’s easier than ever to organize and complete assignments. It will improve students’ writing and typing skills, as well as eliminate the need for paper.

    Google Calendar is an excellent tool for tracking assignment due dates, planning field trips and activities, and developing time management skills.

    Ebooks

    Rather than invest in physical copies of books, ebooks are a wonderful option for saving money and space. There are plenty of places that offer a free or paid subscription to a wide selection of ebooks:

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    E-Courses

    When a structured curriculum is necessary for teaching a certain topic, an e-course is the way to go.

    From watercolors to calculus, there are e-courses available about almost everything. Including different teaching styles that vary from the parents will encourage students to learn in different ways.

    The visual and auditory stimulation will also be beneficial in helping students understand and retain the concepts being taught.

    Some recommendations:

    Youtube

    Youtube is not just a platform for music videos and cats doing funny things. There are a number of Youtube channels that produce quality educational videos, free of charge.

    Creating a playlist of videos for various topics is a great way to supplement a homeschool education.

    Some recommendations:

    Final Thoughts

    Homeschooling in the current age looks much different than it did ten years ago. There are more options and more flexibility when it comes to educating kids at home.

    Don’t be overwhelmed by the idea of homeschooling your children if it could make a positive impact on your family.

    Featured photo credit: Hal Gatewood via unsplash.com

    Reference

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