Learning and the Brain – What do YOU think?

February 16, 2015 at 2:23 PM Leave a comment

Here are some questions to think about. The next blog post will be what researchers have to say, and what the implications are for classroom best practices, taken from the wonderful “Learning and the Brain” Conference on “Making Lasting Memories: Using Brain Science to Boost Memory” in San Francisco Feb.12-14th 2015.

Which strategies are the most effective for long-term learning? Group by very effective, medium and least effective.

  • Re-reading (reviewing)
  • Highlighting important information
  • Testing yourself regularly
  • Outlining
  • Flashcards
  • Study groups
  • Making mnemonics for key information.
  • Find a way to make the information interesting and relevant to you.
  • ‘Chunk’ information into pictures and ‘puzzle pieces’ that can be linked together, and linked to what you already know.
  • Studying the night before the test (not the morning of).

Which of these are more effective to do well on a test?

  • Study right before the test OR spacing out practice sessions before the test
  • Studying a variety of topics OR studying the same topic until you get it, then the next.
  • Guessing answers and correcting your responses OR studying only the right answers.
  • Feeling like the topic is easy OR struggling a little with the topic
  • Studying just what you need to know OR connecting what you learned to what you already know.
  • Form mental images (analogies) or stories to help remember information OR memorize just the information you need.
  • Imagine walking around a place you know and picking up key words you need OR study the information you need.
  • Take notes by hand OR type into a computer or electronic device.
  • Multi-tasking OR focusing with few distractions
  • Make e-mail titles, key words and twitter posts about the topic OR study the details of the topic.

How do these habits and choices impact learning? Guess and check.

  1. Aerobic exercise
  2. Challenging and meaningful tasks
  3. Gesturing while explaining a concept or idea
  4. Being in nature or having nature photos posted in study area
  5. A non-cluttered classroom or study area
  6. Taking time to daydream and nap while problem-solving or studying.
  7. Give up on a project, then come back to it.
  8. Using a timer for 25 minutes on, 5 minutes break to help with procrastination.
  9. Work on the hardest tasks in the first couple of hours after you get up.
  10. Get enough sleep.
  11. Insert yourself into a concept – ex. imagine yourself as the nucleus of the cell, or a carbon atom in a diamond etc.
  12. Not only follow your passion, but BROADEN your passions.

Which of these help people calm down and do their best on a high-stress test (or other high-pressure performance like a presentation or interview)? True or False?

  1. Worrying about how badly you might do will help you focus. T/F
  2. Re-framing the test as a ‘challenge’ or a ‘game’. T/F
  3. Try a ‘power pose’ for 5 minutes before the test. (See pics of power poses here.) T/F
  4. Journal your worries about the test immediately before the test T/F
  5. Cram at the last minute. T/F
  6. Take a ‘brain break’ every 25 minutes when studying. (A brain break is a few minutes of diffuse focus, doing something relaxing and completely different.) T/F
  7. Start a big project, and work straight through, no matter what. T/F
  8. Study always in the same place T/F
  9. Use many sources of information T/F
  10. Getting instant feedback on your learning T/F
  11. Consciously imagining that you are perfectly capable of doing well on the test, and that you deserve to. T/F
  12. Practice the scary task: by doing regular test practice ahead of time. T/F

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Back to the past in future… Check Guesses about Effective Learning Strategies

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