When I think of becoming a better learner, there are many strategies that I can find extremely useful in the article “Teaching For Long-Term Retention and Transfer.” In this response paper, I will go over three of the principles outlined in the article and discuss how I could apply them to my own strategies, thereby enhancing my level of skill at retaining information and using it in a non-class setting.
The first principle I would like to discuss is number 2, which posits that learning can be better facilitated when the lessons are learned in more varied conditions. While it can take longer at first to do the actual learning, the information is retained for much longer, and it is easier to access. At the same time, the more effort exerted can mean that there is less incentive to do it, because the student is not enjoying it as much. However, with the right teaching method, it could be possible to use varied learning conditions, making students work harder in a way that is not arduous or tedious for them.
The student, however, has a hand in dictating how their education affects them, and so I think I can use this principle to great effect by finding ways to make a more varied learning condition more enjoyable – turning the problems into things that are more relatable to me, or placing them in a subject that I am interested in. The problem will still be solved, but I will have more fun doing it, and will therefore be more inclined to retain the information. I can also switch between different types of questions and subjects as I learn, transferring between different subjects during the learning process. If a test or exam involves essay questions and multiple choice, I will not do all of one and then the other – I will vary the order in which I ingest the information, thereby allowing me to actually learn it.
The next principle I would like to discuss is number 3 – using both verbal and visuospatial learning techniques to teach a specific piece of information. According to the article, a fact is better retained when a method of teaching is used that incorporates both the spoken or written word and visual elements, like a chart or graph. It advises the use of “concept mapping”, something that can be used to help a student organize information in a streamlined way that can help them remember, and give them something visual to record the information on. I believe this principle can be applied in my own learning, as I can attempt to connect each new idea with a visual medium, like a chart or picture. I will take extensive notes and even draw out the concept maps as I see fit, linking certain concepts with others in order to assemble the information in my head.
The third principle I would like to discuss is number 7, which states that lectures, while effective at getting a student to repeat the information, does not help them apply it to a situation that takes place outside the classroom. I believe that this is correct; the method of learning the information is placed strictly in an academic environment, without any frame of reference to the outside world. I can, however, make the most of a lecture environment and attempt to apply the information that I am receiving to any sort of real-life scenario I find myself in – this will give me the tools to understand the information instead of just being able to repeat it without knowing what it means in the greater sense. In my next lecture class, I will take the lesson that the instructor is giving me and think about how that relates to my own life or the career path I hope to pursue.