4 Strategies of Effective Remembering

We have been talking a lot about gaining new knowledge, completing online education and following future trends. So if you have finally decided to learn something new, then you need to know about this subject and know how learning actually works. Business Insider has prepared 4 learning strategies, described by Henry Roediger and Mark McDaniel, psychologists at Washington University in St. Louis and coauthors of “Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning”, who say that “how we teach and study is largely a mix of theory, lore and intuition”.


Force yourself to recall.

The most interesting part of the learning process is that learning is supposed to be hard. The authors of “Make It Stick” say when learning is difficult, then you’re actually doing your best at learning. This is the same as when you’re lifting weights at your maximum limit in the gym, then you’re getting stronger.

This principle is simple, but it’s not so easy to follow it. For example, you can force yourself to recall a fact. And flashcards will help you in this case, as they force to answer questions using didactic method.

Do not trust the fluency.

When you’re reading something and it seems to be really easy, then what you expect is that you will be able to fluently use, talk about it, or recall it. This can get you in trouble.

For example, you’re visiting the visa center to apply for a visa. You get a number in the queue, let it be 363, and then you look at the monitors, checking all the number and thinking to yourself – Oh, 363, that’s easy to remember. So you throw the ticket that has the number into the trashcan and wait for your number. But 10-15 minutes later you realize that you’re not sure what your number is – 366, 363 or 336.

The alternative: you read and repeat the number. You see it on the ticket, then put it away into your pocket, and ask yourself, What’s the number? If you can recall numerous times that it’s 363, you’re good to go.

Connect the new knowledge with an old one.

The “Make It Stick” authors write that the more you can explain the way your new learning relates to your previous knowledge, the better results you will have. So the more connections you create, then the more it will help you to remember it later.

One helpful technique is to come up with real-life examples of principles you’ve just learnt. For example, if you have just studied some papers about black holes and time warps, then you can checkout some scientific and entertainment movies such as Interstellar.

Reflect, reflect, reflect.

Looking back and reminding old knowledge really helps. According to a Harvard Business School study, employees who worked at a call-center showed 22.8% higher performance than the control group when they spent just 15 minutes reflecting back onto the job tasks at the end of the day.

“When people have the opportunity to reflect, the experience is increased in self-efficacy”, this is according to HBS professor Francesca Gino. They are feeling more confident so they put in more efforts and can achieve better results. While it leads to working less, but it leads to achieving more at the same time.

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