Monday, February 1, 2016

Using Brain Science To Study Smarter, Not Harder

Source: ASIDE 2016

Finding the optimum study technique is the holy grail for educators. Parents and teachers alike are joined in their quest to discover the most effective yet the most efficient process for helping their children learn. Countless conversations in the weekly parent-teacher Twitter chat (#ptchat), one of our favorites, have been dedicated to pinpointing the ideal strategies for evening study.

Source: Benedict Carey

Several peer-reviewed scientific studies have actually conducted real-world experiments to determine which methods are the most successful. The terrific explainer video, "How to study smarter, not harder," offers some surprising findings about what helps children retain information. This animated infographic comes from Benedict Carey's book, How We Learn: The Surprising Truth About When, Where, and Why It Happens (Random House, 2015). An award-winning science reporter, Carey explains the benefits of daydreaming and distraction to amplify learning – both of which are anathema to the conventional thinking about nighttime study.

Source: Benedict Carey

Carey clarifies that the brain is not a muscle. It doesn’t grow simply from hard work. Most educational theorists state that the more studying, the better – the more hours of focus, the deeper the memorization. Brain-based research, though, says the opposite. Consistency is often the enemy of learning. In fact, a control-based study proved that a simple change in venue can yield a measurable increase in the internalization of material.



Parents and teachers owe it to their children to take advantage of scientific findings to aid young people's development. If proven data points to more salient learning techniques, then the skill-and-drill mentality of flashcard homework deserves to be shuttered.

For more ideas about effective learning, check out:

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