Better Ways to Learn

    februaryblogpostBetterwaystolearn

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/10/06/better-ways-to-learn/?ref=topics

We all know midterms are coming up after spring break, some of us may have even had midterms already this past week, so when I came across this article, I thought it was appropriate.  This article discusses effective ways to study for exams that allow us to not only retain the information in the long run, but also learn the information, rather than just memorizing it.  This week and last week we’ve been discussing memory and its processing into long-term memory.  Knowing how memory works and ways our memory processes, we are able to use this information in order to learn information better.  The article discusses how in order for us to learn information more effectively, we must study in a way that is effective for us to retain the information for a longer period of time, rather than just for a short period. 

Researchers conducted a study that tests optimal intervals for studying that worked best when learning information.  They concluded that studying in interval levels over a period of time is much more effective than studying for hours for a test the day after.  The researchers also concluded that in order for information to be better retained, one must study the information contextually.  They said that memory gets stronger as the more contexts we use it in.  The researchers also discussed how studying for an exam for hours the night before is not effective because the whole time we are only focusing our brainpower on maintaining concentration rather than using that brainpower focusing on what we have to learn.  Therefore, researchers suggested that studying in intervals and in different environments is an effective way to learn information which we will retain in our memory for the long run, rather than a temporary use.

We all know cramming for tests is not an effective way to learn but rather is only effective for short-term use.  Cramming may help us get through that midterm and maybe even do very well, but long-term use isn’t effective.  The article discusses how cramming doesn’t help us learn and retain information in the long run, rather it just helps us remember information for the day or two after for when we take the test.  With what we have learned in class so far and what the researchers have found in this article, we have a better understanding of how we should study for tests that will enable us to learn the information and remember it in the long run.  As we learned in class, in order for information to enter into long-term memory, we must make meaningful connections to the information.  When studying for tests, it is most effective when we relate the information we are studying to personal contexts that way the information is a form of deeper processing that will allow it for better recall.  As discussed in class, organization is the key to creating connections to the information needed to be remembered.  Therefore, we must organize what we are studying in an effective way for us. 

I thought that this article was very interesting because it integrated what we have learned in class about memory with what was discussed in the article.  In class, we have been discussing ways to effectively study for tests and learn the information we are studying, therefore I thought this article was fairly related and appropriate.  We learn that information is better retained and is easier to recall when we use contextual cues and make connections with our personal lives.  I enjoyed reading this article and being able to make a connection to it with what we have been learning in class. 

The topic, research, and ideas discussed in the article were very intriguing.  As a college student, who occasionally struggles to find an effective way to study, reading this article was very helpful.  I will no longer turn to cramming, even thought it may be tempting at times, because I know it is not an effective way for me to learn information that will still be useful in the long run.  With information from the article and what we have been learning in class about memory, I know that I should study in intervals and make connections with what I am studying with personal things that will help me better retain information that will be used in long term memory.