Posted by Peter on 21st January 2011

Old school methods better for learning?

Two studies recently published in the Science Journal would suggest that a couple of ‘old fashioned’ methods of learning are more effective than many of those used today.

Firstly, a study from the University of Stavanger suggests that writing things down rather than by typing helps with learning. Our brains receive more feedback from muscles and fingertips when writing rather than touching a keyboard. Also, it takes more mental effort and time and this is thought to help ‘imprint’ memories. I must admit to always thinking that recording on paper was a good way to learn and spent much of my time when revising for exams writing down what I knew. This would suggest that writing answers in maths is better done in a maths book, or worksheet than just keying in answers on a keyboard.

The second piece of research, from Purdue University, Indiana, says that reciting facts shortly after learning them is better than many newer educational methods such as mind mapping. Constant informal testing and reciting helps to reconstruct knowledge, both for short term and long term memory.

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