Simple ways to improve learning

A new article published by the Association for Psychological Science argues that educational outcomes can be improved by helping pupils to better regulate their own learning. The authors discuss ten techniques that might help them to do this. The techniques were selected on the grounds that they should be relatively easy to implement, and the article itself gives a clear review of each technique.

The authors gave two techniques an overall high rating. The first of these was “practice testing”, which is usually self-testing outside the classroom. The second was “distributed practice”, essentially the opposite of “cramming”, where study activities are spread over a single session or across multiple sessions. Some of the techniques with low- or moderate-utility ratings also showed promise, but there was insufficient evidence for a higher rating. The authors looked at all of the available evidence for each technique, and considered how easily the technique could be rolled out in different contexts, issues for implementation, and an overall assessment of its utility – low, moderate, or high.

Source: Improving students learning with effective learning techniques: Promising directions from cognitive and educational psychology (2013), Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 14(458)