Resources for North Island College Students Learning in the Digital World
Learning Strategies That Work

Learning Strategies That Work

As you begin the term, take a peek at six learning strategies that work! All six of these strategies have decades of research behind them. They have helped students learn how to learn and given them more ways to better study and learn material. Check them out.

1. Dual Coding

  • Dual coding is a strategy that helps the brain remember by synching images/graphics/pictures with words so you have both visual and written together
  • Find visuals in the materials you are studying
  • Compare the visuals to the words that describe them. Look at the visuals and try to come up with your own words about what they mean
  • Take information want to learn and draw visuals such as infographics, cartoon strip. diagram, charts, timelines, graphic organizers etc.
  • Work your way up to drawing visuals from memory
  • More Info (video, poster, faq, post, and slides)


2. Concrete Examples

  • Concrete examples as a strategy is about finding real-life applications of concepts and content so you can remember them better
  • Collect examples your instructor has used (application, real-life examples) and look through your course materials for as many examples as you can find
  • Make the link between the idea you are studying and each concrete example so that you understand how it applies
  • Share examples with friends and explain to them
  • Make sure you check with your instructor to ensure you are using accurate examples
  • More Info (video, poster, faq, post, and slides)


3. Elaboration

  • Elaboration as a strategy is about digging deep into concepts and content (elaborate) so you fully know it from all directions
  • Ask yourself questions while you are studying and think about the why – and then find the answers in your course materials
  • As you elaborate, make connections between different ideas to explain how they work together
  • Describe how the ideas you are studying apply to your own experiences or memories
  • Work your way up to describing and explaining concepts and content without looking at your class materials
  • More Info (video, poster, faq, post, and slides)


4. Interleaving

  • Interleaving as a strategy is when you are able to switch effortlessly between ideas during a study session to help your brain remember different content and recall it more easily each time
  • Don’t study one course or one topic from a course for too long (e.g., long enough to undertand a topic or concept and move on e.g., 30 – 45 mins)
  • Go back over your studying of the courses or topics in different orders
  • Make links between different ideas as you switch between them
  • Interleaving will feel harder than studying the same thing for a long time. Don’t worry – this helps your brain learn better!
  • More Info (video, poster, faq, post, and slides)


5. Spaced Practice

  • Spaced practice as a strategy is about helping your brain remember by spacing out study sessions over days and weeks recalling information from the beginning, middle and recent classes
  • Start planing early for exams, mid-terms and other assessments (e.g., four hours studying spaced out over a week is better than four hours at one time)
  • Review content and concepts from each class but not immediately after a class has happened (force your brain to remember after a break)
  • As you review information make sure you go back and study older information to keep it fresh and in your brain
  • Don’t just re-read your notes, make sure you are using concrete examples, dual coding and elaboration strategies when you are studying
  • More Info (video, poster, faq, post, and slides)


6. Retrieval Practice

  • Retrieval practice as a strategy is all about fine tuning your brain to remember
  • Put away all of your course materials and sketch or write everything you know about a topic (be as thorough as possible)
  • Check your course materials for accuracy and anything important you missed
  • Take as many practice tests as you can either by creating them with friends or any the instructor provides
  • Make flashcards, Jeopardy game questions, quizzes etc. to test yourself not just on the definitions but also the linking of concepts and ideas
  • Retrieval practice is hard to do! Challenge yourself to get better with it as you work your way up to recalling concepts with all your materials put away
  • More Info (video, poster, faq, post and slides)


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