Writer’s Workshop: Post Reflections-Making it Stick

A back alley in Chinatown

A back alley in Chinatown

Learning how the brain absorbs information and put it to use has always fascinated me.  How the neurons  connect with each other and link up the various bits of information so that one can understand is really intriguing.

It’s really amazing how one processes bits of information and make sense out of it. Absorption, analyzing and applying it are the steps that we go through when we learn something.

Sometimes understanding comes to us like a snap of  finger.  It feels great when that occurs as we are able to maximize the knowledge that we just gained. On other occasions, we can try as hard as we can it is still impossible to fathom what is being read.

Most of the time the problem we have is not the understanding part but making it stick. Being unable to recall, forgetting the important parts and having gaps in our learning can make one rather exasperated.

Make it Stick

Make it Stick

Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning by Peter. C Brown, Henry L. Roediger III & Mark A. McDaniel is the latest book that I’ve read.

It’s really interesting as it examines the different learning style and strategies that people have been using throughout the years to learn.

Depending on your learning style there are quite a few tricks that I’ve learned from reading the book.

In general the following techniques should work for most people.

1) Self Quizzing. 
This is done after you have finished reading the book to help yourself remember the important parts of the book.

2) Setting a focus prior to reading. 

I have found that if you set a focus and have questions on hand before reading the text it will make it easier for you to find the answers that you are seeking.  To read blindly without any focus results in you wasting time and you may not be able to grasp the meaning of what you have just read.

3) Use different methods to retrieve the information you have gathered.

If you are an auditory learning it would help that you read aloud to yourself your summary of the passage that you just read.  This will help you internalize the information better and retain it longer in your memory bank.

You can also rely on flashcards to do your reflection if you are a visual learner. By shuffling the flashcards before you read them you are forcing yourself to recall what you have learned and not just the sequence which the cards were displayed.

Spacing out your reflection will also help you retain information better.  One  way would be to review the information 24 hours later, then the same information a week later, 2 months later and then 6 months later to reinforce what you have learned.

Cramming and do not work well as you are trying to stuff too much information into yourself in a short period of time. Re-reading without a purpose also will garner the same result as it doesn’t mean that reading it again you would be able to understand it since you didn’t understand it the first time around.

I’ve personally tried both these methods and they have been ineffective for me and would not recommend them.

What have you learned last month?


Jenny Matlock Mama’s Losin’ It

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