Is it right after it was taught to us or is it over time, when we are put in a situation and we recall the information that we learned from our memory.
When we learn a new skill, it takes time to develop that skill, we need to practice and work on it – it doesn’t just develop over night. Learning is about a change in behaviour that occurs as a consequence of thinking. It is a reaction, a response, to a situation in which we pull from our long-term memory.
As instructional designers, we need to develop courses in which we are encouraging our learners to think and to store what they are learning in their memory. So how can we go about doing that?
1. Link new information to old information
Usually, when we are engaging in learning a new skill, we already have a basic understanding – we are looking to develop, to improve on that skill. This makes learning new information much easier, as we not only have somewhat of an understanding but it also means that the learner is interested! By linking new information to old information, it will help to speed up the process in which the learner will acquire the new info and help to retain it successfully in their long-term memory.
2. Practice makes perfect!
It is important for learners to be able to apply what they have learned in different situations as this helps to retain the behaviour in the long-term memory. If you link the new information to old information, it will be easier for the learner to access this new information when needed. We say that repetition is keys when learning, however at the same time it can get rather boring.
To make the transfer of knowledge to new problems and situations effective, the practice opportunities need to be diverse, challenging, and authentic.
3. Encourage Deep thinking
To make the new skill more memorable, it is important to get the learner to think about and reflection and the new knowledge they just learned. Deep processing leads to higher level of retention of information.
4. Make learning more effect, have a scaffolding system in place
Think of toddlers – they learn by watching others. Why is this? Because learning is social. Psychologist Lev Semyonovich Vygotsky thought is that one will perform better and more effectively when one interacts with others and received guidance and support from more ‘experienced performers’. His theory is of cognitive development is based on the notion of Zone of Proximal Development. This is potential development that is created when learners are supported by others. The type of scaffold to be used in a learning course depend on the level of knowledge the learners possess. More novice learners require more support and probably more than one scaffolding type to master the new content.
What are some ways that you, yourself, foster deep thinking? As an Instructional Designer, can you incorporate any of those ways into your e-learning design?
Source: eLearning Industry