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Although learning is constantly happening in a multitude of settings, this text will focus on how learning can be improved in an educational context. Learning strategies are planned activities that a learner can engage in to learn more deeply and with better retention. Generally, a strategy is a plan of action to achieve a goal, and a learning strategy is a plan to enhance learning. In order for learning strategies to be successfully implemented, the learner must encode information in long-term memory. Encoding refers to the process of converting information in working memory to knowledge in long-term memory [1] Learning strategies can affect how well the learner encodes or constructs new knowledge and subsequently retrieves and uses it. In this chapter we will look at the process of encoding as well as a variety of learning strategies such as rehearsal, mnemonics, and the activation of prior knowledge.


Contents

Encoding ProcessesEdit

We will discuss two key aspects of encoding. Firstly, we will look into the processes from which information is translated into memory, and secondly, the strategies which can be used to aid this process. A portion of information we attempt to learn is automatically encoded; the rest of the information (in order to be learned and stored) involves a conscious effort to transfer the information to the long-term memory. The way in which we remember information, and recall it from our memory, depends greatly on the way it was originally encoded.

Encoding Simple InformationEdit

The information we attempt to learn varies in complexity. Some information is simple (e.g., 'Sandra is 10 years old') while other information is more complex and requires critical thinking to be fully understood (e.g., a newspaper article about a political event). In most cases the complexity of the to-be-learned information will affect how the learner attempts to learn. Not all strategies are suitable for learning all types of information so it is important for the learner to be able to choose the right strategy. In the next section we will discuss strategies which can be used to remember simple information.

RehearsalEdit

The first strategy, which can be applied to simple encoding, is rehearsal. There are several different types of rehearsal, which can be applied to different learning tasks. This concept can be perceived as students attempt to study for a test. Maintenance rehearsal is considered to be a shallow form of processing and is most beneficial in simple tasks such as remembering a phone number, but is generally not sufficient for remembering complex information. [2]. Maintenance rehearsal involves repeatedly focusing on a piece of information in order to keep in short term memory. It is not the most beneficial form of remembering information because during maintenance rehearsal information can be lost easily when the rehearsal process is interrupted. Since the information rehearsed often does not make it into long-term memory storage, the information cannot be recalled later on making it insufficient for encoding complex information. If the information only needs to be remembered in the present moment, maintenance rehearsal is an appropriate tactic but if the information is more complex or needs to be recalled later on, an elaborative rehearsal approach should be taken. Elaborative rehearsal involves relating the to be learned information to other information. Elaborative rehearsal is more successful in the encoding of complex information because it requires the learner to relate the new information to their existing knowledge, which helps build connections and strengthens understanding. Learners who relate new information to prior knowledge are more likely to remember information and be able to retrieve it later on [3]

MnemonicsEdit

Mnemonics are strategies that can be applied when learning unfamiliar concepts; they can increase the probability that unfamiliar information will be encoded. Mnemonics involve pairing unfamiliar concepts with familiar concepts in an attempt to increase the chance a concept will be remembered. It involves recording information into a more easily remembered or more meaningful format. [4] Bruning et. al describes mnemonics as memory strategies that help people remember information by creating more elaborate coding of new information and stronger memory traces [5]Mnemonics can include familiar strategies such as stories, rhymes, and songs; many students have been taught to use mnemonics in their work without even being aware they are engaging in a mnemonic strategy. Common examples of mnemonics we use and learn in society include using the letters BEDMAS to remember the order of operations in completing a math equation, and ROYGBIV to remember the colours of the rainbow. These tactics are called acronyms and if you have ever used these words to cue your memory, you have engaged in a mnemonic strategy to aid the encoding and retrieval of simple information. Other mnemonic techniques, described in the next section, are the keyword method, the pegword method, and acrostics.

Although research suggests that mnemonics are widely used, theorists have questioned their value. A common criticism is that they only encourage rote memorization and do not help with higher order skills such as comprehension or transfer order of skills. [6]There are also varying views about whether mnemonics promote long-term learning. Mnemonics prove to be useful in the memorization of simple information such as fact learning but have contradicting results whether they are useful in higher order learning skills. It is useful to note that mnemonics are purely designed to enhance recall and not facilitate higher order learning so criticisms surrounding their ability to assist in higher order learning my be irrelevant. [7]Mnemonics are designed to assist in remembering unfamiliar concepts and they are especially useful in lower level learning such as fact learning. Lower level learning in turn affects higher order concepts. Higher order learning can only be facilitated if an understanding of basic concepts is previously attained, so it is arguable that mnemonics in fact do affect higher order thinking. It can be argued that mnemonic strategies also promote long-term learning as most people remember the acronym for the colours of the rainbow for the majority or their life. Carney and Levin conducted a study to test the usefulness of mnemonic strategies through tests such as matching, recognizing and comprehension analysis measures. The results showed that the participants who used mnemonic strategies had significantly better results than students who used their own preferred methods.[8] Finally, mnemonics may have some positive non-memory side effects, such as increasing motivation to study. In one study, students reported on a survey that having acronyms on a review sheet made it easier for them to remember course content and made them start studying earlier. Other studies show that students think that some mnemonics are easier, faster, more enjoyable, and more useful than rote rehearsal and that mnemonics can reduce test anxiety. [9]Whether mnemonics strategies can be implemented to assist with long-term learning or learning past rote-memorization or not, they have some clear benefits. The next section will outline some mnemonic strategies, which can be used to aid in memory benefits.

1. The Keyword MethodEdit

The most popular mnemonic method is arguably the keyword method. The keyword method aids in the retention of vocabulary words, and vocabulary words in foreign languages. The keyword method involves localizing a keyword, or similar word to the foreign word in order to simplify it. Seeing the word associated word activates the unfamiliar word and primes the formation of an image in a learner’s mind. The technique involves the learner focusing on a native language keyword that sounds similar to the to-be-learned word. For example, if the to-be-learned word is the Spanish word carta, the English-speaking learner could use the keyword cart and then construct a meaningful interaction between the keyword and the definition. The keyword method can be implemented by generating a sentence to link the keyword with the to-be-learned word, or by using an illustration or a visual image. [10] Some criticisms suggest that the keyword method might not be useful when there is not an obvious keyword [11]. On the other hand, it has been demonstrated in a study that two or three hours of training with the keyword method can lead to a 70% increase in recall with German language vocabulary; as a whole, it appears that the keyword method is very beneficial. [12]

2. The PegWord MethodEdit

In the pegword method, a list of concrete objects in a specific order is learned, and then visual imagery combines the to be remembered items with the peg items. Items can be retrieved by thinking of a number corresponding to a specific peg; the number can then cue the target item. An example of a way to implement the pegword method is to use words that sound like the corresponding number. One might be bun, two could be blue ect. [13] By associating information with each peg word in order, the to be learned information can be recalled later in the order of the pegs. An additional strategy of the pegword method involves correlating each letter of the alphabet with a number and using this coing system as a memory cue. [14]

3. AcronymsEdit

Acronyms are a popular mnemonic strategy involving the first letters of a to be learned words list; the first letters of each word in the set are taken and put together to form a new word – called an acronym. For example, a commonly used acronym is remembering the colours of the rainbow as ROYGBIV. Each letter serves as a retrieval cue for the target items.

4. AcrosticsEdit

Acrostics are similar to acronyms but involve using a sentence to help remember a segment of letters rather than the other way around. The first letters of a list of words serve as the first letter in a new sentence or phrase. A commonly used acrostic is using the sentence “every good boy deserves fudge” to remember the lines of the treble clef. (E, G, B, D, F) (3)

Mnemonics DiscussionEdit

Despite some criticism surrounding the usefulness of mnemonics, they appear to be beneficial when applied the correct way. Mnemonics can be applied to help remember difficult concepts, but they should not be used in replace of primary study tactics. Mnemonics are not to be implemented to help overall learning or to enhance comprehension, but strategies to aid the recall of new or difficult information. Research shows that students, including secondary and college level, remember two to three times as much factual information, maintain information over delayed recall periods, and enjoy using them. [15]In addition, the use of mnemonics with college age students might have enough potential for making learning easier and possibly more fun. Specific strategies for encoding can help in the retention of information and can possible lead to more successful comprehension. In order to encode a level of deep processing should be attained which will be discussed in the next section.

Encoding More Complex InformationEdit

Elaborative encoding uses known information and relates it to the new information being experienced. The nature of a new memory becomes dependent as much on previous information as it does on the new information. Studies have shown that the long-term retention of information is greatly improved through the use of elaborative encoding.[16]

Levels of Processing and Semantic EncodingEdit

Craik and Lockhart’s popular levels of deep processing theory suggest that the level to which an item is cognitively processed largely affects its memorability. [17]Their theory suggest that memory traces could be seen as records of analyses carried out for the purposes of perception and comprehension, and that deeper, more semantic, processing result in more durable traces. [18] Semantic encoding refers to encoding the meaning of a concept and can lead to a deeper level of understanding and a higher chance of successful encoding. Typically, items encoded using semantic operations are better remembered in a subsequent memory test than items encoded using shallow operations at any level of depth. [19] On the one hand if semantic base or meaning of the new information is the focus of processing, then the information will be stored in a semantic memory code and will be well remembered. On the other hand, if only superficial or surface aspects of the new information are analyzed, the information will be less well remembered and not deeply encoded. [20]In Craik and Lockhart’s terms, memory depends on depth or processing. A typical observation in experimental as well as everyday life settings is that if we learn an item using semantic or operations, such as attending to its meaning, memory will be better than if we learn the same item using more “shallow” operations, such as attending to its structural features. [21]Deep processing is seen as that processing centered on meaning. Shallow processing refers to keying on superficial aspects of new material. An example of a shallow processing technique is highlighting words in a passage whereas reading a passage and putting it into your own words would be practicing deep processing. Putting an essay into one's own words requires thinking about the meaning of the content and carefully analyzing and comprehending the material. In general, theorists agree that deep encoding results in more elaborate memory traces, and that this in turn affects later memorability. [22]

Activating Prior KnowledgeEdit

Prior Knowledge includes the pre-existing knowledge a student possesses surrounding a particular topic. A base of prior knowledge is beneficial for successful learning because prior knowledge facilitates encoding and guides what students recall from new information. Van Blankenstein et al. reported that students who activated prior knowledge before self-study were able to recall more information after the study session was completed compared to students who did not activate prior knowledge.[23] The activation of Prior knowledge includes various methods which are designed to stimulate student’s relevant knowledge in preparation for a new learning activity. [24] The activation of prior knowledge allows students to engage in the material by relating the to-be-learned information to information they are already familiar with which allows them to make inferences and connections. Students who active prior knowledge before engaging in learning encode more information than students who activate irrelevant knowledge showing that the activation of prior knowledge improves recall of information [25] Prior knowledge is a simple and effective learning strategy because it involves any teaching procedure that helps students relate what they already to know what they are to learn. The knowledge activation can take place in the form of group discussions, experiments, review sessions or personal reflections making is a convenient and effective learning strategy. The activation of prior knowledge is successful for the learner because relating information to personal experiences heightens the possibility that the information will be remembered. Information is more likely to be elaborated or recalled in the future if the learner has made a connection to it, rather than if the learner has no previous information or understanding. Students at any age are able to engage in prior learning which makes it beneficial to the encoding and retrieval of information.

Retrieval ProcessesEdit

Retrieval processes are the means by which memories are recalled from long-term memory.

RetrievalEdit

The process of retrieval is a complex but essential process, which involves converting memories into conscious experience.[26] Many concepts can affect the efficiency of retrieval such as the environment present at the time of retrieval and the learner’s study tactics. For example, whether the learner studied information for recognition or recall plays a large part in how well information is remembered. Empirical evidence suggests that students who expect recall tests which are primarily essay based focus on the organization of information. On the other hand, students who anticipate multiple choice recognition tests focus on separating concepts from one another. [27] A theory which can improve a students retrieval efficiency is Roediger et. al’s testing effect. The testing effect involves using tests related to material being studied to attempt to improve overall learning for a final test.[28] A study conducted on the benefits of retrieval practice, or the testing effect examined whether the benefits of retrieval practice could transfer to deductive inferences. The results showed that the testing condition produced better final-test recall of the content but multiple choice recognition questions showed no enhancement from the application of the testing effect. [29] Most teaching occurs through direct instruction and tests are only implemented to measure progress and determine grades. The testing effect shows that tests can be used as a learning strategy to improve encoding and retrieval of information.

KWL Comprehension StrategyEdit

The Know-Want-Learn (KWL) strategy was first formed by Donna Ogle in 1986. Ogle first put the program together as a way of helping teachers make learning a more student guided process. The KWL was originally made to be used to increase reading comprehension, but has since been found to be helpful in many areas of study [30].

The KWL relies on constructivist theories of information activation and recall. The different steps of the strategy (Know, Want, Learned) activate students prior knowledge, help students recognize their current schemas, and links newly learned information with old, solidifying and strengthening this information. The KWL relies on students constructing their own meanings of what they know [31], and teaches them to be more interactive in their learning experience. The KWL also teaches students to recognize what they don’t know about a topic, which is a beneficial skill for learning. Through the steps of identifying what they know, what they want to learn, and what they have learned, the KWL teaches students how to be active and take charge of their own learning.

Know-Want-Learn ChartEdit

 

The KWL strategy is often represented in the form of a KWL chart. This tool is implemented and used in instruction in the form of a three step procedure:

1. “What do I know?”

The first procedure in the KWL is the “Know” phase. Before new information is brought into the classroom, students are asked to recall what they already know about a specific subject. This step is a collaborative one between the teacher and the student, in which the students brainstorm information about what they know as a group, and the teacher records this information in the first section of the chart [32]. The teacher’s role in this portion of the strategy is not to correct students if what they believe they know about a subject is wrong, but rather to guide the brainstorm and stimulate thinking. This portion of the procedure works to activate the prior knowledge and any previous schemas students may have.

After what the students know has been recorded in the chart, they are then asked if they can organize this information into logical categories. This step works to chunk information and link ideas together. Once students learn to make information categories, this skill can be applied to all areas, aiding in their formation of schemas and reading comprehension [33].

2. “What do I want to learn?”

The second procedure in the KWL is the “Want” phase. After prior knowledge is activated, and what students already believe they know about a subject is recorded in the first section of the chart, students are then asked what they want to learn about a subject. This step furthers the brainstorming process because it requires learners to think deeper about what they know, recognize what they don’t, and identify what interests them. Asking what students want to learn also acts as a way to get learners personally involved in the process. This step functions to inspire students, and spark their interest in the subject.

3. “What have I learned?”

The last step in the KWL procedure is the “Learned” phase. After the new information is presented, students are asked to think about they have learned during the lesson. This step requires students to reflect and think about the new information they have been presented with. It is in this step, when the new information that was learned is recorded in the final column of the chart, that any previous incorrect knowledge that may be contradicted by the new, is recognized and corrected by the students. By presenting all of the information visually, students are able to see and link new concepts with their prior knowledge, which aids in deepening their understanding of what they have just learned.

The KWL strategy has been found to be effective and helpful in all grades and subjects [34]. The strategy is easily adjustable to fit multiple age groups, and works effectively to reinforce new information with old. Longer, more demanding lessons can be divided and reflected upon in smaller chunks to minimize cognitive load and difficulty.

Research and FeedbackEdit

Although the KWL strategy was originally formatted as a learning comprehension tool, researchers have found the KWL approach to be beneficial to learning and comprehension in several different areas of study. After implementing KWL, increased academic achievement has been reported in areas of learning such as reading, math, science, language, and the development of metacognitive skills [35].

When testing grade 6 math students in a research study, the data found that students who had undergone mathematic instruction with the KWL format delivered test scores with a statistically significant increase. This application of the KWL strategy resulted in increasing the academic achievement in the participants [36].

Teachers report positive effects when the KWL method is incorporated into their lesson plan. Teacher reports also include receiving notably positive feedback from the students who receive this tool [37]. Primary research continues to support the KWL as a learning comprehension strategy, and reports that it outperforms many other comprehension tools and it continues to be preferred by learners [38].

READSEdit

READS for summer learning is a literacy reform program with the intention of enhancing child literacy. It is currently being run by the Project for Scaling Effective Literacy Reforms leader: James S. Kim, who is an Associate Professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

READS addresses the problem of the literacy gap that children, especially those from lower-income families, obtain over the summer period while they are not in school [39]. READS works to minimize the development of this gap by encouraging and providing children with the opportunity to read over their summer break. READS works to motivate kids to continue reading, and therefore keep up their literacy comprehension, through the work of goals and prizes [40]. Another key component to the READS program is the involvement of parents. READS provides lessons to teach and encourage parents how to successfully scaffold their child’s summer literacy journey so that positive progress is made during the program [41]. READS also relies on teachers and other mentors to provide assistance and literary intervention when they are needed.

READS Summer ProgramEdit

Lessons

Prior to the summer program, children are provided with lessons on reading comprehension from a READS professional teacher. In these lessons, children learn how to understand what they are reading, and also how to find deeper meanings in what they are read. These skills are crucial for academic success. Children also establish a comprehension routine with their teacher, which they can implement over the summer.

Motivation

One of the ways READS tackles the issues of literacy among children is by addressing and inspiring the children's motivation. READS works to teach children how to have a positive relationship with books. One of the first, and important ways that children are motivated to read through the READS program is that their immediate access to books is greatly increased [42]. Children are provided with further reason to be motivated for reading during the summer when they are matched by professionals with books that are of their reading level and of their interest [43]. Supplying kids with books that are topics of interest provides intrinsic motivation, or personal motivation that comes from within, to continue their reading[44]. This also prevents kids from choosing books that are too easy or not the right fit for a literacy comprehension program [45].

The extrinsic motivation, or outside external motivation, to keep up with their summer reading is prizes. READS sends the participants 10 books to read over the summer, along with comprehension exercises to complete after the books are read. After the exercises have been filled out, they can be sent in for prizes. This works to both motivate the children to read, as well as work on practicing their comprehension skills[46].

Scaffolding

Family and teacher support is a big component of READS. Teachers help the children learn comprehension skills and routines, and parents provide their children with motivation and support throughout the summer to continue with the program. Parents are provided with scaffolding tips so that they can successfully play a role in their child’s literacy efforts. Encouraging children to read, asking about the comprehension checks, engaging in conversation about the books, and sending the booklets back for prizes, are some of the ways in which the READS program teaches parents how to encourage their child [47].

Support and Research FindingsEdit

While the READS program claims to have found positive effects from their programs, the efficacy of these types of programs is still up for debate. Research findings for increasing reading comprehension through summer programs has been controversial. Some research has found no difference between children who do voluntary reading, and later reading comprehension performance. Research studies have however, found a positive results from children who read and are provided scaffolding by teachers and parents, versus those who do not receive any support[48]. Other research studies have found a positive correlation between children who read during the summer, and their test scores in the fall. Increased access to books and other reading material has also been found to lead to positive reading outcomes for children [49].

HighlightingEdit

 
text highlighting

Highlighting text is one of the most common study strategies used by students. Highlighting involves selecting important text in a passage and marking it for later reference. Most of the time, when students use highlighting as a learning tactic, it is with the purpose to helping them with their future studying, when they intend to come back to the material at a later date[50].

When used appropriately, each step in the highlighting strategy can engage meaningful processing of text. Reading the text, activating prior knowledge, selecting important information out of the text, linking this information to prior knowledge and the previously read text, and constructing a representation of the text meaning all work to help better store and recall the information back later [51]. Each of these steps work to strengthen the encoding process, so that this information is more likely to be processed further in the working memory. Marking parts of sentences, or individual words, is a good way to keep the student’s focus on the information that is important.

There are many different theories as to why highlighting may be beneficial to learning. The cognitive processes that are used and required when deciding which of the text should be marked amongst the text that shouldn’t, could possibly result in students thinking harder about the material and using thinking strategies when evaluating it, which leads to deeper processing of the text meaning, versus just regular reading[52]. Actively choosing which text to mark, and which meanings are important in the information they are studying changes the way the student reads and re-reads the text, which can lead to it seeming more important, and therefore more memorable [53].

Research Findings and OpinionsEdit

While there are many hypothesis as to why the cognitive processes involved in highlighting may be beneficial to learning, research studies have shown conflicting results as to whether or not highlighting itself is helpful. Many studies have shown beneficial results from highlighting, while others have not [54].

One research study compared participants who read highlighted information with participants who read non highlighted information. The study found that the participants with highlighted information were better able to recall the information that was highlighted, as well as the information that was not highlighted, over the participants who had plain text. This finding was even stronger when participants read over the text two or more times without delay. These findings suggest that combining highlighting with rereading may aid student’s recall ability [55].

One of the research views opposing the helpfulness of highlighting argues that students do not know how to highlight information correctly, and that is why it is not beneficial to them. Because students do not know how to properly focus their attention on the text long enough to decipher what information is useful and the most meaningful, they end up highlighting information that they believe is important, but is actually not relevant [56]. This draws student’s attention away from the important information, and acts more as a distraction, adding onto their cognitive load. Also, because students may be reading the information wrong and focusing on the incorrect parts, deeper processing is not possible and does not occur in a beneficial way [57].

Another view opposing the highlighting process states that highlighting may actually be a placebo effect[58]. In other words, students may believe highlighters are effective simply because they have always relied on them. This false belief can backfire when students become over confident and comfortable with highlighting, and don’t give the process much thought. Students that are overconfident in their use of highlighting may also assume that they already know the information when they reread it, which can cause them to skim, resulting in a loss of deeper processing[59].

ApplicationEdit

Learning to highlight text properly requires high levels of reading comprehension, as well as other cognitive abilities such as problem solving techniques and critical thinking. Students must learn to identify what concepts are important, relevant and appropriate to the information they are learning. The process of highlighting a text should pose some difficulty to students in order to be beneficial, because by focusing your attention and thinking hard about what is important, you strengthen your chances of deeper encoding of the text meaning[60].

Five simple steps for approaching highlighting are: (1) familiarizing yourself with the general topic of the text, (2) reading each paragraph slowly and carefully, (3) identifying and marking the main points, (4) revising your understanding of the text based on the information you found, and (5) applying this information to memory[61].

Concept MappingEdit

 
Venn diagram

A concept map is a method in which concepts can be organized, linked, and visually displayed. A concept map, more commonly referred to as a diagram, represents the relationships between concepts. Some more common forms of concept maps are Venn diagrams, tree diagrams, flow charts, and context diagram. Concept maps can be used and adapted to fit many different subjects of learning.

Concept maps are a useful tool for learning because they enable the student to visualize how concepts interact with each other, and what their relationships are. This enables students to encode the meanings of the concepts more deeply, and with better understanding[62].

When a student goes through the process of making a concept map and they consider the possible relationship between concepts, their prior knowledge and schemas are activated. The building of a concept map also works to add to new information to student’s knowledge, by visually representing new ideas, and asking students to think critically and find logical relationships between ideas. These two work together, linking new ideas to old schemas, to reinforce learning and strengthen encoding [63].

Concept maps require students to think deeply about the information they are learning, in order to identify the main points [64]. By building a concept map, students learn how to represent what they know, and how to organize information in a logical, sense making way.

Research FindingsEdit

Research studies show that the use of concept maps help students learn how to organize information, enhance their academic performance, and increase their knowledge retention abilities[65]. This is because the process of forming a concept map relies on encoding strengthening procedures such as deep thinking, organizing, and relating old information to new.

One study compared the retrieval effectiveness of information practiced in either concept maps or in paragraph form. As a retrieval activity, both formats gave similar results in the study, meaning that concept maps are just as effective as paragraph retrieval. Worth noting, in the study, researchers reported that the participants preferred the paragraph retrieval format.

Use of Concept MapsEdit

There are many different ways that concept maps can be used academically. Students can personally make concept maps while they are learning. This would help students in their learning process. By being able to identify the key components and how they relate to each other, students would be able to grasp a deeper understanding right away.

Concept maps could also be used after students have learned. Having students fill in a blank diagram could be a way in which class understanding and comprehension of new ideas are tested and measured. Students could also use concept maps as a method of studying, as recall practice for what they need to know.

Lastly, concept maps can be used by instructors as a teaching aid. Diagrams and visual representation of new ideas are useful tools that could help teachers in communicating and clarifying information to students. Concept maps may be used most effectively of all by educators, because they have a clear understanding of the information they are trying to deliver [66].

Classroom Contexts/StrategiesEdit

This chapter will describe the ways in which you teach and the ways that your students perceive their learning environment help to affect their cognitive development as they grow. This includes the type of teaching style that you execute and how the students see you as your role as a teacher. How the classroom is built for students to develop academically and emotionally will also be a factor in this chapter. Relationships between students and teachers will be analyzed to determine the impact they have on learners.

Interactions in the ClassroomEdit

The relationships between teachers and students, and students and students are vital to the success of a classroom and its ability to foster a supportive learning environment. A study completed in Greece by Poulou (2014) [67]focused on student behaviours, emotions and attitudes in relation to teacher-student interactions. It heavily emphasizes the importance of Brofenbrenner’s model describing the influences of our peers and adult figures. Not only does it look at teacher-student relationships, it takes into consideration student social skills and classroom context to see its influence on student behaviours and attitudes.

Discussions between students which are also facilitated by teachers are strongly supported by a study done by Danish & Saleh (2015). It shows that while student to student dialogue is advantageous, it is much more effective if there is a teacher who consistently provides support, which in this case, is context clues, for the students to continually develop their ideas.

Self-Regulated LearningEdit

Theory Self-regulated learning is a technique used in classrooms in which students are given freedom to control the pace at which they work and to evaluate their understanding of the material. They use this understanding to make judgements on their progress and to decide whether or not they will move their studies forward. In turn, this allows them to create and maintain their own learning goals and the strategies they will use to fulfill these goals. It involves metacognitive awareness in that they are aware of their own learning, such that they are able to make the aforementioned decisions as necessary. Motivation also plays a major role as it requires an individual to work independently, determining their own intrinsic or extrinsic motivations.

Research Although self-regulated learning is widely popular with educators, it is debated whether or not it is effective for all students. For that reason, this strategy in the classroom is looked at in a study done by Nelson (2015)[35] in which a variety of high school students studying history in a suburban upper mid-west neighborhood report motivation and self-regulation. Different groups of students with skill levels ranging from AP students to students in regular courses are observed as self-regulating techniques are applied and removed. It finds that those who are in AP courses are more highly motivated if they use self-regulatory techniques, whereas students in normal classes quickly become disinterested if they are in control of their learning. However, this article also mentions findings conclusive from another study by Cleary and Chen where self-regulated learning was more effective for students in regular classrooms than for those in AP classrooms. Because this study was based on math rather than world literature, it could be considered that self-regulated learning is important for all learners and that the effectiveness of self-regulated learning varies by subject.

Self-explanationEdit

Theory Similarly, self-explanation is another useful independent strategy where students verbalize their thoughts to facilitate clearer, conscious, and more organized understanding. For instance, if a student were to tackle a math problem using the self-explaining technique, they would work through the problem explaining each step, what they are going to do to solve each step, and why they did it. If they find that they are not able to explain why they did it, they might go back and look for an explanation from another source. In the same way that we are able to learn by teaching others, self-explanation works because you are working to break down the material to your own understanding to teach yourself.

Research For further understanding, an article by Roy & Chi[68] differentiates between high quality self-explanations and low quality self-explanations. The former describes students who have shown a more critical understanding of the material by being able to demonstrate reflections of their learning through assumptions, comments and integrated statements. The latter describes students who simply restate what they’ve read. Being able to recognize the two is important because those who participate in high-quality self-explanations are not only able to produce better post-test results, but are also more likely to be good students as opposed to poor students (these students were tested prior and classified according to their scores). Roy & Chi also looked at another study that shows four different types of self-explanation- two that are successful and two that are unsuccessful. Principle-based explainers can connect what they learn to the principles of the topic and anticipative explainers make predictions prior to reading and connect it to relevant material from the past. Most learners in the study fall into the unsuccessful type category, which includes passive explainers and shallow explainers. They concluded that learners vary in their abilities to self-explain, and these variations can predictively estimate the quality of the results a learner produces.

Application Wylie and Chi[69] describe different forms of self-explanation that can be categorized by placing them under one or more of the utilized methods. One of the methods used included open ended methods, the first being one in which students are asked to further connect and ensure understanding of the material by relating it to prior knowledge and explaining what they just read aloud. Another similar open ended method used computers for students to express their understanding of the material rather than vocalizing it. On the other end of the spectrum were some less open ended methods that required students to pick their explanation of why they answered incorrectly off a multiple choice list. Both extremes have advantages and disadvantages, with open ended methods being too unrestrictive yet allowing students to freely assess themselves, which can allow new and different ideas. On the other hand, menu type methods can be too restrictive, but eliminate the irrelevant or incorrect explanations students can make.

Scaffolding InstructionEdit

Scaffolding learning is another classroom technique that is very popular with educators. It involves a step by step process in which the educator continually provides support for individual students as they progress in their understanding of the topic. The teacher works around the pace of the students to further their knowledge development. There are implications to this, which includes the lack of time and far too large classroom sizes for this to be a feasible task. With that said, given enough time and small enough classroom sizes, providing scaffolding instruction could yield extremely effective learning outcomes.

In an article by Kabat-Zinn (2015) [70], he discusses the downfalls of scaffolding. While scaffolding, in the moment, can be a great way to support students, it may become detrimental eventually as students may become dependent on the support they have received thus far. In other cases, scaffolding instruction does not carry the burden of leaving a sense of dependency. In a study done by Ukrainetz (2015)[71], students who struggled with reading comprehension participated in a text comprehension program in which they were given practical and explicit strategies to improve their skills. It discusses ways in which students successfully transition from being supported by their speech language pathologists to being supported by their own knowledge.

StudyingEdit

There are many types of studying strategies that are taught to students- although often times, students tend not to use strategies at all. In this chapter, different strategies will be looked at along with the population they work best with. It will analyze and study students as individual groups in relation to the study techniques they use. Motivation and social support from peers and adults including teachers, tutors and parents will also be seen as a factor in the effectiveness of various study techniques. We will look at studying in relation to individual groups rather than studying as a whole. Additionally, study techniques can be broken up and categorized according to different subjects and different forms of testing.


Peer TutoringEdit

Theory

Peer tutoring is a method of learning in which classmates teach and learn from each other through one-on-one direct instruction. Many schools, particularly secondary schools, have implemented this strategy as whole classes. Its intentions are directed at students to be able to process material deeply enough to be able to teach it, and for tutees to be able to learn in an environment without pressure. Typically, tutors are better performing students, likely those who have previously taken the class that they are tutoring. Some of the challenges of peer tutoring, as stated in an article by Mynard & Almarzouqi[72] include the fact that students, especially those in high school, may not necessarily get along and thus coordination of all the students becomes difficult. Additionally, there are no guarantees that tutors and tutees will consistently show up for class. There is also a fear among professional educators that students don’t possess adequate information or ability to effectively teach another one of their peers.

Research One study by Korner & Hopf[73] looked specifically at cross-age peer tutoring in physics, in which the tutors were in grade 8 and the tutees were in grade 5. Using a pre-test post-test design, they had three main groups in which each consisted of tutors, tutees or tutors and tutees, and two mentoring groups that would guide them through the material prior to tutoring. Results saw that no matter which group was tutoring which, all groups showed positive effects on tutors, mentors and tutees, particularly when the students took part in the active role of tutoring. In their review of literature, they also consider past studies where “They emphasized positive effects concerning students’ achievements, attitudes toward the subject matter, and self-concepts not only for the tutoring students, but for the tutees as well[74].” Peer tutoring increased a variety of interpersonal skills such as teamwork and taking on a leadership role. In the same way, another study found that peer tutoring benefitted vulnerable minority students who came from low income and/or poor socioeconomic families more so than if they were to adhere to traditional means of teaching. The difference is that peer tutors and tutees are able to form relationships that students and teachers cannot. The impact, given that the system is organized, structured and clearly understood, is most likely to be positive on both tutor and tutee’s sense of academic achievement and self-efficacy.


Application

Being a fairly new method of learning, peer tutoring is still somewhat in its initial stages of development. School systems vary among a variety of factors including different levels of schooling, private and public schools, different countries, and so forth. For this reason, there are a variety of ways peer tutoring can be implemented in classrooms.

An article by Ayvazo & Aljideff[75] discusses Classwide peer tutoring (CWPT) and its structure in inner-city elementary and secondary schools. The first step in CWPT is to train the tutors. Teachers first instruct the tutors in their expertise, and the tutors are to then practice tutoring what they have learned. As this is happening, teachers will move from student to student, assessing them and providing critique to allow students to correct themselves. Next, they are given a performance record sheet to check off the skills that they have done well, and cross off the skills they need to continue to work on. Throughout this, students continue to learn lessons about interpersonal growth, such as how to appropriately receive and give feedback to their peers. Following this, students become ready to undertake their roles as they take on being both the tutee and tutor. This turn taking is advantageous because it allows the students to reap benefits from both roles, as they also learn to become better learners and teachers. It also eliminates feelings of inferiority or superiority, as all students are given the opportunity to teach each other, rather than deeming some students more qualified than others to teach.

In universities, a study by Brandt & Dimmit[76] utilizes writing centers at school to be a setting for peer tutors who are separated by their specific studies. Tutors go through a screening process in which they must complete a number of specific, selected courses, have at least a 3.5 GPA., and fulfillment of other criteria stated by the university. As tutors, they are taught to teach by scaffolding the learners, rather than straightforward direction. They teach a student-centered approach and encourage tutors to understand why these methodologies are used. The methods used at these writing centers seemed to be well organized in terms of their hired tutors and study formats. The beliefs that the writing centers had to ensure that tutors were genuine in their use of student-centered approaches greatly facilitated the success to this program. A peer tutoring system does not simply work when it’s implemented; it must be planned thoroughly and made clear to all participants what its intentions are. The effects of this peer tutoring method depended on approach and clear guidelines being followed.

It’s apparent that peer tutoring techniques fare especially well in schools with at-risk students, for it allows these students to work with peers whom they most likely have more valuable and meaningful relationships with. Additionally, for antisocial students, it creates a starting point of interaction- which can often times be the most difficult part of making friends. Given that an effective method of peer tutoring is used, it is unlikely that it will have a negative effect on students and likely that it will create a positive impact on students’ self-confidence, academic achievement, peer relationships, and interpersonal skills.

Note Taking, Summarizing, and RereadingEdit

Theory Because strategies while studying are dependent on the motivation and effort of an individual, rather than their peers and teachers, they play a major role in the development and academic achievement of a student. Habits and perceptions on studying that students pick up in their younger years are likely to carry on throughout their lives. The effects of note taking can differ as it can occur during lectures or while reading. Similarly, summarizing material may have different outcomes, dependent on whether you are recalling material or directly referring to the material as you summarize. The effectiveness of these strategies, including note taking, summarizing, rereading and highlighting, depends on a number of different factors, some of which will be looked at as we analyze the literature.

Research A study by Dyer & Ryley[77] looks at the effects of note taking, summarizing, and rereading individually and collaboratively as study strategies. Each student is given an envelope with instructions along with a passage, telling them that they are to do a random combination of taking notes, reading, summarizing, and/or doing an unrelated task. Students who were able to spend more time reviewing and studying the passage through note taking or rereading had better post-test results than those who summarized the material by recall without reference to the material. On the other hand, those who did an unrelated task after reading had the lowest performance scores. A meta-analysis by Ludas (1980) focused on the accumulated studies on note taking and the effect it has on recalling information. Previous studies have shown note taking to be either positive, or having no difference, but never negative in results. Note taking is optimal in suitable environments, such as lectures that are slower-paced, as opposed to note taking during videos. During quick-paced lectures, one might simply write exactly what they hear, rather than thinking about what they’re writing. Time is also a factor when looking at the efficiency of note taking- in that 15 minutes is the proximal time for one to effectively listen and take notes that are remembered.


Application Note taking, summarizing and re-reading are strategies many students use as they are often the first things taught about studying. They are very much self-explanatory, although it is important to mention the impact that technology has on these strategies, as they can all be done on laptops, computers and tablets. All in all, it is evident that activities that allow more review of the material taught result in better sustainment of what is learned. Note taking requires rereading and comprehending text in order to understand what we are reading in our own words, thus it requires constant review. Note taking in lectures provides students material that is written to their understanding to review, given that the class provides an optimal environment for note taking.

GlossaryEdit

Learning strategies: tactics, which the learner can apply to material in order to remember it more efficiently

Encoding: the process of transferring information from short- term memory for storage in the long-term memory of the learner

Retrieval: the process of re-accessing information once it has been encoded in the brain

Maintenance rehearsal: Information is repeatedly rehearsed in order to keep it active in short-term memory

Elaborative rehearsal: Relating the to be learned information to other information

Mnemonics: Study tactics, which aid learners in the retention and retrieval of information

The Keyword method: A two- stage procedure for remembering materials that have an associative component

Prior Knowledge: The pre-existing knowledge a student possesses surrounding a particular topic


Zone of Proximal Development The time in which students are most likely and able to learn material and as they move further from this time, it will become harder to learn


Scaffolding A process first put forward by Lev Vygotsky, in which learners are supported step by step at their own pace to reach their learning goals

Self-Regulated Learning Learning that gives the learner freedom to control their own pace

Motivation Behaviours and thoughts that drive individuals to perform

Intrinsic Motivation A drive to complete a task based on personal interest or belief

Extrinsic Motivation A drive to complete a task based on outside factors such as prizes and rewards

Recommended ReadingsEdit

The self-explanation principle in multimedia learning.

Wylie, R., & Chi, M. H. (2014). The self-explanation principle in multimedia learning. In R. E. Mayer, R. E. Mayer (Eds.) , The Cambridge handbook of multimedia learning (2nd ed.) (pp. 413-432). New York, NY, US: Cambridge University Press. doi:10.1017/CBO9781139547369.021 Siegler

The effects on students' emotional and behavioural difficulties of teacher-student interactions, students' social skills and classroom context.

Poulou, M. (2014). The effects on students' emotional and behavioural difficulties of teacher-student interactions, students' social skills and classroom context. Br Educ Res J British Educational Research Journal, Vol 40(6), 986-1004. http://dx.doi.org.proxy.lib.sfu.ca/10.1002/berj.3131

Mayer, R. E. (1980). Elaboration techniques that increase the meaningfulness of technical text: An experimental test of the learning strategy hypothesis. Journal Of Educational Psychology, 72(6), 770-784. doi:10.1037/0022-0663.72.6.770

K-W-L: A teaching model that develops active reading of expository text.

Ogle, D. (1986) K-W-L: A teaching model that develops active reading of expository text. Reading Teacher, 39(6), 564-570. http://dx.doi.org.proxy.lib.sfu.ca/10.1598/RT.39.6.11

Scaffolding Voluntary Summer Reading for Children in Grades 3 to 5: An Experimental Study.

Kim, J. S., & White, T. G. (2008). Scaffolding Voluntary Summer Reading for Children in Grades 3 to 5: An Experimental Study. Scientific Studies of Reading, Scientific Studies of Reading, 12(1), 1-23.

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