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If you read our blog even occasionally, you know retrieval practice has many benefits. Retrieval improves learning and memory, reduces test anxiety, and can protect against learning losses associated with stress. Today’s blog post is about another benefit of retrieval practice, reducing processing load.
Compared to older children, preschool children are easily distracted, are poor at predicting how much they will remember, and tend to forget things quickly. Preschool children also do not tend to attempt to adopt effective learning strategies on their own. Given all of this, it is important to understand whether relatively simple strategies, like spacing and retrieval practice, can be implemented in preschool classrooms to help preschool children retain more of what they are learning in school.
Answering questions and receiving feedback can help students learn, but are these tactics equally helpful for all students? Students with higher prior knowledge in a given field might benefit more from such approach than students with lower prior knowledge. Students’ curiosity, rather than their ability to learn, appears to be a key factor to understand why students with more knowledge within a domain can learn better than those with lower prior knowledge. We still don’t know which attribute came first: was this curiosity sparked by the students’ prior knowledge, or was this curiosity the reason why they acquired their prior knowledge in the first place? Notwithstanding, the benefits of providing students with a solid base of knowledge to be used afterwards appears undeniable.
Taking notes by hand seems to be better than taking notes using a laptop because it requires students to put the notes into their own words. However, the research is nuanced! It is important to remember, too, that if laptops are creating distractions learning will suffer.