Tooled Up Education

What is the science behind effective learning?

A large body of research has highlighted some straightforward ways of  enhancing learning, but these effective strategies are underutilised by students. In a recent paper, our Researcher of the Month, Professor Shana Carpenter, and her co-authors, reviewed key findings on two learning strategies that are known to be effective, but which are underused: spacing and retrieval practice. They found that underuse of these strategies could stem from false beliefs about learning, a general lack of awareness, or their counter-intuitive nature. The paper has important implications for the increasingly common situations in which learners must monitor and regulate their own learning, and choose the right strategies at the right time.