There is growing evidence about the best ways to learn and how to learn more efficiently. In anticipation of the next revision of Essentials of Marketing and tied to my “flipping the classroom” this semester, I have been looking through some of the academic literature in this area. In that search I came upon a review article “Strengthening the Student Toolbox” (American Educator, Fall 2013 – for a more “academic” treatment of the same research, see Dunlosky et al., 2013, “Improving Students’ Learning Techniques: Promising Directions From Cognitive and Educational Psychology” Psychological Science in the Public Interest) that summarizes the research in this area. I found the paper very interesting — and a pretty straightforward read. The study reviews 10 prominent learning strategies — and identifies which actually work.
My fascination brought to me a Coursera MOOC “Learning How to Learn: Powerful mental tools to help you master tough subjects” (taught by Dr. Barbara Oakley and Dr. Terence Sejnowski). It was very insightful and gave me ideas about how I could be a better teacher and a better learner — and how I could help my students to be better and more efficient learners.
It came as no surprise to me that practice testing and distributed practice (see the article for a detailed explanation) are clearly the most effective strategies. That adds to growing evidence that tools like McGraw-Hill’s SmartBook and LearnSmart can help students learn better and more efficiently. Full disclosure, my marketing textbooks Basic Marketing and Essentials of Marketing use this adaptive learning technology. The constant testing and adaptive learning help student learn. We have a related post at Learn the 4 Ps which offers some of these tips to students.
Have you utilized any adaptive learning technology? Do you have any tricks to implement distributed practice for your students?