Improving Students’ Learning With Effective Learning Techniques: Promising Directions From Cognitive and Educational Psychology

Close-up photograph of a perfect grade on a scantron test.

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Some students seem to breeze through their school years, whereas others struggle, putting them at risk for getting lost in our educational system and not reaching their full potential. Parents and teachers want to help students succeed, but there is little guidance on which learning techniques are the most effective for improving educational outcomes. This leads students to implement studying strategies that are often ineffective, resulting in minimal gains in performance. What then are the best strategies to help struggling students learn?

Fortunately for students, parents, and teachers, psychological scientists have developed and evaluated the effectiveness of a wide range of learning techniques meant to enhance academic performance. In this report, Dunlosky (Kent State University), Rawson (Kent State University), Marsh (Duke University), Nathan (University of Wisconsin–Madison), and Willingham (University of Virginia) review the effectiveness of 10 commonly used learning techniques.

The authors describe each learning technique in detail and discuss the conditions under which each technique is most successful. They also describe the students (age, ability level, etc.) for whom each technique is most useful, the materials needed to utilize each technique, and the specific skills each technique promotes. To allow readers to easily identify which methods are the most effective, the authors rate the techniques as having high, medium, or low utility for improving student learning.

Which learning techniques made the grade? According to the authors, some commonly used techniques, such as underlining, rereading material, and using mnemonic devices, were found to be of surprisingly low utility. These techniques were difficult to implement properly and often resulted in inconsistent gains in student performance. Other learning techniques such as taking practice tests and spreading study sessions out over time — known as distributed practice — were found to be of high utility because they benefited students of many different ages and ability levels and enhanced performance in many different areas.

The real-world guidance provided by this report is based on psychological science, making it an especially valuable tool for students, parents, and teachers who wish to promote effective learning. Although there are many reasons why students struggle in school, these learning techniques, when used properly, should help provide meaningful gains in classroom performance, achievement test scores, and many other tasks students will encounter across their lifespan.

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Editorial: Applying Cognitive Psychology to Education: Translational Educational Science

By Henry L. Roediger, III

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This article confirms my own observations in the classroom. Thank you. I am anxious to read the entire article.

if these techniques may be made available to school authorities and parent then our students can get the best out of it.

This article is great and these techniques are valid and can transform our schools performance. Thanks for thorough researched work.

Alot has to be done by the schools authorities to see that these techniques are use to better the education of our country Cameroon

thank you,this article will help me lot for my teaching career

teachers as facilitators in classes need to be aware of these techniques through continual learning.

Thanks to the person who had created this link. It is very useful for our QC project and we had used these methods for helping our fellow mates.

These techniques should be used at different levels and teachers should be fully equipped with all techniques otherwise required results can not be achieved

This articles techniques are very different from what teachers these days. I need to get this information out there to the teachers at my school and try to get them to utilize it in class.

We teach these techniques and other educational philosophies through workshops to students and teachers at schools. We would love to connect if someone is interested in organizing the workshop at a school / society. Please get in touch through [email protected] /

its an informative article.

Thanks. But enumerate strategies in the Nursry and Primary for it seems more complex

I think it was a very informative articial, and he learning techniques are very detailed.

Very informative

Mnemonic An Outdated Devices In Learning

How to study effectively.
i am a computer science student and have to search online .
which is on one side useful that if something is missing in one article is found on another article but its so much time consuming plus i want to get all the knowledge related but its not possible.

kindly guide me to “learn how to learn!”

that i should concentrate on 1 topic and first learn the basic and then goto further details…..

This article is very interesting.

thank you so much, great article.

This is an outstanding article

This article is very Informative.

Good way of explaining, and good paragraph to obtain information on the topic of my presentation subject matter, which i am
going to present in academy.

I’m curious as to what you define as ‘learning’ because this research seems to focus mostly on memorisation which on Bloom’s taxonomy is a fairly low element of learning, though obviously vital for some subjects.

I wonder if you should make this distinction clearer because this research is useful in identifying the best pedagogies for memorisation and retrieval but may not be the best for different types of learning outcomes.

Thank you, it’s great learning way

This article is important because learning effective learning techniques will help me to find the right technique to be successful in my educational journey.

I really like the techniques used in the article,I believe that they can enhance the learning skills in the classroom.Great article!

I think that this technique will be very effective at an college or learning institution

I agree that distibuted practice is indeed a valuable tool, however I disagree that it is of high utility because I am never able to actually “utiize” the tools e.g. practice tests/exams. Why aren’t more online practice exams aren’t available for scoring and self-challenging purposes? That would be more of an actual incentive to me. I also disagree that double checking and ightingmarking,high!ighting,underlining are low utility. As someone who is OCD, like myself, this is very satisfying and is actually very good at helping with retention of the material subject learned.

The highlighting technique does not work for my 6th grader. But this technique works for me. Distributed practice was indeed a more successful tool and technique.

If you want to study hard and effective than
1.first of all just feel relax have to motivate your self by watching some videos or some thoughts have to suppose,the subject you are reading is very easy. take that subject and read it or learn it with enthusiasm
5.and do it



Where is the CP Practice Exam? I ended up here through

Your Best and Brightest always seem to want to change the playing field of learning. The gentlemen and women who wrote most of the worlds great literature, would not respect your methods; nor should the parents, who see graduates with ever-decreasing test scores, abilities and aptitude.

I have found this article a learning experience that i can imply to my everyday lifestyle by using the moral tools given to preserver through this college coarse.

its a good connductor fo any student to know what is inportant in teaching method

I was disappointed to not identify strategies based on Problem Based Learning, which is particularly relevant for STEM classes and students.

“Problem-based learning is a student-centered pedagogy in which students learn about a subject through the experience of solving an open-ended problem found in trigger material.” Wikipedia

Very helpful!

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