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Methods of Effective Learning

1. Distributed vs Massed Practice:

When short practice period are used separated by rest intervals, the procedure is called distributed practice. Sometimes, however the individual works continuously, until the task is mastered or at least for long period of time. This procedure is called massed practice. 

Research with a wide variety of different task and rest intervals of various sizes has shown there is an advantage of distributed practice. The reasons of this are as follows. 

  • If the work unit is very long, fatigue may occur and reduce the effectiveness of once effort. 
  • A short work unit usually produces higher motivation than a long one because of the reinforcing conditions of reaching a goal more often. 
  • Also it has been known that when a person stops work, there may be a preservation of neural processes aroused by the work unit. 

Sometimes massed learning is better than the distributed learning. Skilled workers can be trained with fewer lessons if their lessons were shorten or came after a long interval of time. Some individuals take a long time to warm up to the task and start working. These people waste a lot of time in each practice time before actually starting to learn. They might accomplish more if the work period is increased in time.

2. Recitation vs Reading: 

In memory task, the value of recitation vs. mere reading has been investigated (research). Recitation does not only meaning reading aloud, but actively trying to recall what has been learned. Recitation is more effective because of the following reasons: 

  • Reading with the knowledge that one must soon recite what he is reading usually increases motivation. 
  • Every time one reproduces something that he has read, he gets rewarded. Every time he fails to reproduce he feels dissatisfied (comparable to punishment) 
  • Recitation tells one how well he is progressing. It gives more adequate knowledge of results than when there is passive reading. 
  • The person who recites during learning is practicing the sort of performance that he aims to achieve. 

3. Whole vs Part Learning:

The issue here is whether it is more efficient to learn a task as a whole whether we should divided into smaller pieces and master it in this fashion. The research findings show this method to be task specific. That is the result have been found on one task may or may not applied to another task. In practical situation it is better to have a flexible plane starting with the whole but watching for difficult areas that may call for special attention. 

4. Knowledge of Result:

Motor and verbal skills are not readily acquired or learned unless the subject has some knowledge of results or information feedback. The improved performance associated with the knowledge of result is due to the following. 

  • Repetition of responses known to be successful 
  • Attempts to correct responses known to be inadequate 
  • There is an increased motivation because the subjects working with the knowledge of results find the task more interesting and try harder to improve their performance. 

Study Technique and Habits 

One effective technique of learning is the SQ3R Learning. This letters stand for five steps. That is SURVEY, QUESTION, READ, RECITE and REVIEW. 

  • The survey involves obtaining an overview of the entire chapter before reading it. Usually by noting the topics and subtopics. 

  • In the question stage the student surveys the entire task once again, this time asking himself questions suggested by the topic or subtopic headings. The purpose is to develop and inquiring attitude. 

  • The student is advised against note taking in the reading stage. He simply reads the material from the beginning to the end. 

  • Recitation is the most important stage here, the student recites as well as he can, the information he has previously surveyed question and read. More time will be spent on recitation than reading. It can be either oral or written. 

  • In the reviewing stage the student compares his performance with material he has read and notes his errors and omissions. Since it requires him to survey the lesion again the review also as a guide for further study.

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