Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Time Management Tuesday: An Ultralearning Case Study, Principle 5 Retrieval. Or Testing

Okay! This week our Ultralearning read (which we are doing to help us learn to learn/research faster) deals with retrieving what you've studied/learned. To cut to the chase, author Scott Young says research has determined that testing yourself is a stronger way of remembering material and being able to retrieve it, better than reviewing material before a test or creating a concept map. (writing out concepts in some kind of organized diagram) Putting aside testing's use in traditional education as a method of evaluation, it appears that the effort to retrieve information from the mind the way you do with a test is a learning tool, itself.

Difficulty plays a part, also. "Low-intensity learning strategies typically involve either less or easier retrieval. Pushing difficulty higher and opting for testing oneself well before you are 'ready' is more efficient."

Our Case Study: Something I can use! Don't avoid the hard stuff, Gail! Which, you know, I would.

Interesting point here--Testing ("practicing retrieval") before you've learned material can be helpful in retaining it once you do acquire the information, possibly because your mind has been sort of forewarned and will look for/recognize the information when it is exposed to it. However, you still have to decide what things you want/need to learn in the first place, and thus pre-test yourself on.

Our Case Study: While this makes sense to me, how can I make it work for me? I do not know.

I have finished reading this book, which means that I can make some progress trying to apply the techniques to my project, for future reports.

You might want to check out Scott Young's blog.


Jen Robinson said...

I've seen this recommendation (self-testing for deeper learning) in a bunch of publications lately. I believe it, and can see the advantage for, say, college kids trying to learn a lot of material. Like you, though, I'm not really sure how I'd apply it for myself. I'm going to check out the book, though. Thanks!

Gail Gauthier said...

While I read this chapter, I wondered about testing, as I've known it, in traditional education. I've always known it to be used there for evaluation. But the research Young sites suggests it would be useful to treat it as a learning tool, itself. We retest before the social studies unit and use the results to help while studying the social studies unit, then test again. He even mentioned the issue of allowing people to test and then fix/look up answers for whatever the parts they didn't test. That's when you're interested in using testing to learn, not to evaluate.

I think our culture is so into testing to evaluate/reward & punish that it would be a very hard sell to bring a different kind of testing into schools.

Gail Gauthier said...

In the above comment I meant "We PREtest before the social studies unit..."