SERMONS & Research Finds Physical Note Taking Aids Retention

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: There is a tech trend in our Sunday services, of which I have been in favor, to replace printed bibles and sermon note handouts with e-bibles and electronic notation. Yet research indicates this may hinder retention. Research cited below indicates that a printed book fosters memorization/retention more than an e-book. Research discovered that writing out your notes on paper similarity promotes “contexts and landmarks” which further foster learning.  With advances in technology such weaknesses will eventually be overcome.  But in the meantime, churches may want to return to the availability of paper bibles and handouts for notes. If we are serious about helping congregants move from “remembering” to “knowing,” then sometimes being an early adopter may result in acting too quickly.

Read this overview in TIME magazine with links to the original research …

“Do E-Books Make It Harder to Remember What You Just Read? Digital books are lighter and more convenient to tote around than paper books, but there may be advantages to old technology”

by Maia Szalavitz, Time Magazine, 3/14/15.

… I discovered that Google’s Larry Page himself had concerns about research showing that on-screen reading is measurably slower than reading on paper.

This seems like a particularly troubling trend for academia, where digital books are slowly overtaking the heavy tomes I used to lug around. On many levels, e-books seem like better alternatives to textbooks — they can be easily updated and many formats allow readers to interact with the material more, with quizzes, video, audio and other multimedia to reinforce lessons. But some studies suggest that there may be significant advantages in printed books if your goal is to remember what you read long-term…

Context and landmarks may actually be important to going from “remembering” to “knowing.” The more associations a particular memory can trigger, the more easily it tends to be recalled. Consequently, seemingly irrelevant factors like remembering whether you read something at the top or the bottom of page — or whether it was on the right or left hand side of a two-page spread or near a graphic — can help cement material in mind…

This seems irrelevant at first, but spatial context may be particularly important because evolution may have shaped the mind to easily recall location cues so we can find our way around. That’s why great memorizers since antiquity have used a trick called the “method of loci” to associate facts they want to remember with places in spaces they already know, like rooms in their childhood home. They then visualize themselves wandering sequentially through the rooms, recalling the items as they go…

E-books, however, provide fewer spatial landmarks than print, especially pared-down versions like the early Kindles, which simply scroll through text and don’t even show page numbers, just the percentage already read. In a sense, the page is infinite and limitless, which can be dizzying. Printed books on the other hand, give us a physical reference point, and part of our recall includes how far along in the book we are, something that’s more challenging to assess on an e-book…

Read more at … http://healthland.time.com/2012/03/14/do-e-books-impair-memory/

 

STUDENT SUCCESS & Writing Down Your Notes Leads to Better Retention With E-Books

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: When I begin my research for my upcoming book on the leadership of John Wesley, I relied heavily on e-books. However because of research that says you will remember more if you write down your thoughts, I continued to write down notes from these e-books in my notepads. This is a learning technique rhat has served me well through my graduate degrees. I have found that having handwritten notes, for me, helps internalize the information and create systems in my mind of how the information connects. Not just for myself, research indicates for most people taking written notes is the best way to learn especially when utilizing e-books.

So in other words, using tablets, e-books and computers makes knowledge accessible. But to retain that knowledge most people will do what I have learned to do, to write it down in order to internalize and systematize it.

Read this helpful overview in TIME Magazine…

Do E-Books Make It Harder to Remember What You Just Read? Digital books are lighter and more convenient to tote around than paper books, but there may be advantages to old technology” by Maia Szalavitz, Time Magazine, 3/14/15.

… I discovered that Google’s Larry Page himself had concerns about research showing that on-screen reading is measurably slower than reading on paper.

This seems like a particularly troubling trend for academia, where digital books are slowly overtaking the heavy tomes I used to lug around. On many levels, e-books seem like better alternatives to textbooks — they can be easily updated and many formats allow readers to interact with the material more, with quizzes, video, audio and other multimedia to reinforce lessons. But some studies suggest that there may be significant advantages in printed books if your goal is to remember what you read long-term…

Context and landmarks may actually be important to going from “remembering” to “knowing.” The more associations a particular memory can trigger, the more easily it tends to be recalled. Consequently, seemingly irrelevant factors like remembering whether you read something at the top or the bottom of page — or whether it was on the right or left hand side of a two-page spread or near a graphic — can help cement material in mind…

This seems irrelevant at first, but spatial context may be particularly important because evolution may have shaped the mind to easily recall location cues so we can find our way around. That’s why great memorizers since antiquity have used a trick called the “method of loci” to associate facts they want to remember with places in spaces they already know, like rooms in their childhood home. They then visualize themselves wandering sequentially through the rooms, recalling the items as they go…

E-books, however, provide fewer spatial landmarks than print, especially pared-down versions like the early Kindles, which simply scroll through text and don’t even show page numbers, just the percentage already read. In a sense, the page is infinite and limitless, which can be dizzying. Printed books on the other hand, give us a physical reference point, and part of our recall includes how far along in the book we are, something that’s more challenging to assess on an e-book…

Read more at … http://healthland.time.com/2012/03/14/do-e-books-impair-memory/

STUDENT SUCCESS & Research Confirms the Importance of “Interval Studying” Rather Than Cramming

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: Research cited in The Journal of the Association for Psychological Science points out that it’s important to study at regular “intervals” during a course, rather than cram for a test or a paper right before it is due. Called “interval studying” this research confirms that this leads to better retention and a more satisfied student experience. Read this important research in this article:

Increasing Retention Without Increasing Study Time

by Doug Rohrer1 and Harold Pashler2 (1University of South Florida and 2University of California, San Diego)

ABSTRACT—Because people forget much of what they learn, students could benefit from learning strategies that yield long-lasting knowledge. Yet surprisingly little is known about how long-term retention is most efficiently achieved. Here we examine how retention is affected by two variables: the duration of a study session and the temporal distribution of study time across multiple sessions. Our results suggest that a single session devoted to the study of some material should continue long enough to ensure that mastery is achieved but that immediate further study of the same material is an inefficient use of time. Our data also show that the benefit of distributing a fixed amount of study time across two study sessions—the spacing effect—depends jointly on the interval between study sessions and the interval between study and test. We discuss the practical implications of both findings, especially in regard to mathematics learning.

Read the article here … http://www.pashler.com/Articles/RohrerPashler2007CDPS.pdf

STUDENT SUCCESS & Research Shows Repeated Testing Enhances Learning

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: This research shows that students remembered more if they are subject to a test after they’ve learned something rather than simply trying to memorize the concepts. So, giving information followed by a test (which is designed to make them think about how to apply the information) is the best way to foster learning.

“Strengthening concept learning by repeated testing” by Carola Wiklund-Hörnqvist,1 Bert Jonsson,1 and Lars Nyberg2 Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 2014 Feb; 55(1): 10–16.

Abstract

The aim of this study was to examine whether repeated testing with feedback benefits learning compared to rereading of introductory psychology key-concepts in an educational context. The testing effect was examined immediately after practice, after 18 days, and at a five-week delay in a sample of undergraduate students (n = 83). The results revealed that repeated testing with feedback significantly enhanced learning compared to rereading at all delays, demonstrating that repeated retrieval enhances retention compared to repeated encoding in the short- and the long-term. In addition, the effect of repeated testing was beneficial for students irrespectively of working memory capacity. It is argued that teaching methods involving repeated retrieval are important to consider by the educational system.

Read more at … http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4235419/