The secret of more efficient learning

Education 14 Apr 2021 Contributor
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During our schooling, we all have searched in our means, to learn things that our teachers used to teach in class more efficiently. Sometimes we have succeeded and sometimes not, but we did not look for the generalization of the method of learning. A new study from a team of researchers from Dartmouth College shows that there is a method or a process of learning that could be more useful for adults, children, or students to learning languages or even studying complex theories. This new study got published in the reputed Cognitive Science journal.

How was this study conducted?

It is obvious that teaching methodologies or techniques vary from person to person and this makes students confused as they need to adapt to the ways of different instructors, sometimes for the same topics! For this study, the researchers intentionally put misinformation while they asked the subjects to learn the names of three fictional characters: ‘yosh’, ‘wug’, and ‘niz’ following two methodologies. In the first method, object-label learning, the student sees an object first, and then the label is given. In the second method, label-object learning, the order was reversed. Finally, they were asked to match the pictures with their made-up names. The researchers intentionally provided misleading information to check how the students deal with the inconsistency keeping in mind the input method.

What did we learn about ‘efficient learning’ from the experiment?

In this study, the researchers found that the students following the object-label learning method were better in processing the inconsistency than the others. The team found that the object-label learning method enables students to perform ‘frequency boosting’ i.e., the ability to process an event to identify and use the most frequent rule. This is something like pointing to a blue balloon and then tell the children about the color. According to Ma, a researcher associated with this study from the University of California, “From this research one thing is evident that the order of presentation is important and that seeing the object first creates a stronger association to the name.”

The team also combined their findings with mathematical modeling for better understanding and also provided theoretical explanations to the observation. They also think that this understanding could be used in other many scenarios, like learning a foreign language or introducing to various instruments in the science laboratories.