What are the 6 Key Learning Strategies? [2024]

Video: What Learning Strategies Are Most Helpful?

Have you ever wondered what makes some students excel in their studies while others struggle? It’s not just about intelligence or natural talent. The key to successful learning lies in the strategies we use. In this article, we will explore the six key learning strategies that have been identified by cognitive psychologists and educators. These strategies are backed by research and have been proven to enhance learning and retention. So, whether you’re a student looking to improve your study habits or a teacher seeking effective instructional techniques, these strategies are essential tools for success.

Quick Answer

The six key learning strategies are:

  1. Spaced Practice: Studying and reviewing information over spaced intervals of time for better long-term retention.
  2. Interleaving: Mixing up different topics or skills during study sessions to enhance learning and recognize similarities and differences.
  3. Elaboration: Asking “how” and “why” questions about the material to deepen understanding and connect it to prior knowledge.
  4. Concrete Examples: Using easily understandable and visual information to aid learning, particularly effective for beginners.
  5. Dual Coding: Combining verbal and visual information to enhance encoding and retrieval, such as using diagrams and pictures with written or spoken information.
  6. Retrieval Practice: Actively recalling information from memory through quizzes or self-testing to strengthen retention and retrieval.

Now, let’s dive deeper into each of these strategies and explore how they can be applied in various learning contexts.

Quick Tips and Facts

  • These strategies are effective for learners of all ages, from elementary school students to adults.
  • Implementing these strategies requires deliberate practice and consistency.
  • The strategies can be used in combination or individually, depending on the learning goals and context.
  • Teachers can incorporate these strategies into their instructional practices to enhance student learning and engagement.
  • These strategies are not limited to traditional classroom settings and can be applied to self-directed learning as well.

Background: The Science of Learning Strategies

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Before we delve into the specifics of each learning strategy, let’s take a moment to understand the science behind them. After decades of research, cognitive psychologists have identified these six strategies as effective tools for enhancing learning and retention. These strategies are grounded in principles of cognitive psychology and have been tested and validated through empirical studies.

The key to effective learning lies in how we encode, store, and retrieve information in our brains. These strategies optimize these processes, making learning more efficient and durable. By understanding the underlying mechanisms of these strategies, we can apply them in various learning contexts and maximize their benefits.

Now, let’s explore each of the six key learning strategies in detail.

1. Spaced Practice

Video: Study Strategies: Spaced Practice.

✅ Spaced Practice involves studying and reviewing information over spaced intervals of time for better long-term retention. Instead of cramming all the information in one study session, spaced practice distributes learning over multiple sessions, allowing for better encoding and consolidation of knowledge.

How to apply Spaced Practice:

  • Plan your study sessions in advance and allocate specific time slots for each topic or subject.
  • Review previously learned material at regular intervals, spacing out the sessions over days or weeks.
  • Use flashcards or online tools to create spaced repetition schedules that prompt you to review information at optimal intervals.

Research has shown that spaced practice leads to better long-term retention compared to massed practice, where information is crammed in a single session. By spacing out your study sessions, you give your brain time to consolidate the information and strengthen the neural connections associated with learning.

2. Interleaving

Video: What is Interleaving | Explained in 2 min.

✅ Interleaving involves mixing up different topics or skills during study sessions to enhance learning and recognize similarities and differences. Instead of studying one topic extensively before moving on to the next, interleaving encourages learners to switch between different subjects or skills, promoting deeper understanding and better retention.

How to apply Interleaving:

  • When studying multiple subjects, alternate between them within a single study session.
  • Mix up different types of problems or exercises related to a particular skill.
  • Look for connections and patterns between different topics or skills.

Interleaving challenges learners to actively engage with the material and make connections between different concepts. This strategy helps prevent the “blocking” effect, where learners become overly familiar with one topic and struggle to transfer their knowledge to different contexts.

3. Elaboration

Video: Instructional Strategies — The Ten Plus Two Teaching Method.

✅ Elaboration involves asking “how” and “why” questions about the material to deepen understanding and connect it to prior knowledge. By actively seeking explanations and making connections, learners can enhance their comprehension and retention of the information.

How to apply Elaboration:

  • When studying a new concept, ask yourself questions about its underlying principles and mechanisms.
  • Relate the new information to your existing knowledge and experiences.
  • Explain the concept to someone else, as teaching others requires a deeper level of understanding.

Elaboration encourages learners to go beyond surface-level memorization and actively engage with the material. By seeking explanations and making connections, learners develop a deeper understanding of the subject matter.

4. Concrete Examples

Video: Study Strategies: Concrete Examples.

✅ Concrete Examples involve using easily understandable and visual information to aid learning, particularly effective for beginners. Instead of relying solely on abstract or theoretical explanations, concrete examples provide real-world context and make the information more relatable and memorable.

How to apply Concrete Examples:

  • Look for real-life examples or case studies related to the topic you’re studying.
  • Use visual aids such as diagrams, charts, or infographics to illustrate complex concepts.
  • Connect the abstract information to tangible experiences or objects.

Concrete examples help learners grasp abstract concepts by providing relatable and visual representations. By making the information more concrete, learners can better understand and retain the material.

5. Dual Coding

Video: What is dual coding? 5 dual coding lesson examples.

✅ Dual Coding involves combining verbal and visual information to enhance encoding and retrieval. By using both words and visuals, such as diagrams, pictures, or videos, learners can create multiple pathways for processing and remembering information.

How to apply Dual Coding:

  • Create visual representations of the information you’re studying, such as mind maps or concept maps.
  • Use diagrams or illustrations to illustrate complex processes or relationships.
  • Pair written or spoken information with relevant images or videos.

Dual coding leverages the power of both verbal and visual processing systems in the brain. By presenting information through multiple modalities, learners can enhance their understanding and retention of the material.

6. Retrieval Practice

Video: Retrieval practice learning strategies.

✅ Retrieval Practice involves actively recalling information from memory through quizzes or self-testing to strengthen retention and retrieval. Instead of passively reviewing the material, retrieval practice requires learners to actively retrieve information from their memory, reinforcing the neural connections associated with that knowledge.

How to apply Retrieval Practice:

  • Create flashcards or practice quizzes to test your knowledge.
  • Engage in regular self-testing to assess your understanding of the material.
  • Participate in group discussions or study groups where you can actively recall and discuss the information.

Retrieval practice has been shown to improve long-term retention and retrieval of information. By actively recalling information, learners strengthen their memory and make the knowledge more accessible for future use.

FAQ

person in blue long sleeve shirt holding white round analog wall clock

What are the 6 types of learning strategies?

The six types of learning strategies are:

  1. Spaced Practice
  2. Interleaving
  3. Elaboration
  4. Concrete Examples
  5. Dual Coding
  6. Retrieval Practice

These strategies have been identified by cognitive psychologists as effective tools for enhancing learning and retention.

Read more about “What are the 10 High Impact Teaching Strategies? …”

What are the core 6 instructional strategies?

The core six instructional strategies are the same as the six key learning strategies mentioned earlier:

  1. Spaced Practice
  2. Interleaving
  3. Elaboration
  4. Concrete Examples
  5. Dual Coding
  6. Retrieval Practice

These strategies can be applied by teachers to enhance student learning and engagement in the classroom.

Read more about “10 Effective DAP Teaching Strategies …”

What are the six learning?

The six learning strategies are:

  1. Spaced Practice
  2. Interleaving
  3. Elaboration
  4. Concrete Examples
  5. Dual Coding
  6. Retrieval Practice

These strategies have been identified as effective tools for enhancing learning and retention.

Read more about “What are the Six Components of Teaching? …”

What are the six strategies for learning scientists?

The six strategies for learning scientists are the same as the six key learning strategies mentioned earlier:

  1. Spaced Practice
  2. Interleaving
  3. Elaboration
  4. Concrete Examples
  5. Dual Coding
  6. Retrieval Practice

These strategies have been identified by cognitive psychologists and educators as effective tools for enhancing learning and retention.

Conclusion

people meeting in room

In conclusion, the six key learning strategies – Spaced Practice, Interleaving, Elaboration, Concrete Examples, Dual Coding, and Retrieval Practice – are powerful tools for enhancing learning and retention. By incorporating these strategies into your study habits or instructional practices, you can optimize the learning process and achieve better results.

Remember, implementing these strategies requires deliberate practice and consistency. Start by selecting one or two strategies that resonate with you and gradually incorporate them into your learning routine. Experiment with different techniques and find what works best for you.

Whether you’re a student or a teacher, these strategies can make a significant difference in your learning journey. So, embrace these strategies, explore their applications, and unlock your full learning potential.

Marti
Marti

Marti is a seasoned educator and strategist with a passion for fostering inclusive learning environments and empowering students through tailored educational experiences. With her roots as a university tutor—a position she landed during her undergraduate years—Marti has always been driven by the joy of facilitating others' learning journeys.

Holding a Bachelor's degree in Communication alongside a degree in Social Work, she has mastered the art of empathetic communication, enabling her to connect with students on a profound level. Marti’s unique educational background allows her to incorporate holistic approaches into her teaching, addressing not just the academic, but also the emotional and social needs of her students.

Throughout her career, Marti has developed and implemented innovative teaching strategies that cater to diverse learning styles, believing firmly that education should be accessible and engaging for all. Her work on the Teacher Strategies site encapsulates her extensive experience and dedication to education, offering readers insights into effective teaching methods, classroom management techniques, and strategies for fostering inclusive and supportive learning environments.

As an advocate for lifelong learning, Marti continuously seeks to expand her knowledge and skills, ensuring her teaching methods are both evidence-based and cutting edge. Whether through her blog articles on Teacher Strategies or her direct engagement with students, Marti remains committed to enhancing educational outcomes and inspiring the next generation of learners and educators alike.

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