a learning adventure

Module 4 - Learning Strategies

In this module we will be looking at factors which assist learning and how they can be converted into practical learning strategies.

There are six main factors which assist learning:

  1. Readiness
  2. Primacy
  3. Recency
  4. Intensity
  5. Association
  6. Revision


People learn best when they are both physically and mentally ready to learn. Some of the factors that can affect readiness are worries, sickness, medication, not knowing or understanding the learning objectives and a poor learning environment.

Primacy and Recency

People tend to recall the beginning of events more than the middle, and will recall a first event more than continued repetitions of that event. People also tend to recall events which are very recent.

The knowledge that the brain recalls first and last things best is useful in any learning situation, for it helps to organize time and increase recall.

For example, studying for four hours without a break, gives only one primacy and one recency situation, allowing recall to sag in the middle.

Breaking the four hours into more reasonable units provide more 'first and last' situations with a consequent rise in recall.

The time units have to be long enough to enable the mind to build up a rhythm, and short enough to prevent it from having too large a sag in the middle. A study time of between 10 and 45 minutes (depending on difficulty and interest) with breaks of between two and five minutes seems to be ideal.

This not only helps recall, but also helps assimilation of the learning because, in the breaks, your mind has had a chance both to rest and to sort out the information it has been taking in during the learning period.

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