Active Learning – Remembering

Active Learning is a teaching strategy that encourages students to write/type, click, discuss, act and create in order to engage in the learning process. Students who are engaged in learning are more likely to remember what they learned over time.
Edgar Dale Cone of Experience Media by Jeffrey Anderson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at
Active learning techniques fall into one of the following four categories:
Meaning Making
Creating Meaningful Artifacts
This article will focus on teaching techniques that improve memory.
Helping Students’ Remember
Cognitive scientists have shown that active learning helps students:
1. pay attention
2. connect new knowledge with previously learned content
3. retrieve information/processes when needed.
Active Pause – Pausing to allow students to refocus their attention is a favourite technique of lecturers. Pausing and asking students to write down their ideas, answers to questions, etc. makes the pause technique active.
Active Reading/Listening – Before asking students to read an article or watch a video or listen to a lecture, give them two or three questions to focus their attention and interaction with the content. Creating online reading and listening resources allows students to click on links for more information. Innertoob is a unique tool that allows you to add questions and comments to audio
Memory Aides/Mnemonics – Our memory retrieval is limited to about seven items, but you can increase that number by linking items to other items either numerically (There are seven steps) or alphabetically (Dow Jones Industrial Average Closing Stock Report”: Duodenum, Jejunum, Ileum, Appendix, Colon, Sigmoid, Rectum.) For more ideas, see . Memory aides are most effective if you challenge students to create them.
Mindmapping – Creating a visual image of how information links to other information will help students store new knowledge in an easily retrievable format. Visual mnemonics is a type of mindmapping that uses images instead of words . Here is a site that lists mindmapping software, and a site for creating collaborative mindmaps
Online drill and practice – WebCT, PAWS or class websites can have drill and practice utilities such as Hot Potatoes added.
Rapid Response Games – Both competitive games like Jeopardy and solitary games like Snakes and Ladders have been used in medical education to make memorization enjoyable. Ask Educational Support and Development for information on educational games.
Simulations – Simulations are becoming increasingly popular in medical education. Here are some examples and
Singing/Rhyming –Similar to mnemonics the beat of a song or rhyme increases the amount of material that can be retrieved. See an example at
Student Response Systems (Clickers) – Clickers are used during class to check student’s previous knowledge about a subject, to give feedback during class about what is being learned and to affirm how much students have learned at the end of class. The College of Medicine has installed clickers in the main lecture theatre and has portable sets available.

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