Four Approaches to Deepen Student Learning

Try these approaches to help students improve learning and information retention.

Applicability. How does your course help students in their lives and careers? Help students see course relevance, explain it early and often. Provide context for individual assignments, what they will be reading or doing and offering clues as to what they should look for and be ready to discuss.

Adaptability. Research suggests students reach cognitive overload in only three to five minutes. Delivering bite-sized chunks of content interspersed with appropriate active learning exercises and context builders is one way to keep students interested and engaged. Try using these three “ex’s of instruction:” explanations, examples (including non-examples), and experiences.

Accentuation. Many students study by cramming, bur research shows deeper learning with increased frequency, recency and potency of exposure to crucial information. Select the most crucial information you want students to remember. Cover that more than once or twice in class–increasing the recency and frequency factors. Make sure they interact with these vital elements in a variety of engaging and relevant ways– increasing the potency factor.

Assessments. Align your course outcomes with your assessments and learning activities. Create relevant, increasingly complex assignments and assessments to help build students’ skills as they progress through the course.

Adapted from Mary Bart. Six Things You Can Do to Deepen Student Learning, 4-6-16, Faculty Focus.