Today's episode is the second of two episodes that we recorded specifically for parents. Our goal was to take what we know about the science of learning and focus on how it can be used by you - parents - to help your children with their learning and performance on tests, exams, and other types of assessments. We hope that these 2 episodes will be applicable to parents of a range of students, regardless of age and specific subject(s) being studied.
You may be a parent of a child whose school is implementing effective strategies from cognitive psychology, or you may be interested in helping your child utilize these strategies at home even if they are not part of the school's regular practice. We talk about the strategies from both of these perspectives.
In the previous episode, we talked about how parents can help their children with spaced practice and retrieval practice, and we touched on interleaving. In this episode, we talk about elaboration, concrete examples, and dual coding.
Elaboration involves adding details to our memories. One way to do that is to simply have conversations with your children about topics that may relate to concepts that they have learned in class. You can also encourage elaborative interrogation by posing how and why questions. If your child isn't ready to answer them yet, that's OK - you can look up the answer together, or even ask their teachers.
Concrete examples are important for your children to experience when trying to learn an abstract idea. Because concrete information is easier to understand and remember, finding and generating concrete examples for the abstract ideas they are studying will help your children learn more. It's important to ensure that your child understands the connection between the concrete example and the abstract idea, so that they don't just remember the example alone.
Dual coding involves combining words and visuals to provide multiple ways for information to be understood and later remembered. You can help your children connects words and visuals by drawing with them, or having them describe a picture to you. However, it's important to note that this technique is not just for children who like art; be careful with labeling your child as a "visual learner", as this does not appear to be a useful categorization.
The Learning Scientists Podcast is funded by The Wellcome Trust.
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