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E-learning Strategies to Enhance Encoding and Retrieval

Learning experience designers can use strategies that enhance learning and retrieving information and skills.

As neuroscience has advanced, many educators have come to appreciate how important memory and recall are to learning. In fact, most people rely on their memories in one way or another throughout their days. For instance, you may rely on your memory to help you find where you parked your car in a crowded parking lot or for instructions from a recipe. Other times you might use your memory to help you remember where something is located in the home or workplace.

Here are a few e-learning strategies that can be used to enhance memory when learning:

1. Think Aloud – Podcasts / Voiceovers

This strategy involves speaking out loud while doing the task in question (reading a document, completing a process, or conducting an experiment). The idea behind this strategy is that you will use your voice to drive the process. This is where podcasts and voiceovers work very well to present learning material. In other words, you will rely on your memory to guide you through the entire process – and verbalize your steps along the way. It’s important to note that think-alouds don’t work for everyone – especially if what you’re reading is not interesting to you. This strategy works best with highly interactive e-learning environments.

2. Ask questions

When you need information on how to complete a task, ask the right question and then answer it. To employ this strategy, you will need to define the purpose of the task or the goal of your activity in order to be able to synthesize the knowledge into a specific question. This strategy works best for high-level tasks because you can reflect on your knowledge when needed and therefore make sure you are not missing any points.

3. Use mnemonics

Mnemonics are a way to help you remember information by breaking down the material into smaller chunks. This strategy is particularly useful for learning new information and for recall of facts because you can find connections between related topics through these strategies. The basis of mnemonic strategies rely on the use of keywords.

4. Use pictures, illustrations or diagrams

Researchers have found that it is easier to remember facts and details when they are presented in drawings or diagrams, instead of the traditional written form – especially when one does not know how the information will be presented. This strategy works best for people with a visual memory and also makes sense if the context is already familiar to the learner because it helps visualize ideas without having to read or listen more than once.

5. Learn how to use acronyms

Acronyms help you remember numbers, otherwise cumbersome formulas or phrases, and other similar things. They can be very useful for remembering a lot of information quickly. For example, “PIN number” and “LOL” are common acronyms used around the world.

6. Use flashcards

Flashcards are a great way to break down information and remember it because the cards become a visual reminder. The reason why flashcards make such an effective tool is that they are “chunked up” into easy-to-digest chunks of information.

7. Promote re-learning by using helpful strategies to make it fun

Games are an effective tool to learn. The reason why games work so well is because they engage your brain in a fun way while providing a challenge at the same time. Stress usually affects our learning so participating in fun activities will help us learn more effectively and efficiently.

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