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Organization Effects

Outlining, integrating, and synthesizing information produces better learning than rereading materials or other more passive strategies.  Students frequently report that when they study they reread materials they already read once. Strategies that require learners to be actively engaged with the material to-be-learned produce better long-term retention than the passive act of reading. Learners should develop their own mini-testing situations as they review, such as stating the information in their own words (without viewing the text) and synthesizing information from multiple sources, such as from class and textbooks.  
  • Implications
    • Provide learners with meaningful strategies for retaining information when they study. These strategies should require effort because there is a long-term retention advantage for effortful processing (assuming that the effort is within a reasonable level).
  • References
    • Bjork, R. A.. (1994). Memory and metamemory considerations in the training of human beings. In J. Metcalfe & A. Simamura (Eds.). Metacognition: Knowing about knowing. (pp. 185-205) Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
    • Bransford, J. D., Brown, A. L., & Cocking, R. R. (Eds.). (2000). How People Learn (expanded.). Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press.