The Cycle:- as the foundation

Rereading content again and again, taking notes “cramming”, we have all done this but Brown, et al.,(2014) suggest these strategies are a waste of time.

Many teachers and students alike intuitively think that “massed learning” and its immediate gratification and mastery knowledge are the key to , but according to Brown et al (2014)  it is in fact superficial and false sense of mastery. It is ineffective and only gives transient gains and we are going about learning the wrong way.

Brown, et al., (2014) Learning theory is based on two sets of principals, firstly Spaced Repetition; so, if learners spread out their study of a topic, returning to it periodically, they remember it better.

Secondly interleaving of different but related topics rather than, simple linear topic after topic helps to enhance learning.

Both principles rely on neurological pathways which are strengthened when we practice learning through retrieval and interleaving, creating neural networks leading to deeper knowledge and learning.

This type of learning process is difficult and Brown, et al., (2014) suggest that “effort” required or “effortful” is key to enabling deeper learning and it is through this “effort” memory that sticks.

(Brown, et al., 2014) again suggest that one of the greatest aids to learning is the use of spaced formative tests. One key element of deeper learning is the need for quizzes/tests or self-assessment but again spaced over several regular intervals. This they believe helps with the process of retrieval and recall which in turn reinforces the integration of knowledge into the neural network and at the same time allows a student/teacher to check learning and make corrective/positive feedback.This makes it easier for you to recall in the future and this is how we make our memories stick.

The diagram below attempts to represent the key elements of deeper learning and how can be embedded within the classic learning cycle.


Brown, P. C., Roediger III , H. L. & McDaniel, M. A., 2014. Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning. s.l.:s.n.

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