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Table 1 Six strategies for effective learning, each illustrated with an implementation example from the biological bases of behavior

From: Teaching the science of learning

Learning strategy Description Application examples (using biological bases of behavior from basic psychology)
Spaced practice Creating a study schedule that spreads study activities out over time Students can block off time to study and restudy key concepts such as action potentials and the nervous systems on multiple days before an exam, rather than repeatedly studying these concepts right before the exam
Interleaving Switching between topics while studying After studying the peripheral nervous system for a few minutes, students can switch to the sympathetic nervous system and then to the parasympathetic system; next time, students can study the three in a different order, noting what new connections they can make between them
Retrieval practice Bringing learned information to mind from long-term memory When learning about neural communication, students can practice writing out how neurons work together in the brain to send messages (from dendrites, to soma, to axon, to terminal buttons)
Elaboration Asking and explaining why and how things work Students can ask and explain why Botox prevents wrinkles: the nervous system cannot send messages to move certain muscles
Concrete examples When studying abstract concepts, illustrating them with specific examples Students can imagine the following example to explain the peripheral nervous system: a fire alarm goes off. The sympathetic nervous system allows people to move quickly out of the building; the parasympathetic system brings stress levels back down when the fire alarm turns off
Dual coding Combining words with visuals Students can draw two neurons and explain how one communicates with the other via the synaptic gap