Re “Forget What You Know About Good Study Habits”

Carey, B. (2010). “Forget What You Know About Good Study Habits.” New York Times Online. Retrieved on 26 October, 2010:

The main topic of this article is to dispel a few beliefs about effective study habits. According to this article, research has clearly demonstrated that we don’t have credible evidence for the utility of popular learning-style approaches that we follow. The article also outlines a few simple techniques that can reliably improve how much we learn from studying. Personally, I wish I read this article when I was a full time student as it might have helped me to be a better learner.

Conceptual Design: With each of us having specific learning styles, a designer for a learning product can build a system that adopts to our learning styles. For example a system can test its users and determine their learning style and focus on a approach that might make the user learn faster and better. If the learning is tough, learners (Students) might lose interest and motivation. So effective approaches of learning such as variability in setting and materials must be used to improve learnability and retention.  Such design approaches would make learning easy and engage the users in the flow of learning process.

Interaction Design: With respect to interaction design, this article mentions many effective and reliable approaches to learning. For example alternating the place where a person studies improves retention, as opposed to popular belief (a p-prim) that one study location is effective. Also if the context such as room atmosphere, outside of the study is varied: it enriches information and makes it tough to forget. An another study mentions how varying or alternating the type of material studied in a single sitting enhanced learning than concentrating on one single item. So a learning system can be made effective by incorporating a few cognitive approaches that makes learning easier and effective.

With varied and rich learning environments, effective systems can be built to enhance learning and retain what we study.

  1 comment for “Re “Forget What You Know About Good Study Habits”

  1. October 27, 2010 at 3:20 pm

    I really liked the article as well—it’s nice to have a study that directly contradicts a p-prim!

    I think the Conceptual Design take away here is that variability in setting and materials improves learnability and retention. Interaction Design—how we go about achieving this—can be structured in many different ways. A school can have many designated learning areas: library, student lounge, park study corners, etc. Instructional materials can be created in a variety of different formats: audio content, video content, outlines, books, hands-on activity and demonstrations, study groups and conversation circles, problems and essays, etc.

    From a product design stand point, a good study area (quiet and efficient) has been sold as part of the interior decorating and architecture: study rooms, desks and chairs, student nooks, etc. But all of this is based on a p-prim that one good place to study helps in learning retention. If this is not true, other approaches can be developed: a mobile student desk, for example; or a couch table; bathroom study corner; etc. Opens up possibilities, doesn’t it?

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