What I have learnt…

When choosing my modules for this semester it was an easy choice with this module, marked entirely on blogs seemed easy. Although the description did not really reflect what goes on. I thought we would be being taught the science of education but I was very surprised when I turned up to the first lecture and we were told we could learn about whatever we wanted and that we had to do presentations every other week!

The blogs weren’t that bad, but it takes a lot of time to do them all. The really good thing that I has come from doing these blogs is, for me, finding research has become so much easier becasue I have had to do so much, so this is a really good skill to have improved. Having to do them every week also kept me motivated to do the work. However, it would have been beneficial to know the blog and comment grades separately.

However, I really dislike the presentations!!! Having to be recoreded doing them and having to upload them to YouTube for anyone to say made me more nervous, and I was fine doing presentations before this module.

Overall, this module has its pros and cons.

Synthesis blog

Over the past few blogs I have been talking about a subject that is very broad, and that is memory, because there was so much that I could have talked about I thought I would look into the aspects of memory that students would most benefit from knowing about. I have looked at what memory is, what affects it, and different ways to boost memory and looking at if they work or not. When looking at these blogs they could have seeemed unrelated but I will now look at how they all link together…

Memory is the process by which information is encoded, stored and retrieved. Memory is a very important part of our lives and without it we would not be able to do anything that required knowledge. Atkinson & Shiffrin (1968) put forward the multi-store model of short term memory, they show how information is transferred to long term memory through rehersal of information.

Baddely and Hitch (1974) put forward the working memort model, a model of how information is stored in long term memory.

To read more about these visit https://psychofed.wordpress.com/2013/03/18/what-is-memory-and-how-does-it-work/#comments.

So now we know what memory is and how it works we can now look at the more interesting topics that I have been looking at. I thought a god way to bring this all together would be in the for of tips, but I will split these into tips for older students and tip for younger students, as a lot of research notes that there are differences for older and younger students. As research is showing that different things help for different ages, although some tips may apply to both.

Tips for younger students:

  • Reduce stress levels as stress can have a negative affect on the recall of information (Kirschbaum, Wolf, May, Wippich, and Hallhammer, 1996). This can be done by planning ahead for exams/assignments and leaving enough time to prepare for them.
  • Meacham and Singer (1977) found that students were better at remembering tasks when there was a reward of money, so perhaps as an incentive to remeber revision and assignment dealines students could be rewarded financially, perhaps with extra money for every semester of work completed.
  • Keep close relationships with relatives as research has shown that those that do more activity and spend more time with close family score higher on memory tests, and those with the highest scores were the youngest (Stevens, Kaplan, Ponds, Diederiks and Jolles, 1999).
  • Thorell et al. (2009) found that ‘training your brain’ is effective for students of preschool age for improving working memory.
  • Have some alcohol after lectures, Parker et al. (1980) found that consuming 1 ml/kg of alcohol after learning improves recall.
  • Only use caffeine to improve concentration in lectures that do not require active participantion. Nehlig (2010) found that caffeine only improves concentration when material is presented passively.
  • Don’t have too much caffeine as it can cause headaches when consumes excessively (Hering-Hanit & Gadoth, 2003).
  • Drink green tea, it is a good source of l-theanine, this helps to reduce stress and stabalise moods. Owen et al. (2008) found that when ceffeine and l-theanine are combined  it improves the speed and accuracy of their participants.
  • Eat breakfast, it impoves mood and improves perfomance on memory tasks (Smith, 1999).

Tips for older students:

  • Reduce stress levels as stress can have a negative affect on the recall of information (Kirschbaum, Wolf, May, Wippich, and Hallhammer, 1996). This can be done by planning ahead for exams/assignments and leaving enough time to prepare for them.
  • Periods of forgetfullness are more likely to happen in a familiar surrounding (Reason, 1984) so by studying for exams or assignments it is best to do it somewhere that is less familiar, perhaps the library rather than your own living room.
  • Have some alcohol after lectures, Parker et al. (1980) found that consuming 1 ml/kg of alcohol after learning improves recall.
  • If you don’t use it you’ll loose it.Salthouse (2006) highlights the importance of mental activity.
  • Play tetris (or other visual related games) to improve visual attention, this is important as most lectures are presented visually so maintaining visual attention is important.
  • Only use caffeine to improve concentration in lectures that do not require active participantion. Nehlig (2010) found that caffeine only improves concentration when material is presented passively.
  • Drink green tea, it is a good source of l-theanine, this helps to reduce stress and stabalise moods. Owen et al. (2008) found that when ceffeine and l-theanine are combined  it improves the speed and accuracy of their participants.
  • Eat breakfast, it impoves mood and improves perfomance on memory tasks (Smith, 1999).

Although some of the tips are the same I hope I have highlighted the need for students to adapt study techniques and learning to match the needs of their age, especially with the increase of older adults entering into higher eduavtion.