Dividing study time into several sessions.

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The learning strategy that I decided to use that was covered in chapter three reading is dividing study time into several sessions. Dividing study time into several sessions has been shown to help improve retaining information. If you know you have two hours of homework or studying that needs to be done, you should break it down into four thirty-minute sessions. This strategy requires discipline and some advance planning, but learning is much more effective when it is spread out over time rather than postponed to just before an exam (Martinez, 2010, Pg. 73).

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Studies have shown 90% of participants learned more in the spaced conditions than the massed conditions, whereas only 6% of participants indicated the reverse pattern (Kornell, 2009).

Spacing or divided studying can be used in the classroom today by making flashcards and splitting them into 20 cards and going over the cards in the same order four times. The class would then take a break and move onto something else and do the same thing the next day until test day. 

The cognitive process has different qualities it flows through for memory. There are three main cognitive structures, sensory register, working memory, long term memory. Within those three structures, you can find the different qualities, sensations, perceptions, attention, learning, remembering, and knowing(Martinez, 2010, pg. 51). Spacing naturally leads to information being encoded in diverse temporal, physical and/or mental contexts, whereas massing results in the encoding taking place in a relatively fixed context (Kornell, 2009).

Chunking is described as breaking the new information down into smaller parts that are easier to remember. The rule of seven plus or minus two is an excellent place to start when starting to practice chunking. It often helps if you try to rephrase the chunks of information into your own words. This is helpful when learning new information, such as vocabulary and definitions.

Chunking can be used to enhance learning activities by helping students learn new information more easily. They will be able to comprehend the smaller sections of difficult text much more manageable, and chunking will help the new information seem less intimidating.  

Automaticity is used when gaining procedural knowledge. This is something that takes time to learn, but once you learn it, you almost forget you never knew how. Some examples the book gives in learning to drive or cooking an egg. When I thought of this, I immediately thought of learning how to write. When first learning how to write, it takes lots of practice and time to perfect each letter. You may even start chunking the alphabet to learn a few letters at a time, but once you learn to write, it can not be forgotten. This also applies to other skills such as reading and arithmetic. Automaticity requires a cognitive demand in the beginning. As you start to perfect the skill, the demand is lessened, and you can begin to take on more challenging demands of the working memory. 

Kornell, N. (2009). Optimizing Learning using flashcards: Spacing is more effective than cramming. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 23(9), 1297-1317. doi:10.1002/acp.1537

Martinez, M. E. (2010). Chapter 2. In Learning and cognition: The design of the mind. Boston, MA: Merrill.

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