Helping students remember : catalytic knowledge and knowledge outlines with visual mnemonics

University essay from Uppsala universitet/Institutionen för pedagogik, didaktik och utbildningsstudier


To recall educational content from a lecture or textbook is an efficient way to learn (Karpicke & Blunt, 2011), which is referred to as retrieval practice (Karpicke & Roediger, 2008). It is currently seldom used among students (Karpicke, Butler, & Roediger, 2009), even though it provides benefits such as reducing test anxiety (Agarwal, D’Antonio, Roediger III, McDermott, & McDaniel, 2014), longer lasting memories (Karpicke & Blunt, 2011), and also benefit future learning (Pastötter & Bäuml, 2014). But, in order for retrieval practice to work efficiently, the students must not fail to recall too much of the educational content (Kornell, Bjork, & Garcia, 2011). So in order to help students use retrieval practice, I suggest they are provided with an outlining of the educational content, as this probably helps them remember and recall more of it. In this thesis, I conclude with an experimental approach that it is possible to help students remember such knowledge outlines, and how it can be done. Furthermore, since knowledge such as knowledge about the human anatomy, can be catalytic in the sense that it can enhance future learning (Hattie, 2009; Van Overschelde & Healy, 2001), I also suggest that catalytic knowledge should be identified and made memorable by educators using similar techniques as in this study.

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