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How are we learning?

6 tips to make your distance learning more effective

Have you ever spent hours in front of a monitor, reading a text repeatedly but remembering nothing?

Approximate reading time: 2m 58s

You will most likely attribute this to the fact that you are too tired and overloaded with information. You may well be right, but bear in mind that the form in which the information is presented to you also plays a role in its faster absorption.

What you see is not necessarily what your brain perceives. Reading from a screen, learners don't always perceive the information you present to them the way you want them to. Sometimes their knowledge and experience related to the topic impacts the information they take in. The good news is that you can take advantage of this and influence their perceptions, depending on how you provide them with relevant material.

If you are developing e-learning, you need to consider a few simple rules that will help your learners better perceive the information you are offering them.

In this article, we'll present 6 tips to help you understand exactly how the brain is wired when perceiving information and how you can stimulate it to work more efficiently.

Making logical connections

Learning is a process based on associations. Cognitive scientists prove that everything evolves around connecting old knowledge and making new logical sequences. They find that by making logical connections, a person can remember up to 40% more. All this explains why prior knowledge of a subject is very important for memorization. 

When you develop distance learning (online learning), you can provide your learners with the opportunity to go back to their prior knowledge and use it to make associations between what they already know and the new subject matter. Help them to create new combinations and not just be able to reproduce but also understand the information. This will also make learning new knowledge easier. 

The importance of order

The sequence of online courses is particularly important for their memorization. For example, if you are studying a historical event, you should start with the background, move on to the beginning and the ending, and finish with the ending and the aftermath. If you start at the end, then go to the beginning and end with the middle, you won't remember anything because the individual events will have no logical sequence. When the things studied are presented in the right order, the increase in memorized material can reach the aforementioned 40%.

How long can we hold someone's attention 

It is well known that people who are vividly interested in the subject they are studying can be fully concentrated for 7 to 10 minutes. If their interest is not that great, it will linger even less.

Therefore, the strategies you can apply are two: give students an incentive to keep their attention after the time in question, or give them the most important part of the lesson synthesized at the beginning to make sure that at least it will be retained.

Learning is an active process

People learn better if they are active rather than passive during the learning process. You cannot rely on information being remembered only if it is read. For higher results, you need to provide students with opportunities to be active during the e-learning you create, for example through small tasks that require thinking and attention, opportunities to ask questions, give ideas, etc. All of these things will make them think about the topic being discussed, use the knowledge they have already gained to gain insight into it and learn it better. 

Motivation - the main stimulus for knowledge 

Motivation is the most powerful tool you can use to make someone learn knowledge better. If you provide someone with good motivation, you can be sure that the results will exceed your expectations. But what can stimulate students to learn faster? Some of the reasons are:

  • More freedom about when and how to learn;
  • a personal reward (incentive) they get from or in the process of their learning;
  • receiving support from their learning environment, classmates or teachers.

Images also stimulate memory 

The presence of images and pictures helps in faster and better quality learning. It is much easier to remember something if we can associate it with an image in our mind. This is why books for young children are richly illustrated. From a young age we learn to associate an image or object with information.

It turns out that we are much more effective at remembering an image than text. An image can remain in our memory for up to several days after we have had the opportunity to look at it for only a few seconds. Therefore, to ensure a better comprehension of the given matter, accompany the main texts with appropriate pictures, illustrations, diagrams, etc.

This is not all you need to know about memorization, of course, but it is a good foundation with which to start developing your distance learning (online training). It's best to apply these tips in combinations - that way you'll achieve greater results.