Image by Clarisse Meyer

Cognitive Psychology

004 Cognitive Psychology: Self-Regulated Learning

【Prerequisites】

High school students are interested in researching the areas of learning, memory, study skills, or cognitive psychology.  

【Description】

The way people study hasn’t changed much in the last 100 years. Students still make decisions based on intuition, not evidence. Research shows that only a fraction of students have received advice about studying, and only a fraction of that advice is based on evidence. The time is coming to change all that. Recently, a subfield of cognitive psychology called Self-Regulated Learning has coalesced around the idea of researching learning and memory targeted toward making recommendations about how students should study. This research is complemented by parallel analysis designed to identify and correct common misconceptions about good study habits that hold students back from learning to their full potential. Research in this area looks at issues like when it is valuable to re-read versus test oneself, the optimal times at which to schedule studying to maximize learning, the role of context in education, the value of coming up with questions, and the power of teaching as a way to learn. 

【Sample research topics】

  • Do people learn more by copying their notes or testing themselves on what their messages say?

  • Is making flashcards more or less effective than studying critical terms from a book. 

  • Is it more efficient to use a pre-made set of flashcards or write out flashcards for oneself before beginning to learn?

  • Is it better to receive feedback on a test right away or after a delay? 

  • Is it better to read ahead and then come back to the material when it’s covered in class, or to wait until the material is protected? 

  • Do students learn more from textbooks that include many questions than from books that don’t? 

  • Do speed reading apps help, or do they increase speed at the expense of comprehension? 

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