In today’s posting, Jackie Gerstein points out that learning should be natural, fun and engaging as opposed to difficult, painful, and not fun. She offers several learning strategies together with references and a video that allow us to think of positive ways to encourage learning and study. Gerstein introduces the following five concepts to guide learning, some are more directed towards learners, but can be adapted into teaching techniques:

  • “Productive Failure” where students are set up to fail on certain problems in order to encourage thinking about the problem differently;
  • “Spaced-Out Practice”recognizes that cramming does not work as a learning tool. Instead, students should be engaged throughout the semester to learn as they go;
  • “Take Breaks to Allow for Incubation” acknowledges that taking a time out when one is stuck with a problem can be the best way to come up with new ideas or perspectives;
  • “Try Alternate or More Fun Ways to Learn” encourages the student or the instructor to make learning fun, or different so that most can take advantage of it even when they struggle;
  • “Apply Learning Often and in Meaningful Contexts” is a reminder for professors to relate the material to the students’ lives as much as possible.