Learning strategies for Visible Learning

Research suggests that 4 large learning strategies hold the key to Independent (Visible) Learning:

Multiple ways of knowing: The major message is that multiple ways of presenting material needs to be provided close to each other with minimum distracting material. We can only process so much at a time, but we need multiple ways of seeing new ideas without overloading our working memory.

  • Ideas that need to be associated should be presented near to each other in space, and time
  • Materials and Multimedia should explicitly link related ideas and minimise distracting irrelevant material
  • The information presented to the learners should not overload working memory

Multiple ways of interacting – we learn best by interacting with the ideas, by deliberately rephrasing the ideas, and by finding ‘ coat hangers’ to hang to link previous notions (or examples) – particularly when there is tension between what we know and what we are encountering. We need to be taught explicitly how to process such learning.

  • Outlining, integrating and synthesizing information produces better learning than rereading materials or other passive strategies
  • Stories and example cases tend to be remembered better than facts and abstract principles
  • Deep reasoning and learning is stimulated by problems that create obstacles to the goals, such as contradictions, conflicts and anomalies – and students need to be told that this is a normal part of learning

Multiple opportunities for practising – most of us, struggling or gifted, need multiple opportunities to learn new ideas, preferably over time, and we need to see the purpose of deliberately practising

  • An understanding of an abstract concept improves with multiple and varied examples.
  • Spaced schedules of studying produce better long – term retention than a single session.
  • To maintain engaged and sustained learning, there is a need to see value and purpose in the practice, and a need to develop a growing sense of confidence when facing challenges in this learning.

Knowing what we are learning – when we learn, we can make many errors, go in the wrong direction, learn wrong information, and meet many challenges – and thus we are often dependent on ‘just in time, just for me’ feedback to ensure that we move efficiently and effectively towards the success criteria.

  • Making errors is often a necessity for learning to occur; students need safe environments in which they can go beyond their comfort levels, make and learn from errors, and know when they have erred.
  • Learning the wrong material can be reduced when feedback is immediate.
  • Challenges help to make learning easier and thereby have positive effects on long-term retention.