Many people consider the human brain to be the greatest thing in the universe. That's an extraordinary claim because we don't even know what is in the vast majority of the known universe. But it's credible, because the miracle of consciousness is one that we cannot even attempt to unravel properly. However, despite the magnificence of the human brain, it still falls into the trap of forgetfulness. Humans are generally very forgetful species, and that trait makes it hard for us to learn things.
It's even a bigger problem for educators who try to create courses for learners. Thankfully, there are tried and tested ways to improve the knowledge retention of students. And in this article, we will be going through these tried and tested methods.
Tell the Story in Different Ways
It's a well-documented fact that not all learners learn the same. Many students learn better through images, and others learn better through hearing. Some are even auditory learners. What this means is that educators who present a course in one manner run the risk of alienating other students, and leaving them behind. These learners will also have a lot of problems retaining the knowledge they've been exposed to, because it wasn't exposed to them via their preferred medium. .
One way to solve this problem is by teaching in different forms. Flesh out the topic, and introduce it to students in different formats. After explaining the basic concept to them in a class (whether physically or online), show them a video. Afterwards, you could have them listen to a podcast on it. If possible, you could give them exercises that will teach the basic concept in practical terms. Fleshing out the course this way will certainly aid knowledge retention!
You may love the sound of the voice, but the fact is that most people don't want to listen to educators speak for hours. They want to feel like they are a part of the process, and the best way to do that is to make sure that learners take an active part in the courses they are studying. One way to do this is by adding quizzes and group activities to courses. With this, you're encouraging them to participate, and they can take an active part in their learning process. Interactive courses also ensure that students have fun, and at the same time have a better chance of retaining the knowledge because they were active participants in the learning process.
Many studies have discovered that learners usually gain a lot more from courses that are delivered in tiny doses, than courses where they are required to understand huge swathes of course material at a time. This means that educators should focus on breaking up huge courses into small manageable bits. This will surely help manage fatigue, and will generally lead to better knowledge retention among students. After all, they won't be able to remember much if they are worn out from fatigue.
It doesn't matter if you're teaching a class of ten-year-olds or a class of undergraduates; everyone loves a relatable lesson. If there's a way that the course you're teaching could become more relatable to the people you're teaching, then you should explore that possibility. It won't hurt, and it will be more effective in imprinting the course in the minds of the people you're teaching. You could even use memes to explain difficult concepts— as long as they get the job done. Another way to keep students interested in the course high is to use storytelling to explain the lesson.
Testing students is a great way of getting them to put their knowledge to good use, but asking them to use that knowledge to solve problems is a lot more effective. Assigning tasks where students have to use knowledge from the course to solve problems will help them retain what they've learnt for longer. If, for example, you recently offered a course on Excel, you could give them tasks to complete using the software. That way, they'll be able to immediately put their knowledge to work will be able to retain it much better.
Every learner needs to build a learning journey. If you just teach one topic and stop, you run the risk of leaving students unmotivated, especially if they aren't at the pinnacle of the field. A great way to motivate students to be interested in whatever they are studying is to give them access to where they can build on that knowledge and improve. Giving them access to these opportunities will also encourage them to build on previous knowledge, which would improve knowledge retention.
One of the best ways to improve knowledge retention among students is to make sure you're teaching what students want to learn. If your students have no interest whatsoever in what you're teaching, they'll not remember it, regardless of whatever you do or say. If they have interest, they have no incentive to remember it. And if they don't have that incentive, you might as well be teaching a wall. That's why it's important to have a feel of what students want to learn or expect to learn and try to weave elements of your lesson around that.
All of this may look like a lot of work, especially if you're trying to teach through lockdowns and the Covid-19 pandemic. It could also be difficult because most courses have to be taught online. However, if you're hosting your classes on a reliable platform, you'd find it easier to put all these techniques into practice, and get the best out of your learners.