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Previous research has shown that if you're young and healthy, mistakes enhance learning. But people with memory impairments, such as ageing, benefit most from error-free learning. New research challenges all of this. Researchers found that the types of clues make the difference.
If the test is conceptual (relating new learning to information we already know), young and older people remember more from a test they didn't get right. For example, asking to name a pastry, followed by feedback that "it was a tart", rather than just giving the answer without being tested on it. With non-conceptual information, errors will not help.
In reality, it's common to write down a wrong answer and not find out the correct answer for a while. Trying to find the correct answer afterwards lead people to remember more.
There is no evidence that it's good to make errors on purpose. Teachers need to ensure that the problems students face are challenging enough, so they are engaged in productive struggle. If they don't make mistakes, they may not be learning.
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While we may not like to admit this, we all are making a lot of bad decisions, be it our personal lives, careers or in our jobs. Here is what research says about making good decisions:
If there is too much information, we tend to make the wrong decision, and even if our decision is well-researched and considered right, we end up dissatisfied.
The right information, even if less, provides clarity to make the right decision.
A gut feeling, or an instinct, is often the right path, and points towards the right decision.
Ultra-rational, logical and unemotional decision-making does not guarantee that the decision taken will be the right one.
Learning and memory benefit from active involvement. When you add speaking to it, the content becomes more defined in long-term memory and more memorable.
Most of us can type very fast, but research shows writing your notes by hand will allow you to learn more.
Taking notes by hand enhances both comprehension and retention.
Studying over a period of time is more effective than waiting until the last minute.
Distributed practice works because each time you try to remember something, the memory becomes harder to forget.