Retrieval is so effective is that it strengthens the neural pathways associated with a given concept.
When you're attempting to recall an idea, method, or technique from memory, you're retrieving. Flash cards are a great example: They force you to recall an idea from memory, unlike a technique like highlighting where you're not burning anything into your brain.
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... to what you already know.
When you try to put a new idea into your own words, you're elaborating.
For example, if you're in physics class and trying to understand heat transfer, try to tie the concept into your real-life experiences, say, by imagining how a warm cup of coffee disperses heat into your hands.
When you work on a variety of things at once, you're interleaving.
If you're trying to understand a subject — from the basics of economics to hitting a pitch — you're going to learn better if you mix up your examples.
When you try to give an answer before it's given to you, you're generating.
In an academic setting, you could work finding your own answers before class starts. In a professional setting, you could supply your own ideas when you're stuck before talking with your boss.
When you take a few moments to review what happened with a project or meeting, you're reflecting.
Reflective writing is super powerful. You might ask yourself a few questions: What went well? Where can you improve? What does it remind you of? Reflective writing to be super powerful.
When you're using an acronym or image to recall something, you're using a mnemonic.
Example: The hall of fame includes abbreviations — Roy G. Biv for the colors of the spectrum ( Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet) — and rhyming, like "in 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue."
This related to the 2 types of mindsets: fixed and growth.
This means you repeat the same information across increasing intervals. The harder it feels to recall it, the stronger the effect.
Why it works: It makes your brain work harder to retrieve your knowledge, which actually helps you learn more effectively.
How to apply it: Revisit your summaries and test yourself on what you remember. What were the action points? Did you apply them? If not, what hindered you?