AP Psychology
Unit 2: Cognition ~ Learning

Weiten Ch 7
Myers Ch 8

Stages in the Learning Process

A learning curve is a way to graph the process of learning.

  • Usually graphed as an S-shaped curve --> Performance measure on Y-axis, Number of attempts on X-axis
  • The initial part of the curve rises slowly as a person becomes familiar with basic components of a skill.
  • The steep ascending phase occurs when there is enough experience with rudiments or simple components to start "putting it all together."
  • Rapid progress follows until the skill "hits a ceiling" or stabilizes at a high level --> PLATEAU

Types of Remembering

Recognition – measure of retention requires subjects to select previously learned information from an array of options

Recall – measure of retention requires subjects to reproduce information on their own without any cues

Relearning (method of savings) – measure of retention requires a subject to memorize ­­information a second time to determine how much time or how many practice trials are saved by having learned it before.

Factors that Affect Learning

Practice (Rehearsal)

  • Massed practice --> continuous practice - CRAMMING, produces speedy short term memory learning and FEELINGS of confidence due to visual familiarity--> ‘those who learn quickly forget quickly’
  • Distributed practice – spread out over time. After you learn something further study becomes inefficient (law of diminishing returns) so better to come back to it later when you need some relearning --> FOR THE LOVE OF GOD: SPACED INTERVALS!!?!?!
  • TESTING EFFECT – we will learn better in the format we will be asked to remember. So multiple choice practice for a test is better than rereading chapter.

Whole v. Part Learning

  • Break information or technique into parts
  • Practice each part
  • Recombine into a whole and practice as a whole

Meaningfulness

  • We have trouble processing new information that is not meaningful or related to our experience.
  • That is why we are more likely to remember the example rather than the definition, your lecture notes rather than the lecture.
  • “THE TIME YOU SPEND THINKING ABOUT MATERIAL YOU ARE READING AND RELATING IT TO PREVIOUSLY STORED MATERIAL IS ABOUT THE MOST USEFUL THING YOU CAN DO IN LEARNING ANY NEW SUBJECT MATTER”

Transfer

  • Positive transfer - What is learned in one context enhances learning in a different setting.
  • Negative transfer - What is learned in one context hinders or delays learning in a different setting.

Mnemonic Devices - Make abstract material meaningful - creates a second encoding, and two codes are better than one.

  • ACROSTICS are poems or phrases in which the first letter of each word or line functions as a cue to help you recall information to be remembered --> Never Eat Soggy Waffles for cardinal directions North East South West
  • ACRONYMS are words where the letters of each word stand for a word. --> ROY G BIV for the rainbow colors Red Orange Yellow Green Blue Indigo Violet.
  • Rhymes - “I before E except after C”
  • Link method - forming mental images of items to be remembered in a way that links them together. More bizarre = better.
  • Method of loci – involves taking an imaginary walk along a familiar path where images of items are associated with certain locations.

Overlearning - additional rehearsal increases retention, especially when practice is spread over time

Feedback - immediate feedback improves memory. Meaningful feedback (tips for improvement, corrections) is better than simple numerical feedback (you passed/failed). Feedback with questions is even better.

Want MORE Learning?!?