6 Ways To Enhance Active Recall In eLearning
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How To Enhance Active Recall In eLearning

There are two distinct methods of reviewing information: passive and active. Passive reviews and recaps require minimal interaction. Online learners simply read text or listen to a lecture in the hopes that they’ll absorb some of the takeaways. Active recall involves more effort and concentration. Online learners must link the information to a problem or question that prompts the brain to take notice. Active recall is like shining a spotlight on the essential ideas and concepts. The mind is forced to focus on the subject and move it to long-term memory. Here are 6 of the most effective ways to incorporate active recall techniques into your eLearning course design.

1. Offer A Pop Quiz

The mere presence of a question forces our minds to pay attention and focus on the topic. Humans are curious and inquisitive. When there is a question, we feel the need to search for an answer. You can appeal to this basic human instinct by integrating a pop quiz into your eLearning course design. Concentrate on the key takeaways, as well as important details that indicate whether they've paid attention. For example, a sub-topic that was mentioned briefly in the eLearning activity. Even the possibility of a pop quiz will increase online learner engagement. This is because they know that an unexpected eLearning assessment could happen at any time, which prompts them to pay attention. Multiple choice questions are great for measuring fact-based knowledge, but open-ended questions are best for qualitative analysis. For instance, determining their level of task proficiency and whether they know all of the steps involved.

2. Present A Problem

Working through a problem can significantly improve knowledge retention. Online learners must use all of the preexisting knowledge they've acquired to find a viable solution. This includes information that they've just learned, as well as ideas and concepts that are already stored in their long-term memory. Ideally, the problem should be challenging enough to prevent boredom, but not so difficult that it frustrates your audience. Stories, real world examples, case studies, and branching scenarios are some of the most effective problem-solving vehicles. Each of these eLearning activities tie into real world situations while allowing the online learner to apply practical knowledge.

3. Ask Compelling Questions

Pop quizzes are just one way to incorporate online questions into your eLearning course design. Answering thought provoking questions also requires active recall of information, as online learners must challenge assumptions and recall key ideas. Rather than asking the usual "what did you take away from this eLearning experience", opt for more creative inquiries. Powerful and profound questions form a deeper connection with the online learner. They prompt them to think about how they'll use the information to overcome challenges and achieve goals. For example, the question "how will you use this newfound knowledge to improve your performance?" facilitates reflection and self-analysis.

4. Space Your Active Recall Sessions

Encourage online learners to actively recall the eLearning content right after they complete the online module or activity. Then have them repeat the process some time later. However, each time they should employ a different technique to recall the information. This is known as "spaced learning", which reinforces knowledge and ties new concepts to preexisting ideas. For example, summarizing the information right after learning is relatively simple, because it's still fresh in the mind. The key concepts are still tucked away in the short-term memory. However, as time passes, the information tends to diminish. Spacing active recall eLearning activities gives the brain multiple opportunities to move the ideas to long-term memory.

5. Encourage Creative Recapping

Let's be honest, summarizing isn't the most riveting eLearning activity. In fact, most online learners feel a combination of stress and boredom when they're asked to recap the information. They are stressed because they aren't sure if they will be able to remember everything. They are bored because they are being forced to remember everything. However, you can make it engaging and entertaining by taking a creative approach. Invite online learners to create a blog or online slideshow that highlights the main ideas. Divide them into groups, assign them a prompt or problem, and ask them to create an online video presentation. All of these eLearning activities require critical thinking and creative skills. But they also give online learners the chance to improve their tech skills and discover new online resources. For example, they must use articles, websites, and eLearning authoring tools to enhance their active recall skills.

6. Stress The Benefits Of Notetaking

Sure, notetaking is a somewhat "archaic" study habit, but it's also one of the most effective. Encourage online learners to take notes during the eLearning experience. They can use note taking apps or even create mind maps to focus on specific sub-skills or concepts. Creating their own notes not only keeps them engaged with the eLearning content, but it also produces a valuable reference tool. They can go back and look at their notes, in their own words, when the information starts to fade from memory. In addition, notes are a more personal learning resource. Instead of simply reading text time and again to improve comprehension, they can use memory devices that cater to their needs. For example, charts or sketches that represent the main ideas. These notes are easily shared with peers as well, which facilitates social learning.

Active recall may be a new concept for many online learners, as a majority of them still probably use traditional summarization methods. For example, rephrasing the eLearning content or taking bullet point notes. However, you can use these 6 ways to enhance online learners' active recall skills and transform the way they recall information.

Are you looking for other knowledge retention techniques? Read the article Practice Makes Perfect: 6 Tips To Improve Knowledge Retention In eLearning to discover how to improve knowledge retention through practice and repetition.

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