By Leonid Tunik
My parents have always told me to study in a quiet spot, focus on one topic, and avoid cramming. I've passed the same wisdom to all the young students in my family. Every published textbook and study skills book on the market has the same advice, but apparently only the last bit is supported by recent cognitive research. The New York Times recently reported this bit of advice in Forget What You know About Good Study Habits: "...instead of sticking to one study location, simply alternating the room where a person studies improves retention. So does studying distinct but related skills or concepts in one sitting, rather than focusing intensely on a single thing."
As well, pseudo-scientific notions about right-brained and left-brained learners are being debunked by new research. It seems that learning through multiple senses is beneficial to retaining materials. Frequent quizzing also seems to help, although it is more effective when questions are not of the same exact type, as is often the case with computer-gradable quizzes used in many schools. This notion seems to support "quizzing" your kids about what they learned in school each day, even if they hate you for it.
I hope this helps. Happy learning.