Reviewing: the Forgotten Step of Learning Process

The human brain retains information when one or more of the following occur:

a) Reviewed several times over a period of time

b) Used or applied several times over a period of time

c) Provided a significantly new understanding to the individual

d) The emotional involvement caused was high.

e) Connected to a bigger picture (maybe to something that is clearly stored in memory)

So reading and piling up on books throughout school, college, and even personal collection, why don’t we retain as much we expect us to? Because we lack follow through. I find myself often thinking — only if I could remember these valuable information for years to come. But then next semester comes and we forget half the stuff (statistically speaking — even more). 
 
One solution is that educational entities make system review-inclusive. What if the learning was condensed to 3 years instead of 4 and the last year was only review and maybe even application/practice. 
 
One counter-reasoning is that it will reduce the actual learning or the scope of it. And if the actual learning scope is kept the same, there will be added stress on the individual. But I say that is a small trade-off (if it is at all) for the more permanent, more connected and clear understanding gained by review and better yet, application too.

By not reviewing enough (yes we aren’t), we are basically denying ourselves

  • a significantly higher level of retention, or useful learning (you can’t use what you can’t remember)
  • potential newer understanding in the same stuff studied before. Because we tend to often see new sides of the topic when we review it.

Call to action is — instead of planning on finishing 4 books this year, focus on finishing them (or fewer) and reviewing them in periods. You can keep a log, aim to revise the notes/summaries of the books 3 times that year (or as per your wish). So — review several times over a long time period.

This can also be done with academic study. To actually use the education you’re getting in college, review the short notes over the course of months or years, and connect them to the bigger picture.

Now if you’re are in a position to make changes in the education system: Please remake our system to be more review friendly and make it less like robot-eating-information-everywhere.