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Retaining information

To help assist the student to retain the information taught, I use visual examples and repetition. For example, when I am teaching a software class, I show them visually how something is done, repeat the process, then have them do the procedure on their own. Doing this in stages helps the student learn better without being overwhelmed.

I very much agree. I teach a dental materials class and retaining information seems to work best when I discuss the material, visually show how it is used in a lab setting, demonstrate how it is used on an actual patient, and then let them practice to competency, they never need to be shown again.

I also agree. I teach phlebotomy students (vampires)and after a lecture I will then take the class into the lab for a demonstration ran by other students to see if the information has sunk in.

Hi Steven,
This is the verbalize and then visualize model of teaching and it is very effective. The students hear the content in lecture and then get to see it applied in the lab. This really helps with content retention as you know. Great job.

I think that repeating the key points of a discussion in different ways with different examples, then asking the students questions like- what did I say?, perhaps they were not listening the first time?
and/or- what did I mean, explain it to me in a different way, help to clairafy a point. keeping things basic and on point is key.

I work in very much the same fashion. In my classes we do a hands-on lecture where the students are doing the work on the software with me as mine is projected on a screen for them. We discuss it as we work through the lecture. Upon completion of the lecture portion, they work on labs that are designed to reinforce what we did as a group. Labs are followed by projects that show their ability to perform the tasks learned. Projects are followed by exams that test them in the software. Working through this process helps to keep the information in their brains and makes the software easy for them to learns.

I also combine visual examples and repetition to assist the student in retaining the course information. The visuals vary depending on the course taught. Teaching textiles is a challenge because the students must learn a course specific vocabulary while engaging their tactile and visual senses. It this course, I use a swatch book, charts and large pieces of fabric. I use a building block repetition technique and create an expanding chart to make sure the students know the vocabulary. At the beginning of each class, I review the vocabulary chart from the previous classes. I then add a few more vocabulary blocks to the chart. The students can immediately see the connection to the original vocabulary blocks and have reviewed and increased the material every class.

I agree repetition in various manners is very helpful in retention.However be careful to keep it fun & not to become redundant. J.P.

Hi John,
Good advice for all of us to follow. We need to vary the approach to repetition so it keeps the students engaged and enjoyed the learning process.

i teach in the same way,presentation then walk thru the labs, then let them do it on there own so that they get the most out of it.


The classes I instruct are only 5 ½ weeks long. The students are introduced to a very large amount of new material. As a result, repetition is minimal in order to abide by the time line. Do you have any suggestions on how to increase or maximize retention with extreme time limitations?

Hi Bruce,
Good strategy. Thanks for sharing it with us. I know it will help other instructors as they are trying to get their students to retain certain information.

I do the same thing, I give a little demo going over what we just discussed and show them how to do it and then let them try it out. Then I also show how it is used in the real world and why it is so important to understand this information.

In the medical courses that are taught there is no room for lack of retention. Frequent testing is necessary as well as hands on to evaluate their skills. If a student cannot retain the material necessary for a career in medicine, then they better look somewhere else for another career. given that , the best way for retention is constant hands on.

Hi Barbara,
Right you are. Certain fields require skill sets that are specific and totally internalized by the learner. Medicine being one of those. This is why instructors in your field need to look for ways to offer repetition of content in a way that will lead to retention.

I think repetion of the task is a good way to learn and master what needs to be learned. Teach it, demonstrate it and then have the learner perform it.

I agree. Repetition. Many students have told me they love my class because of the repetition. I often worry that it is monotonous but they love it.

Hi Wendy,
For many courses repetition is essential so the students will acquired the needed terms or skills. You have had success with using repetition in your courses so I am wondering if you would share some of your strategies for keeping repetition interesting and engaging for the students while covering the material?
Thanks for your input on this.

As a culinary instructor I am constently using a demo for each recipe. During production I am also hands on helping them remember what i showed them in the demo.

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