Author Dr Celine Mullins, Psychologist, Author of ‘Our Learning Brain’ and ‘Developing Learning Habits’
Learning with digital tools
Students using digital learning tools and technology become more engaged in the process and more interested in growing their knowledge base. They may not even realise that they’re actively learning since they’re learning through engaging methods such as peer education, teamwork, problem-solving, reverse teaching, concept maps, gamification, staging, role-playing, and storytelling.
Digital, In addition, converts the learning provides better context, a greater sense of perspective, and more engaging activities than traditional education methods. This allows students to better connect with the learning material. They often offer a more interesting and involving way to digest information which is reflected in their retention rates and test scores. Also, when students can track their progress, they show improved motivation and accountability.
How Skilly implements Digital Learning:
Skilly has uniquely combined the soft skill content that underpins wellbeing skills in schools with a versatile tool that aligns with the growing trend in digital learning. Additionally, the tool has been designed to incorporate many of the principles that showcase best practices in learning science as discussed below.
The Learning science:
When people learn large amounts of information, they can retain it only for a particular time frame. However, if that information isn’t considered ‘crucial’ to the tasks at hand, the knowledge tends to degrade over time.
Microlearning is an approach to learning new information in small chunks at a time. Typically, microlearning sessions are under ten minutes and can take as little as one minute to complete.
Research completed by Hermann Ebbinghaus in the 1800s gave us our first insight into how we retain information (also discussed below). He found that when a person first learns something, they retain all that information, but retention decreases even in the first 20 minutes.
Then, as days pass beyond learning that information, memory retention drops further. Ebbinghaus demonstrated that we typically lose 80% of the knowledge we have learned within a month of learning it.
But if the information is presented across several days and weeks, the learner retains more and more of it. Therefore, splitting learning content into small pieces and recalling different parts of it over time can help improve knowledge retention and utilise that information.
How Skilly implements spaced Micro-Learning:
Skilly breaks down skills into micro-chunks of knowledge that conform with learners' learning habits, making it easy to consume and retain the data, as well as to capture the essence of the skill that learners later reflect on. In addition, Skilly provides small “injections” of information that enable the learner to review and put into practice what is being learned.
Skilly enables the learner to build on the learning piece through a practice element where there is accountability to do it. This helps to reinforce knowledge and memory and facilitates the embedding process. Skilly provides a solution to space out the learning by allowing the teacher to establish customisable practice programmes to ensure that content is accessible in a predetermined time frame or sequence.
The Learning science:
The challenge for us in learning is to make time for repeating. Daily duties, tasks and immediate needs tend to be prioritised in life. But structuring deliberate opportunities for repetition will increase the return on investment.
In addition, Psychologists' study of memory and repetition dates to experimental psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus .69 His most notable finding, the ‘forgetting curve’, describes the exponential loss of information that one has learned. The sharpest decline in forgetting occurs in the first 20 minutes, though the decay is significant through the first hour.
In looking to build new skills and create new habits, we need to find a way to repeat them until the new behaviour is consolidated. Consolidation, for example, is influenced by levels of glutamate – it takes time, repetition, and a conscious choice to keep us on the track towards long-term success with the change.
The consolidation of new neural pathways takes longer than the motivation to change (or learn) lasts. When attempting to build new skills and create new habits, change takes planning and discipline to build repetition.
How Skilly implements repetition:
Skilly helps this process as skill lesson plans are composed in tailored and structured learning pathways. In addition, the learner receives spaced reminders to support the repetition required to retain the information, which can be tracked and repeated over the school term.
The Learning science:
The hippocampus is one of the main areas for storing memories. Associating items in memory is one of the main jobs - binding all the memory elements is crucial to remember. Without self-reflection, we do not make the information relevant to us in our lives. When data is reflected on and the learner knows how it is pertinent to their own life, the knowledge is more likely to embed.
When the learner reflects on their experience, it activates the temporal, integrative cortex. As the learner reflects on that information, they are invited to think about what to do about that experience or behave differently.
They start to make plans to integrate this into their day and week. That’s all happening in the frontal integrative cortex, the brain area that helps us plan and execute plans. As more of the brain is utilised, the learning is more likely to stick.
How Skilly implements self-reflection:
Skilly creates an opportunity to self-reflect to associate what we are learning with what we already know, which embeds the memory. Additionally, the system provides the opportunity to capture that reflection in various forms (text, video, or audio) that make this system highly accessible to learners with different learning needs.
Learning with Multimedia content
The Learning science:
When we consider the biological processes involving reward pathways in the brain, we can understand how to take advantage of this process to help us develop and continue the new behaviours we want to follow. The reward circuits provide rushes of positive feeling and feel-good chemicals – endorphins – to ‘reward’ whatever we are doing.
Therefore, we need to consider whatever we can establish that motivates us and keeps us accountable for repeating new behaviours and obtaining a positive feeling repeatedly after the motivation to act has waned.
Something that is novel tends to stick in the memory. Our brain, particularly our hippocampus, is particularly attuned to novelty. Something unexpected tends to grab our attention, which we now know is the gateway to memory. This gateway has been proven through research in animals and humans. For example, a rat with a damaged hippocampus won’t notice when you move something around in its cage, while the other rats will. A human presented with something unexpected will show a distinctive pattern of electrical brain activity.
How Skilly implements multi-media content:
Skilly’s capacity for various media skill content creates novelty and makes the solution more accessible to learners with different needs. In addition, Skilly allows learners to provide their feedback using several communication tools (text, video, audio) that converts the student experience into an engaging journey.