Learning has a life cycle – from attention to encoding, storage, retrieval, and finally to forgetting/ retention, each stage is crucial to the process of learning. And across these processes, the information undergoes a significant transformation. However, it is uncommon to think about learning as a process.
Educators, learning specialists, and curriculum developers spend a lot of time thinking about what to teach and how to present the content. Relatively little time is spent on thinking about how to support the learning after the content has been delivered – in other words, how to support learning through its entire life cycle.
But why is this important? It is common knowledge that we tend to forget most of what we learn within the first few days or weeks. Even if we do remember, the memory is modified and may not be 100% accurate. And finally, even if we remember accurately, we may not be able to apply it successfully to solve problems. It is a complex problem – one that is yet to be solved at scale. We believe it starts with thinking about learning as a process – the life cycle approach to learning.
With Fractal LXP, we are building a system that offers full life cycle support for learning.
Fractal is a new-age learning experience platform built using principles of evidence-based learning. It is an integrated platform that helps schools and higher educational institutions to deploy online and live virtual classes, test, assess, and track performance, and support learners through the full cycle of learning.
Interested? Read on to see how Fractal supports the learner’s journey from attention through encoding, storage, and retrieval, to retention.
Attention: Attention is fickle and unless we pay attention, we will not learn. That is why we have spent hundreds of hours designing a user-friendly and intuitive interface that draws the learner in. And when they come in, we ensure that new and relevant content is presented to hold the learners’ attention. Mobile and e-mail notifications draw attention to what needs to be done. Learner dashboards and leader boards (coming soon!) motivate the learner to focus on their learning and complete it.
Attention is a scarce and expensive resource – so, we have worked hard to make the content accessible – navigation is seamless, recommendations customize the learner experience, and Voice Search pulls up content with a single voice command.
Encoding: When we receive new information, we process it and associate it with existing information – this is the key to encoding. While we cannot directly influence how a learner processes the information and makes associations, we definitely help support it.
Our clean and minimalist interface and seamless navigation ensure we minimize distraction while learners process their information. The timed release of content enables educators to sequence the learning and define prerequisites correctly so that learners make the right associations as they learn. Effective encoding leads to long-lasting memory – a key to learning.
Storage: The line between encoding and storage is not very defined – however, as information moves into long term memory, two distinct processes are at work – elaboration and consolidation. Elaboration is the process of making connections or associations with related, relevant, or similar concepts that already exist in memory. Consolidation involves stabilizing the new information for creating enduring memories.
Microlearning provides opportunities for supporting elaboration and consolidation. By providing information in small chunks and adding related content as microlearning videos, case studies, quiz, and practice sessions, learning can be set up for long term retention. Used correctly, microlearning can be used to build mini-retrieval and -feedback loops.
Fractal is microlearning enabled and allows drip-release of learning content. What’s more, it supports content in any format – videos, e-learning, podcasts, documents, interactives, live virtual sessions, and embedded links. Notifications support the effective release of microlearning modules.
Retrieval: Repeated retrieval of information etches the memory traces deeper – making them permanent. So, the key purpose of testing is not really to measure what has been learnt but to reinforce it. The more the memory is retrieved through tests, the better the retention. Testing also helps identify what hasn’t been moved to long term storage – and therefore needs to be learnt again. Fractal has a comprehensive quiz, assessment, and assignment capabilities – that help you support information retrieval.
Forgetting: Forgetting is an essential part of learning. More than a century back, Ebbinghaus found that we sometimes forget more than 50% of what we learn, within 24 hours. But what is interesting is, if we repeat the learning, after we have apparently forgotten it, we learn it faster – and retain it for longer.
So, make your learning stick. If you are teaching something important – reinforce it by releasing microlearning modules over a period of time. Keep them interesting by deploying them in multiple formats - videos, e-learning, podcasts, documents, interactives, live virtual sessions and embedded links. And watch your learners learn better and faster.
What’s more, you can manage the different phases in the learning cycle through efficient use of notifications and recommendations; motivate learners using points and leaderboards; map their learning to a skill matrix; and provide great learning experiences by integrating virtual labs, 3D interactives, and other learning and collaboration tools.
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