Educators educating Educators

Jan 19

The 7-Second Rule




For further insights into this topic, refer to "Forgetting Curve" in Long-Term Memory


Remembering information initially

The first few moments of learning give us the ability to remember something and the first few seconds of encoding determines whether something that is initially processed will also be remembered.

Elaborate rehearsal is the most effective means of robust retrieval. Thinking or talking about an event immediately after it has occurred enhances memory for that event. Law enforcement officers know this well and utilize this principle by having a witness recall information as soon as possible after a crime.

Why is elaborate rehearsal (repetition) important? Memories may not be fixed at the moment of learning, but repetition, doled out in specific time intervals, is the fixative. Research has shown that the typical human braincan hold about 7 pieces of information for less than 7 seconds. You need to re-expose yourself to the information, which is called maintenance rehearsal.

Ebbinghaus showed the power of repetition almost 100 years ago. He created forgetting curves, which showed that a great deal of memory loss occurs in the first hour or two after the initial exposure and demonstrated that this loss could be lessened by elaborate and deliberate repetition. Furthermore, the timing of re-exposure is critical.





News

“If we can control the attention of the child, we solve the problems of education.” Maria Montessori

This month Ed Tip will examine how to improve students' learning by activating their attention.