Recalling past learning is an important part of successful course authoring because it improves long term memory retrieval and storage strength. It’s also the best way to help learners acquire new information and successfully transfer it from short term memory to long term memory. Here’s how it works.

Recalling past learning and instructional scaffolding

When training lessons require learners to recall previously learned information, this is called spaced learning. Spaced learning helps cement information in long term memory. It is so effective, it should always be the foundation for your course authoring.

Moreover, when learners connect new learning to something they have already learned, there is a better chance that they will remember the new information. This is known as Instructional Scaffolding. Much like a scaffold used in construction, instructional scaffolding creates a temporary support for learners as they learn new material. With this technique, previously learned material becomes the framework upon which subsequent lessons are built.

Therefore, information recall has two important benefits:

  1. Retrieving previously learned information increases long term memory strength of the recalled information
  2. Attaching new information to recalled information increases the likelihood that new information is remembered

The best approach to course authoring leverages these benefits. Each lesson is a mix of previously learned information and new material, with lessons designed to build upon each other. With retrieval of information, learners reconstruct knowledge they already possess and reframe it with the newly learned material. This encourages learners to create patterns, cues, and connections to new information and relate it back to previously learned material. It’s a proven system for success that increases retention, thereby improving learner results.

Graphic representations of data and concepts are also correlated to better recall. With these visual representations, learners can create pictures that depict the connections between interrelated topics. Here’s our crash course on visual learning techniques.