Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Shake Things Up - Novelty Boosts Learning

Novelty is more efficient at boosting general learning efficiency than repetition alone. In a recent paper in Neuron (not free access yet), Dr Emrah Düzel, UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, commented, “Current practice by behavioural psychologists aims to improve memory through repeatedly exposing a person to information – just as we do when we revise for an exam. This study shows that revising is more effective if you mix new facts in with the old. You actually learn better, even though your brain is also tied up with new information."

Can novelty teaching be taught? Easier said than done, some educational leaders privately admit- temperaments and personalities-preferring novelty seem rarely content to jump through all the hoops necessary for conventional classroom teaching, and the ones that make it through are the least likely to make teaching a lifelong profession.

And yet the novelty-based learning is not only biologically more effective for increasing long-term remembering and exploratory learning, but also central to creative expertise and the preferred learning style of many boys.

Some interesting links below. Schweizer's thesis explores an idea that creativity consists of novelty-seeking, novelty-finding, and novelty-production. This idea has definite implications for education if we consider that one of the chief goals of education should be not to main the status quo, but to improve the world for the better. How often are habits or skills of creative expertise considered to be a mandatory part of the educational curriculum?

Lure of the Unknown pdf
Reward-Motivated Learning fMRI pdf
Novelty aids learning
Novelty-Seeking, Creativity, and Innovation Schweizer Thesis pdf
Children's Different Preferences for Novelty Abstract
Novelty Boosts Exploratory Learning in Boys

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1 comment:

  1. I'm so glad to see this being studied. I'll forward this info! Thanks!

    former public school teacher turned unschooling mom