Learning can be modeled like a Rolodex: Shame students have no idea what they are!

Growing up in the 80’s and 90s’ I have the faintest memory of a world of pre-mobile phone ways of storing phone numbers, mainly the Rolodex. With the recent resurgence of cognitive sciences in learning, we can model many aspects of memory, and the techniques used to improve it by using the idea of a rolodex.

When you are tested on an idea by a question, your brain flicks through the rolodex to find the correct entry for the topic being assessed. When you get to the entry, the “card” is removed and the information retrieved. This information should be dual encoded, using shorthand for key concepts. From this shorthand, ideas should be easy to elaborate on to allow swift answering of questions. The cards should be sorted in categories, as part of a grand “schema” and then sequenced in a way that allows easy sorting and storing of new information. I guess this makes the rolodex a concrete example of a memory and learning!

It’s just a shame that modern day pupils wont remember what they are!

Downloadable in the resources section

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