Pŵer Dysgu Ysbeidiol – Sut gall un tric syml eich helpu i ddysgu mwy mewn hanner yr amser.

Mae’n swnio’n rhy dda i fod yn wir ond ydy? Ond mae gwyddoniaeth wedi profi dro ar ôl tro bod estyn eich sesiynau dysgu dros gyfnod amser yn ffordd lawer mwy effeithiol o astudio na cheisio gwneud popeth ar yr un pryd.

Hanes Dysgu a Chof

Yn ôl yn y 1880au, dechreuodd gwyddonydd o’r enw Ebbinghaus gynnal cyfres o arbrofion ar effaith amser ar gof. I wneud hyn, ysgrifennodd gannoedd o ‘sillau disynnwyr’ wedi’u trefnu’n grwpiau o 12, a phrofodd ei allu i’w hadalw. Y canlyniad –  na ddylai fod yn syndod i neb –  oedd bod y geiriau disynnwyr wedi dod yn fwy anodd eu cofio gydag amser. Plotiodd ei ganlyniadau ar graff, a galwodd ei ganfyddiadau ‘Cromlin Anghofio’.

Picture of Ebbinghaus

Pe bai Ebbinghaus wedi gorffen ei arbrofion yno, mae’n ddigon tebygol na fyddai neb yn cofio amdano nawr. Ond, drwy gydol ei ymchwil, daeth ar draws rhywbeth sy’n dal i fod yn un o’r darganfyddiadau pwysicaf erioed ym maes dysgu.

Roedd Ebbinghaus am wybod faint o waith byddai angen ei wneud cyn y gallai gofio rhywbeth yn gyson. Darganfu fod angen ailadrodd rhestr o sillau disynnwyr 68 o weithiau cyn y gallai sgorio 100% yn gyson mewn prawf a osododd iddo ei hun wythnos wedyn. Unwaith eto, mae’n debygol nad oes dim byd newydd yno – rydym i gyd yn gyfarwydd â’r syniad bod rhywbeth yn fwy tebygol o aros yn y cof drwy ei ailadrodd dro ar ôl tro.

Ond, canfu hefyd y gallai sgorio 100% mewn prawf drwy ailadrodd rhywbeth 38 o weithiau yn unig, pe bai’n dosbarthu’r ailadroddiadau hyn dros amser. Felly, er enghraifft, gallai ailadrodd y rhestr 13 o weithiau un diwrnod, 13 o weithiau’r diwrnod nesaf a 12 y diwrnod wedyn. Mae hynny bron hanner yr amser yn astudio, ond canlyniad gwell. A dyna rywbeth a ddylai apelio at bawb!

Mae gwyddoniaeth wedi ymchwilio ymhellach i’r darganfyddiad hwn ac wedi canfod bod ysbeidiau optimaidd ar gyfer dosbarthu eich dysgu. Dywedwn eich bod am ddysgu rhestr o eiriau newydd mewn iaith newydd.

I gael y perfformiad gorau posib, dewch yn ôl at y deunydd rydych am ei ddysgu ar ôl ysbeidiau o un diwrnod, un wythnos, yna un mis.

Pam mae’n gweithio

Mae’n bosib eich bod wedi clywed y syniad o’r blaen – po fwyaf rydych yn meddwl am syniad, mwyaf y caiff ei wreiddio yn eich meddwl. Gallech weld y meddyliau hyn fel llwybrau drwy gae o wair – po fwyaf rydych yn cerdded ar eu hyd, mwyaf sefydledig y byddant.

O ran dysgu – dychmygwch fod angen i chi gofio dyddiadau nifer o achosion cyfraith pwysig. Os ydych yn ailymweld â’r deunydd bob dydd, mae’n debyg i gerdded i lawr yr un llwybr bob dydd. Ni fydd y llwybr yn newid gormod oherwydd yr oedd yno ddoe hefyd. Ond, dywedwch eich bod yn ei adael am wythnos. Pan ddychwelwch iddo, mae’r llwybr wedi tyfu’n wyllt a bydd angen i chi weithio’n fwy caled i gerdded drwy’r gwair. Efallai y bydd angen pladur arnoch, neu o leiaf esgidiau mwy. Ond erbyn diwedd y gwaith caled hwnnw, bydd gennych lwybr dyfnach o lawer – un y bydd yn haws cerdded ar ei hyd y tro nesaf i chi ddod y ffordd hon.

Mae’r un peth yn wir am ddysgu – po fwyaf caled bydd angen i chi weithio i adalw gwybodaeth i gof, mwyaf bydd y cynnydd yn eich dysgu. Mae damcaniaeth yn bodoli o’r enw Desired Difficulty – sy’n dweud yn syml y dylech wneud dysgu’n anodd i chi eich hun i gynyddu’ch gallu i adalw gwybodaeth.

Cam Gweithredu

Pryd bynnag byddwch yn astudio rhywbeth newydd, gwnewch nodyn mewn calendr neu ddyddiadur i adolygu’r deunydd hwnnw ar ddyddiad diweddarach. Cofiwch, dylai’r ysbaid cyntaf fod yn weddol fyr, yna gallwch gynyddu’r amser rhwng sesiynau dysgu yn raddol. Mae 1 diwrnod, 3 diwrnod, 1 wythnos, 1 mis yn gymhareb dda i roi cynnig arni i ddechrau. Does dim rhaid i chi ddilyn yr union gymarebau hyn – mae unrhyw ddosbarthu’n well na dim.

Os nad ydych chi wedi arfer â defnyddio dyddiadur neu galendr – mae meddalwedd gwych ar gael i’ch helpu i fod yn drefnus.

https://www.supermemo.com/ yw’r meddalwedd a ddeilliodd yn uniongyrchol o ganfyddiadau Wozniak (y myfyriwr meddygaeth Pwylaidd y cyfeiriais i ato).

http://ankisrs.net/ dyma un arall sy’n cael ei argymell – dwi ddim wedi treulio llawer o amser yn ymchwilio i hyn, ond dwi’n meddwl ei fod yn caniatáu i chi amserlennu’ch cardiau fflach atgoffa.

I ddysgu rhagor o Haciau Astudio a systemau dysgu – gwnewch ein cwrs ar-lein, ‘Dysgu Sut i Ddysgu’

Cofrestrwch ar gyfer ein gweithdai Haciau Astudio.

The Power of Spaced Learning – How One Simple Trick Can Help You Learn More in Half The Time

Sounds too good to be true right? But science has proved time and time again that spacing out your learning sessions over a period of time is a far more effective way to study than trying to do it all at once.

A History of Learning and Memory

Picture of Ebbinghaus

Back in the 1880s a scientist called Ebbinghaus began conducting a series of experiments on the effect of time on memory. To do this he wrote out hundreds of ‘nonsense syllables’ into lists of 12 and tested his ability to recall them. What he found, unsurprisingly, was that over time the nonsense words became harder to remember. He plotted his results on a graph and called his findings The Curve of Forgetting.

Now if Ebbinghaus had left his experiments there, he probably wouldn’t have been remembered – we all know instinctively that we forget things over time. But throughout his research he actually came across what is still one of the single most important discoveries in learning science to date.

Ebbinghaus wanted to know how much work it would take before he could reliably remember something. He found that it took 68 repetitions of a list of nonsense syllables before he could score 100% on a test that he gave himself a week later. Again, probably nothing new there – we’re all familiar with the idea that the more we repeat something, the more likely it is to stick in our minds.

But he also found that he could score 100% on a test with just 38 repetitions, if he spaced these repetitions out. So for example, he might do 13 repetitions one day, 13 the next and 12 the day after. That’s nearly half the time studying, for the same result – something that should be attractive to all of us!

Ebbinghaus had stumbled on something we now call Spaced Learning. Science has looked further into this discovery and found that there are actually optimal intervals for spacing out your learning. Say you want to learn a set of new vocabulary in a new language. For optimal performance, come back to material you want to learn at intervals of one day, one week, then one month.

Why it works

You might have heard before the idea that the more you think a thought, the more deeply engrained it becomes in your mind. You could see these thoughts like pathways through a field of grass – the more you walk down them the more deeply engrained they become.

As far as learning is concerned – let’s say you need to remember the dates for a number of important law cases. If you revisit the information every day, well, it’s like your walking down that same path every day. The path doesn’t change too much, because it was there yesterday as well. But let’s say you leave it for a week. When you come back to it the path has nearly overgrown and you’re going to have to work a bit harder to get through that grass. Perhaps you’ll have to get a machete out, or at least some bigger boots. But at the end of that hard work, you’re going to have a much deeper pathway – one that’s easier to get down next time you come along. The harder you have to work to retrieve information, the longer it will stick in your mind.

This is the basis of a theory of learning developed by Professor Robert Bjork called ‘Desired Difficulty’. Essentially, the harder you make learning for yourself, the more effective it will be. By spacing sessions out, you are naturally making it harder for yourself to remember the material. (To do this most effectively, give yourself a test on the material rather then jumping straight in and reading it again. More on the power of testing in future posts).

Action Point

Whenever you study something new, make a note in a calendar or diary to revise that material at a later date. Remember, the first interval should be fairly short, then gradually make them longer. 1 day, 3 days, 1 week, 1 month is a good ratio to try first. You don’t have to follow these exact ratios – any spacing is better than none.

If you’re not the sort of person that keeps a diary or calendar there is some great software that can help you stay organised.

https://www.supermemo.com/ helps you schedule your revision calendar.

http://ankisrs.net/ is another one that’s been recommended – I haven’t spent too much time looking at this, but I think you can schedule your flashcard reminders.

Interested in finding out more about how learning works? Sign up for our Study Hacks workshops

What a German waiter and a Russian student can teach you about the best time to start your essays

Why starting your essays early gives you a much better chance of a good grade, increases learning and makes life more interesting.

We all have friends that claim to have sat up all night, done a 3,000 words essay in one sitting and come away with a decent grade. Among some less modest individuals, this can even be a matter of pride – “Look, I spent way less time on this that you and I still got a better grade!”.

cramming

Turns out the all-night-coffee-and-cramming approach might not be the best way to tackle your essays after all

But last-minute Larry is actually missing out on some pretty essential learning experiences and opportunities – the kind of thing that university is actually really about. (If you hadn’t guessed it already, no one is going to look at the mark you got for a second year assignment 2 years down the line and base a job offer on it.)

The cognitive difference between starting your essay early and burning the midnight oil the night before D-Day can be explained by a famous piece of cognitive psychology known as the Zeigarnik effect.

Zeigarnik was a Russian research student in Germany, and together with her professor and other students, she would frequent a local café after lectures. They noticed that the waiters in the café never wrote anything down – they could remember entire orders and often for long periods of time. However, once the bill had been paid, if someone questioned it, the waiter, without fail would have forgotten the items on the order.

waiter&student

One might conclude that this was a sneaky way of syphoning off a bit off extra cash for the weekend, but Zeigarnik and her colleagues were scientists, so naturally they thought it might be indicative of something else. They hypothesized that when a job remains unfinished, it stays at the forefront of their mind.

So it proved in lab tests, where recall on a number of tasks proved much better when the participants had been prevented from finishing.

So why is that, and how does it apply to us at university? Well, scientists think that when a job is unfinished, the brain is working hard behind the scenes to help us finish it. Our brain is picking up on all sorts of external cues that relate to our topic that we might not have otherwise noticed. It’s a bit like when you buy a new car and suddenly see you’re seeing it everywhere. In the case of a student writing an essay, it might be that material from your lectures starts to spark ideas you would never have had or conversations with fellow students inspire new routes for investigation.

Procrastination, therefore, can actually work in our favour, as long as the job has been started. Apply this to your essays, and a good approach might be to look at the title, do some reading and perhaps write a first draft, but then put this to one side for a few weeks. You may find that things in lectures, fragments of conversations or even scenes from films or TV programmes all spark off ideas you would never have had otherwise.

For more on how cognitive science can help organise your study schedule, check out out ‘User Your Brain’ workshop. Dates and times for the next course are available here.