Top 5 reasons why flashcards help in effective learning
Over the years, educationists have experimented with a number of tools while exploring ways to make the teaching-learning process more engaging and fulfilling for students. While numerous innovative methods of learning are being created every day, perhaps no other tool has been used and proven effective over these many years as flashcards.
You might be wondering what is so special about them. After all, it is just a pile of cards with questions on one side and answers on the other.
While they might be tedious and boring to make, flashcards are a tried-and-tested method in helping a student retain factual information. You won’t believe how handy it comes for a student on the day before the exam. Who has the time to read and search through a bulky textbook while revising? In such a situation, flashcards are saviours as they allow students to quickly recall important dates, mathematical or chemical formulas etc.
Let us find out how flashcards promote effective learning.
Flashcards break down concepts into smaller parts, making it easy for students to remember them. They also facilitate easy repetition. As you revise a concept multiple times, your memory on the same gets enhanced. This procedure of repeated mental retrieval of a concept will train your mind to recall the information faster as time progresses.
Enhances active recall
Using flashcards help improve memory as they engage a mental faculty called active recall. Active recall is proven to create a stronger neuron connection for memory trace. The process of making the flashcards helps you familiarise yourself with the topic. They are great tools for active recall as they easily facilitate repetition. When a student reads a question from a flashcard and thinks of the answer, they are attempting to remember the concept from scratch rather than recognising it from a passage in a textbook. This is when active recall kicks in.
Employs metacognitive faculties
Metacognition is basically thinking about how you think and learn. Flashcards help you apply metacognition, i.e. analyse your own thought process. With the help of flashcards, you can assess your answer by comparing it with the correct answer on the flip side and question yourself. It will help you understand how close you were to the correct answer, how you arrived at that answer, etc. Metacognition is known to help with ingraining memories deeper into your knowledge.
Facilitates confidence-based repetition
With the constant repetition of concepts in small parts, the use of flashcards helps in raising confidence-based repetition. Based on your level of confidence on various topics, flashcards can be divided into separate piles. The confidence-based repetition method is proven to be one of the most scientifically optimised ways to improve memory performance.
Flashcards are great tools for self-evaluation as it is impossible to cheat your own self. Either you know the answer or you don’t, and therefore, flashcards make it easy for you to measure and understand your progress.
Exams test how well a student can retain information and apply it suitably. Flashcards can, therefore, be a student’s most valued tool on the days before exams when they have less time in hand to revise concepts. Moreover, surveys have shown that students who use flashcards often score better in exams than those who don’t.
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