One of the oldest types of learning and study habits available to teachers and students are flashcards. There are a few aspects to creating and using flashcards that make them perfect for exam preparation. Regardless of an exam’s size, data being tested on the exam can easily be translated to a flashcard. This reason alone is why flashcards help to propel learning and studying habits for most students, hence why teachers should rely on them in the classroom.
The Power of the Written Word
Many things go into the act of studying material. Simply sitting there and looking at it over and over again does not equate to learning it. The more physical aspects that are involved in interacting with the material make it easier to remember in the long term. After all, statistics indicate that people only remember 10 percent of what they read and 20 percent of what they see. Writing these flashcards falls into the category of doing something with the information, which means people are 70 to 80 percent more likely to remember it. For the sake of creating larger decks of cards, a flashcard maker can be used, so long as it requires the information to be generated on both sides of the card by the student.
The Power of Action
Because writing requires people to work with information actively, writing flashcards require active engagement with information. At the same time, this active recall creates more powerful connections between neuron receptors in the brain. Therefore, information can be retrieved more easily than just rote memorization. The brain looks at information from scratch and builds on it as if it belongs to a pyramid.
The Power of Metacognition
The process of flipping over a flashcard to check an answer does more than just perform a rote action. In essence, the student using the flashcards has to stop and ask themselves how their proposed answer relates back to the actual answer provided on the other side of the card. This metacognition includes the act of self-reflection because it forces a student to realize both why and how their answers were incorrect. Degrees of effectiveness with the knowledge known before and after looking at the back of the card will be addressed.
The Power of Building Confidence
One of the main reasons why students struggle with displaying newly gained knowledge lies in a lack of confidence with the material. Asking a student to display an understanding of new knowledge in a short period in a public setting can set back their willingness to work with the information in the future. With flashcards, self and group study comes at lower stakes. Interacting with the information happens within a single step, and if the provided answer is wrong, then the card is addressed just moves back into the deck to be asked later. Therefore, the more questions a student answers, the more they can become confident in understanding their knowledge is valuable. They have visual proof of their possessed knowledge judging by the growing pile of correctly answered cards.
While teachers might be encouraged to use newer technology for learning purposes in their classrooms, they also need to rely on traditional methods from time to time. Flashcards have proven a reliable study and learning tool for many students based on the powers behind the written word, taking action, using metacognition, and building confidence alone.