Consolidation


 

Reminding of and refinement of recently learned training material is an important component of educational interventions. We refer to this process as consolidation.

 

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Specific tasks can be carried out to help children consolidate newly learned information. The aim is to integrate novel information with one’s existing knowledge in long-term memory, allowing knowledge to eventually become automatized.

 







There are two key findings from the literature that are important to keep in mind:

 

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1. Sleep

It has been argued that consolidation via sleep is required in order for new knowledge to be integrated with existing knowledge in long-term memory (see e.g., Henderson et al., 2012).

Considering 24 hour gaps between learning and repetition is therefore very relevant, to allow sleep associated consolidation to occur in between sessions, where knowledge can be built upon from one session to the next.

 


2. Repetition

However, there are still many possibilities to choose from in terms of repetition. For instance:

  • photo from pixabay.com
    Which tasks are repeated?
  • How is training material repeated? (e.g., identical format, or new formats)
  • How much time occurs between a child’s first encounter vs the consolidation period? i.e., revising all of the material at the end of a 10-12 week period
    Or consolidating smaller amounts of material at more regular intervals.
  • How long should the learner spend doing tasks aimed at consolidation?
     

Retaining knowledge

We want to ensure that vocabulary knowledge that the children obtain as a result of the main vocabulary training tasks is retained. If new knowledge is not consolidated then improvements in children’s vocabulary may only be short-lived.

 

New material can also be built upon to further a child’s understanding of that information. For example, presenting learning material in different formats or contexts to increase children’s understanding of the learning material (refining the new knowledge).

 
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Consolidation also refers to bringing different components of knowledge together. For example, when the child has covered the same set of grammar rules for different words, the commonalities can subsequently be highlighted to help integrate the new knowledge.

 






Consolidation is a component of the intervention that we have been particularly focussing on developing in recent weeks. We have found the padlet a really useful tool for brainstorming ideas. (see: padlet.com).

 

With regards to consolidation we have been discussing topics such as

  • The amount of direct repetition
  • The need to refine and transfer knowledge to different contexts
  • Highlighting commonalities across the different learning materials
  • Ensuring children move from one to one correspondence to a full understanding of the words.
     

We have developed a basic structure for incorporating consolidation focused tasks in the intervention, and we will develop and finalise plans further in group meetings this week.

 

We are enjoying the creativity involved in task development, and we really look forward to have all components of the intervention finalised in the next months.

 

Liz and Silje








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