How short bursts of learning pave the way for lasting success.
Teachers agree that children from families that actively embrace learning opportunities at home do better in school. But many parents wonder how best to support their children's classroom work at home. In addition, busy family lifestyles make it challenging to incorporate learning into daily activities.
Anne E. Cunningham, Associate Professor at the University of California at Berkeley and member of the LeapFrog Educational Advisory Board, cites a 2002 study in American Educator magazine which revealed that short bursts of incremental learning more effectively enable children to absorb new information than mass practice. This is good news for busy families across the country.
While homework is important, other opportunities that effectively engage children in learning will have a more lasting impact. Parents can incorporate incremental learning into their children's often hurried schedules with interactive educational products that make learning fun. In addition, parents can introduce into their children's daily routine distributed practices that promote learning in short bursts of time.
"It is common practice for children to study and learn in relatively large blocks of time. We are now finding, however, that incremental learning can be equally effective," said Cunningham. "Whether children are waiting at the doctor's office or in the car on the way to dance lessons, traditional free time can be used to reinforce skills learned in school."
To better prepare children for school, Cunningham suggests the following ways to incorporate distributed practices into a student's busy schedule: