So, crammin’ not werkin’ fer ya?

By Dan Bracci

Everyone in university is looking to learn information and retain it more easily. Graduate student Gail Kopp is working on research to do just that.

"What I’m doing in this study is taking a very small subset of strategies for layering instruction and seeing if they can be applied to the general adult learning communities, especially post-secondary," said Kopp.

A test had been setup so Kopp could take its results and apply them to her research. The test examines how well volunteers can learn and retain new information.

"I’m not getting a test of what it is they already know, I’m actually getting a test of what they’re learning during the experiment," she said. "The techniques that I’m using are applicable to learning anything and in fact [anybody can] use them in other areas."

Kopp hopes the research she is doing will be beneficial to both professors in their teaching and students in their learning.

Kopp’s doctoral thesis supervisor, Dr. Lauran Sandals, believes her research has global repercussions.

"Her research is tied into national and international agencies, increasing knowledge for how people use technology," he said.
"I’d like to say it would help from both sides, from the teaching perspective and from the learning perspective," said Kopp. "At the moment, it would be from the teaching perspective: ways of developing instruction that would benefit people, make it easier for people to learn."

When Kopp first searched the Internet for information pertaining to her research, she found hundreds of thousands of sites with applicable information. She sees her research as a way of assimilating the information.

"Putting it together and not letting it fragment, this is why I think we’re going to need this," she said. "It’s a way of putting a great deal of information together in something that is understandable for learners."

Kopp would like to see her research applied in all universities, especially at the U of C.

"I would actually like to see things like this dramatically implemented faculties," she said. "I’m really hoping that it’ll help make learning faster and more efficient for all adult learners."

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