Blog of Sara Jakša

Learning Tactics - Elaborative Integration

Elaborative integration is a learning technique, where a learner asks himself about the reason in facts, systems, paragraphs,...

To use the techniques, the learner simply asks himself 'why?'. That gives the learner the wider picture, that helps him remember facts.

It works better when the learner have higher prior knowledge, the question is precise and the answer is self-generated (not given in advance).

So it is better, to make precise question. So in example of the supply and demand theory in economics. The better question would be, 'why do more people provide at the higher prices?'. The example of the worse question would be, 'why is supply and demand like that?'.

The reason for the differences in knowledge base is, that a person with higher knowledge better understands the situation, which produces better questions. The question of somebody like that are usually precise and important, while somebody with lower prior knowledge would, on average, have asked a less important or precise question. They are also more likely to understand the real reason behind it, which would have worked against interferences.

The reason behind the self-generated and given answers is in deepness of the processing. The reading or listening or even seeing the answer is shallow level of processing, since not a lot of mental activity is involved. But when a person is self-generating the answers, they have to think about the fact and what is behind it.

So here is an example, how the technique is used in practice, based on this article:

  1. paragraph: Why is learner asking himself about the facts? -Because it enables him to learn better

  2. paragraph: Why the question 'why' gives the learner the bigger picture? -Because he has more data

And so on. Make sure to ask the questions about the facts, that you want to remember more.

So, now try the technique for yourself.

  1. Take any book, that you have recently read. Or a blog post or really anything you want to remember.

  2. Read paragraph. Ask yourself, the why questions for the subject of that paragraph (if paragraphs are short, then use more than one at the same time).

  3. Answer the question.

  4. Repeat steps 2-4 until the end of a text.

The only way to know, if the learning techniques is going to suit you is to try it, so try it and then decide, if it is worth keeping.