Less is More: Highlighting as Learning Strategy

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 Original blog in Dutch by Tim Surma, Gino Camp & Paul Kirschner (translated and reworked by Paul and Mirjam)

Henry Green, a British novelist talking about his craft, wrote: “The more you leave out, the more you highlight what you leave in.” This might be very true when it comes to highlighting as a learning strategy.

Sometimes learners have to deal with large amounts of content, for example in books or articles. It’s usually the teacher’s job to emphasise which parts of the text are key. (S)he can do this by using advance organizers and by intermittently focusing the learners’ attention on foundational concepts and skills (e.g., prompting; also see our previous blogs on spaced practice and what makes a top teacher). No matter what the teacher does, learners still need to discern the key things in a text themselves. They usually do this by using their favourite…

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