These past two quarters, I had the pleasure of working with WI+RE, and this quarter (winter 2020) I used my position with WI+RE to fulfill my Psych 195B internship requirement for cognitive science. To fulfill the requirements of the internship, I had to complete a project determined jointly with my supervisor. I brainstormed ways to combine the cognitive science aspect of this project with the goals of WI+RE (writing instruction and research education), and a compilation of tips to help students do better in their classes seemed like the perfect integration of the two. I had learned a lot of memory strategies from my Cognitive Psychology class (Psych 120A) taught by Alan Castel, and this seemed like a great way to disseminate the information.
The six tips I discussed were spacing, testing, studying in different contexts, processing more deeply, understanding, and exercising.
I used cards to present the information to give the impression of distinct, packageable, and useful content that one could pick and choose from.
Spacing and testing went at the top and received full-width cards because they were advice that had the most robust evidence backing their use as study aids, and I wanted students to be exposed to the methods and the research behind them as early on as possible.
Studying in different locations and deeper processing, while also having research to support them, were not as robustly supported, meaning the contexts in which they helped were not always universal or as relevant to students. I still put studying in different contexts first though because it is more practical and applicable.
I saved the last two tips for last because they were not exactly “study strategies” as most students think of them, but they work nevertheless. Understanding was supposed to be a video describing an experience I had where I tried very hard to understand a concept from math class and as a result still remember it many years later, but unfortunately due to time and other constraints imposed by the COVID-19 situation, I opted to simply have text instead. Maybe one day if I have time and the materials I used to document my ideas for the video, I can return to the office and finish the video…. And last but not least, the most important memory and overall health tip: exercise. I wanted to emphasize an important habit that many people overlook or brush off but that benefits health in innumerable, wide-ranging ways, not to mention boosts memory and learning.
This final project and sandbox post wraps up my time at WI+RE. I am so grateful to my team (Kian and Alex), my supervisor (Doug), and the rest of the WI+RE space for providing me with such a friendly and welcoming work environment and supporting me in my goals. I hope this project can serve students at UCLA and beyond for many years to come!