Like we’ve mentioned in previous blogs, we have a love-hate relationship with flashcards. They are really helpful tools when used correctly.
However, if you fail to use flashcards effectively, they can also be seriously detrimental. Consider these four big reasons you need to use flashcards effectively:
- Flashcards take loads of time to create. I personally have the long process of making multiple flashcards for every quiz. It’s tedious. It’s long. And sometimes it doesn’t seem to pay off.
- Flashcards can actually work against some of your brain’s natural functioning. Things like “visual memory” are hampered when you try to memorize single facts by themselves. You need connected ideas to be able to memorize effectively.
- I tend to lose things that size and shape. (I don’t think I need to explain this.)
- You can feel like you’ve done more than you’ve actually done by simply making flashcards. You’ll have piles upon piles of individual facts. Having that info in one place is helpful. Having it randomly disconnected isn’t particularly helpful.
So, parents — assuming your middle school or high school student uses flashcards regularly — what’s your response? Do you just let them roll with it? Well, yes and no. Overall, flashcards are a great strategy when used as a review strategy in the right setting. We just want to keep them from being used ineffectively.Flashcards are a great strategy when used as a review strategy in the right setting... but not always...Click To Tweet
Check out these three ways parents can encourage their students to use flashcards effectively:
1. Use flashcards as a second or third review strategy
Flashcards are effective when you’ve already covered information in some way. They aren’t as effective in a first-time learning experience. Great learning realizes your brain learns through connection. Flashcards lack that connection, so they should be used initially.
2. Use flashcards as measure of your student’s readiness for a test
Flashcards tell students what they have and haven’t memorized well. They are good indicators of readiness for a test — assuming the test consists primarily of objective questions (like multiple choice or matching).
If you have an essay on a test, flashcards aren’t as effective in getting you prepped. Why? Because essays test how well you understand how details fit together to explain an overall movement or idea. If you can’t put all of those flashcards together in some kind of order, they’re not super helpful.
3. Encourage your students to gamify their flashcards
Studying can get rather dull at times. You want your students as excited as they’ll ever be if they are going to get the most out of their flashcard study time. Try helping them make a game of it. (AKA – “Gamify”)
Do you have other suggestions about how to best use flashcards? We’re taking the conversation to social media — tweet @studyright with your flashcard suggestions. We’re looking forward to hearing them!