One of the best ways to increase learning is through monitoring and self-testing. Here’s why.

Self-testing (i.e. actively recalling what you’ve learnt) enhances your memory and retention much more than simply reviewing or passively observing information/knowledge. Science has also shown that being able to see your progress enhances motivation and satisfaction with your work.

Take a moment to reflect on jobs you’ve had where you were able to monitor your own performance. Most people love to see their progress – one of the reasons games are so enticing! Knowing that we have improved, even just a little, typically provides the impetus to keep trying – even when it is hard going.

Think about something you are currently trying to learn or improve upon. Identify some ways that you can monitor your improvement and test yourself.

Here are a few things to try:

  1. Identify the strengths and more challenging aspects of your performance as a baseline. Use this as the starting point for future assessment.

  2. Set up a process for ongoing monitoring. Take the time to identify the small behaviours that can be tracked on a daily/hourly basis. Monitor them as you go and make corrections as needed.

  3. Reflect on achievements and use that information to set yourself an immediate goal.

  4. Just before attempting a new task, reflect on what you want to achieve/learn and afterwards check how you did – being very specific about what you are trying to achieve.