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Information Processing

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Information is expressed and presented in a variety of ways, and every learning situation is different. Our information processing skills determine how we synthesize the information presented to us and make it meaningful for knowledge comprehension, retention, recall, application, and expansion.  

Strong information processing skills allow you to:

  • Make meaningful connections between concepts
  • Identify connections between new and existing information
  • Be more efficient while studying 
  • Improve your ability to self-test and recall information

Questions for Reflection

  • What format do you prefer when studying or reading – paper or electronic?
  • How do you learn best? Do you have a preferred learning style – visual, auditory, hands-on experience, reading, or writing? 
  • How would you present or teach information to others?

Basic Strategies to Try

  • If lecture slides are available before class, review the notes. Write directly on the slides by printing them out or using an electronic copy on an iPad or other tablet device.
  • After class, review your lecture notes and summarize the information in your own words.
  • Use elaboration to connect new information to information you already know: make comparisons, ask questions, interrogate connections, and develop mnemonic associations.
  • Look for connections, similarities, and differences between concepts and create a concept map. 
  • Check other resources, such as YouTube, Podcasts, and Khan Academy, for different presentations of course concepts and content to supplement the course material. 

Questions about how to implement these strategies? 

Email your question to stanfordlearninglab@lists.stanford.edu or attend one of our drop-in sessions.

Additional Stanford Resources

Resources Outside of Stanford