Overlearning – a student continues learning beyond the point of competence (often to ensure that the final assessment is easily passed).
Overlearning is the strategy of learning more than what is required to complete a given task. The purpose of overlearning is to make the task seem ridiculously easy to ensure it is completed to a high standard with no stress. Overlearning can be thought of as ‘learning by overkill’. In other words, learning to a higher standard than is necessary. For example, a student wants to ace their spelling test which has 10 words. Knowing about overlearning, she doesn’t just memorise each word, but also learns about the origins of each word. This is time consuming, but it makes the spelling test a walk in the park – no more difficult than brushing your teeth. Similarly, a teacher wanting to learn about teaching strategies might not simply read 1 book – they may read 10 books, watch videos, attend lectures (and maybe even write their own book).
Overlearning is not just useful for entire courses or larger topics such as teaching strategies. Overlearning is an effective tool for students who can overlearn selected topics within a course. A student might enrol in a course that has 6 topics. Two topics are easy, two are medium difficulty and two are very difficult. To master the course content and receive top grades, the student chooses to overlearn the two most difficult topics – the rest are easy in comparison and don’t need additional attention. Here is another way overlearning can be used: a student studying for an exam might choose to concentrate on one of three aspects of the exam. This allows them to easily complete that section to a near perfect standard and thus all but guaranteeing a reasonable score. That section now ‘in the bag’ they can spend more mental energy (cognitive load) on the two remaining aspects.
The purpose of overlearning is to make the task seem ridiculously easy to ensure it is completed to a high standard with no stress. Overlearning has several benefits.
The most notable is the sizeable reduction in the amount of effort required (both mentally and physically) to achieve the required result. As a student becomes more proficient, they notice patterns, finds short-cuts, reduce accidental errors and avoid common errors and traps. Their performance speed increases accordingly. Their intrinsic motivation grows exponentially with confidence; this results in further increases in conscientiousness and voluntary time spent on the task. Gaps in the student’s knowledge and skills become more obvious, are self-diagnosed and easily addressed. New information can be added to an already comprehensive understanding with little effort. Overlearning means that the student can spend valuable and limited brain power on challenging, high-cognitive tasks, while easily brushing through everything else.i Overlearning also reduces issues that come from distractions and unforeseen events, giving students the ability to manage new and unusual challenges.
Adam Green is an advisor to government, a registered teacher, an instructional designer and an author. He is completing a Doctor of Education and was previously head of department for one of the country’s largest SAER (students at educational risk) schools. Adam is managing director of Fast Track Training Australia, an accredited training provider for thousands of teacher aides every year.
The introductory teacher aide course for anyone seeking to work as a support worker.LEARN MORE
Maximise your job prospects and skills with the highest level teacher aide course.LEARN MORE
Turbo charge your resume and save $1500 with our most popular teacher aide course.LEARN MORE
View resources and materials from our research-based, best practice teacher aide courses.LEARN MORE
1 in 2 study the CHC40213 Certificate IV in Education Support with FTTA.
Interest free plans from $40 - no hidden fees, includes all resources.
From $50 - courses subsidised by the Queensland government.
Live webinars, regular tutorials, phone and email support.
We visit every learner on placement to help improve your practice.
A 30-day no obligation period so you can be sure the course is for you.
Supported, self-paced distance mode or class from 1 day per week.
Learn industry best practice and research-based pedagogy.
An established provider with more than 5000 happy graduates.
With more than 5000 graduates, FTTA is the go-to provider for teacher's aide courses. 1 in 2 students choose to study the CHC40213 Certificate IV in Education Support with FTTA.
Head Office (WA): Unit 38, 12 Junction Bvd. COCKBURN CENTRAL WA 6164
Brisbane (Appointment only): S16, Level 18, 324 Queen St. Brisbane QLD 4000
Enquiries: 1300 858 191 | (08) 6555 2992 | firstname.lastname@example.org