"Alom Shaha @alomshaha
.@tesScience Can we, as teachers, devise testing strategy that is not just about assessment, but improves learning? @MaryUYSEG"
My offering is a little longer than 140 characters.
Going back to some basic psychology:
First, memory. We all know the 'forgetting curve'
Something must be returned to often to be remembered. We often assume this to just apply to items of information - or small 'chunks' - and only useful in memorising lists or formulae. That is actually not the case. It also applies to skills. Musicians, athletes, academics all must practise their skills.
Second, the well-known attention experiments of Shiffrin and Schneider (1977), Norman and Shallice (1980), Logan (1988) and especially Cheng (1985) for the constructionists.
In simple terms, practising a multi-step skill over time automatises it, or welds it into a single step, or produces a complete cognitive restructuring of the task (however, you like to think of it). A practised skill leaves 'cognitive room'.
Remember when you learned to drive? When you changed gear, ALL your attention was on that multi-step process. Could you have carried on a conversation or anything else? Now, do you even notice changing gear? Do you now even notice when you decide to change gear? Could you have learned how to drive safely if you had to go through the gear change as a step-by-step process every time?
An example Nicky Hayes gives in her book Foundations of Psychology, is that of a skilled essay writer versus a novice in how a task comes to be quite different. For the skilled essayist it is not just about collecting lots of information and writing it down, but about structure and themes. The essayist has 'cognitive room' to make decisions beyond the novice.
A colloquial term is that it has become 'second nature'.
Third, recall scaffolding - and here I am talking about Vygotsky and Bruner and not some modern bastardised version that equates to 'learning by Sat Nav' (and have you ever remembered a route you took when you used Sat Nav? I know I haven't). In this context, we are talking about building upon skills and teaching how to stretch skills: building upon an already-learned skill set, one that is already second nature.
Putting it all together, it's rather simple. Little and often with increasing cognitive demand over time.