The cognitive triggers of the AMP Process
for Speed, Engagement and Retention
Retrieval: Socrates was right about the power of questions. Retrieval is the number one way to remember because memory is greatly strengthened every time you retrieve it into consciousness. Actively testing your knowledge is a vastly better use of time than passively reading or watching a video.
Confidence: Thinking about your thinking (also known as meta-cognition) is another driver of memory formation. Asking, “are you sure” causes a kind of focus called executive attention, and attention is a key driver of learning and memory.
Spaced Repetition: Ironically, some forgetting must take place if repetition is going to have an effect on remembering. Repeating the learning to refresh one’s memory is most effective when done right before the material is completely forgotten.
Priming: Socrates understood that a question has much more power to teach than an answer. A question actively primes the mind with a search through the possibilities. This mental activity causes learning to stick.
Multiple Choice: Long thought merely an easy way to grade tests, multiple-choice questions turn out to be the best technique for generating long-term memory. This is because multiple choice causes both retrieval and recognition. It also does not suffer from the memory damaging phenomenon called retrieval induced forgetting.
Adaptive Micro-repetition: Boredom is the enemy of learning. Within a learning session, information that is understood should drop away quickly, while information that is unknown should be repeated at intervals.
Uncertainty: Motivation in all mammals, human beings included, is caused by the brain circuitry that controls the neurotransmitter dopamine. The highest levels of curiosity occur when uncertainty of the outcome is 50%.
Feedback: After answering a question, a slight delay of a minute or so gives feedback its maximum influence on memory.
Games: Emotional engagement is activated when challenge and benign risk are present—the very definition of a game.
Interleaving: When different sub-topics in a domain are studied simultaneously, the mind compares and contrasts the characteristics of the subject and memory is greatly enhanced.
Progress: Human beings learn best under “Goldilocks conditions.” Learning must be challenging, but not too challenging. ‘Just right’ is usually a combination of 20% easy material, 20% moderately hard, and 60% difficult.