Who can resist the colorful charms of those luminously vibrant highlighters? They’re practically requisites in every student’s pencil box with children marking important points in their textbooks with glee. But apart from livening up those dreary gray pages with lively sparks of color, does the act of highlighting help students learn more effectively?
Some students say that highlighting tracts of text make learning easier. Others just get distracted by the punchy colors.
Well, a comprehensive report released early this year by the Association for Psychological Science hopes to end the “to highlight or not to highlight” dilemma among learners.
After going over voluminous amounts of research materials that examine the merits of 10 learning tactics, the professors conclude that highlighting, along with underlining, are not such effective tools for learning. While students love brandishing their highlighters over tracts of information, they may serve no other purpose than decorating a page with colors. Plus, highlighting may even hinder learning. By coaxing the brain to focus only on specific points, specifically those that have been highlighted, the process of drawing connections between different ideas may even be hindered. This is not good news for students who want to stimulate their long-term memories.
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