Maximising Knowledge Retention: The Role of Learning Environments and Teaching Methods

In an effort to better understand how children best learn and retain information, CambriLearn set out to survey families across the globe to gain valuable insights into their preferred learning styles, environments and teaching practices. 

We shared various interactive online quizzes where parents were free to choose answers based on a series of multiple-choice questions.

From the survey results, we see that children best absorb and retain information through hands-on practical lessons in a more flexible schooling environment that allows them to socialise with peers of all age groups through common interests and smaller classes. 

Survey questions

1. Does your child learn better in a self-paced flexible learning environment or through a more structured school calendar?

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65% of parents prefer a self-paced flexible learning environment for their children, while 35% prefer a more structured school calendar. 

CambriLearn offers two K12 online schooling curriculums. Our International British curriculum, which prepares a student to write the Cambridge assessment, allows children to learn at their own pace and progress through the coursework flexibly. In contrast, the CAPS online curriculum follows the structured South African school year, with set terms and exam dates. 

Whether you are interested in the CAPS or International British Curriculum, CambriLearn offers everything you need to ensure you receive an internationally accredited education in an environment that promotes individuality and personalised learning.

2. Which word from this list best describes your child? (entrepreneurial, very verbal, enjoys routine, predictable)

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From 1364 responses, 47% of parents believe that the word "very verbal" best describes their child. About 23% of respondents believe that the word "enjoys routine" best describes their child, while 15% believe that the word "entrepreneurial" best describes their child. Similarly, only about 15% of respondents believe that the word "predictable" best describes their child.

Children learn best when they are actively engaged in the learning process, rather than simply passively receiving information. Allowing children to participate in class discussions and ask questions can help them better understand and retain the material being taught. 

When children are told to sit still and be quiet, it can disrupt their learning and make it more difficult for them to retain information. This is especially true for very verbal children, as they may have a natural tendency to ask questions and participate in discussions, and may struggle to remain quiet for long periods of time.

There are also studies that suggest that allowing children to express themselves and participate in class discussions can have a positive impact on their social and emotional development. When children feel valued and respected, they are more likely to feel motivated and engaged in their learning.

3. When following instructions to complete a craft project, which format of instruction best suits your child? 

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72% of parents believe that a video demonstration is the best format for their child to follow instructions to complete a craft project. About 13% of respondents believe that a diagram with instructions is the most suitable format, while only about 9% believe that oral instructions are most suitable. Similarly, only about 6% of respondents believe that written instructions are the most suitable format for their child.

When it comes to craft projects, video demonstrations are more engaging and interactive than written or oral instructions. Video instructions allow children to see the project being completed step-by-step. This can be particularly helpful for children who are visual learners, as they may find it easier to follow along with a visual guide rather than written or oral instructions.

Video demonstrations also allow children to pause and rewind as needed. This can be helpful if a child needs to go back and review a particular step or if they need to move at their own pace. This is not as easy to do with written or oral instructions. 

In addition to live lessons from qualified teachers, CambriLearn also provides an on-demand library of recorded video lessons that students can access anytime from anywhere. The pre-recorded video lessons are great tools to help students better understand difficult topics or to help with revision or catch-up work. 

4. Which teaching style does your child prefer? 

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58% of parents believe that their child prefers demonstrations and practical sessions as a teaching style. About 20% of respondents believe that their child prefers Q&A sessions and group discussions, while only about 10% believe that their child prefers diagrams, charts, or graphs. Similarly, only about 10% of respondents believe that their child prefers handouts, worksheets, or textbooks as a teaching style. 

Practical demonstrations and hands-on learning allow children to experience and interact with the material in a more meaningful way. When children can touch, feel, and manipulate objects or materials, they are more likely to understand and remember what they have learned. This is because they are able to create a deeper and more personal connection to the material.

CambriLearn’s interactive live lessons and Q&A group sessions provide students with a platform to learn through practical demonstrations and discussions. By encouraging students to develop an inquiring mind we can help them to become more engaged and motivated in their learning. 

Practical demonstrations and discussions can also provide students with the opportunity to apply what they have learned in a more meaningful and relevant way, which can further enhance their learning and understanding. 

5. When learning how to play a new video game – how does your child prefer to learn?

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61%, believe that their child prefers to learn how to play a new video game through trial and error.  About 12% of respondents believe that their child prefers to read the instructions, while only about 10% believe that their child prefers to follow diagrams in a manual. Similarly, only about 17% of respondents believe their child prefers to learn from friends who know how to play the game.

Children may find it more enjoyable and satisfying to explore and discover things independently, rather than simply following instructions or looking at diagrams.

Trial and error allows children to learn at their own pace. They can take as much time as they need to figure out the game and can try different approaches and strategies until they find something that works for them. This can be especially helpful for children who may have difficulty following instructions or understanding diagrams.

Trial and error is a more immersive and interactive way to learn. Children feel more connected to the game and more motivated to keep playing if they are able to discover things on their own and feel a sense of accomplishment when they succeed.

6. When it comes to socialisation (in a schooling environment), how would you like your child to interact with others? 

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In a schooling environment, 56% of parents prefer their children to socialise through shared interests and activities with peers across a range of ages. 35% would like their children to socialise in a small class environment with children of different ages and only 9% would prefer their children to socialise in a large classroom environment with peers of the same age. 

Socialising with peers of different ages can help children;

  • Develop a sense of perspective and empathy: When children interact with peers who are older or younger than they are, they are exposed to different viewpoints and experiences, which can help them to better understand and relate to others.
  • Learn from and mentor each other: Older children may be able to provide guidance and support to younger children, while younger children may be able to bring fresh ideas and enthusiasm to the group.
  • Develop social skills and confidence: When children can interact with peers of different ages, they may have to adapt their communication styles to be more inclusive and effective. This can help them to develop valuable social skills that will serve them well in a variety of situations.

Small classes allow for more individualised instruction and attention from the teacher. With fewer students in the class, the teacher can spend more time working with each student and providing them with personalised feedback and support. This can be particularly beneficial for students who need extra help or who are struggling with certain concepts.

Small classes can also be less intimidating and overwhelming for some students, especially those who may struggle with socialisation or who are shy. With fewer students in the class, there may be less pressure to participate and speak up, which can make it easier for these students to feel comfortable and engaged in their learning.

By adopting a hybrid schooling environment through a learning pod or homeschooling hub, students are able to enjoy the benefits of personalised self-paced learning, combined with the support and social interaction of studying alongside a group of peers. 

In summary

The results of CambriLearn's surveys showed that children tend to best absorb and retain information through hands-on, practical lessons in a flexible environment that allows them to socialise with peers of all ages through shared interests and activities. 

This is supported by the findings that a majority of parents prefer self-paced, flexible learning environments, small class sizes, practical demonstrations and hands-on learning. 

Additionally, the survey revealed that children prefer video demonstrations and trial and error when learning, and they are more likely to be motivated and engaged in their learning when they feel valued and respected. 

Overall, these results highlight the importance of adopting a more personalised approach to learning that takes into account the unique needs and preferences of each child. Whilst we strive to ensure that our teaching practices are aligned with each child’s preferred learning style, CambriLearn also believes in using a variety of teaching methodologies designed to develop a child’s skills in a variety of areas and mediums. 

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Maximising Knowledge Retention: The Role of Learning Environments and Teaching Methods

Everything you need to know about a personalised education through online learning & homeschooling