Element 4 - Connections

Why is this important?

Students have to make connections in order to be able to apply learning successfully. Making connections enhances one's ability to remember and makes use of knowledge and skills possible because the very act of making connections creates context and deepens understanding. Making connections also helps move information from short-term to medium-term memory and supports greater ownership of the material at hand. Finally, if one is inspired to learn, is curious, then one will connect questions to answers and then to more questions. Therefore, it is important to use a variety of strategies to get students to make meaningful connections, thereby increasing engagement and improving retention.

You might want to start here:

  • Short info-page about making meaningful connections by Michael Merickel of Oregon State University: Teaching and Learning Theory: Making Connections
  • Article by K. Patricia Cross written as one of the Cross Papers -- easy overview of neuroscience still highly relevant despite its 1999 publication date: Learning is Making Connections 
  • A brief animation of the types of connections we want readers of all ages to make to improve reading comprehension: YouTube video
  • The importance of making connections in mathematics: article by Linda M. Gojak of NCTM.

See it in action: