Rote Learning Vs Critical Thinking

There are other reasons to view Cerego’s results with caution.

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Minecraft, by contrast—one of the most popular video games ever made—was rated enjoyable by only 65%.

Harlow speculates that the kids were more engaged in Cerego because “the end value was clear to them.

More recently, evidence of the link between memorization and critical thinking comes from a company called Cerego.

It provides an online platform for content developed by its clients—which include companies that want to train employees as well as educational institutions—and then tries to ensure they retain it.

That’s different from most testing, which encourages cramming and measures only accuracy of recall.

The problem, says Cerego’s vice-president of science, Iain Harlow, is that when people see information only once, they forget 70 to 80% of it within two weeks.

Having information stored in your long-term memory boosts analytical thinking, as demonstrated by results from an online learning platform.

(Photo by Daria Addabbo\Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images).

But here’s what may surprise those who dismiss memorization: those students also had higher scores on questions calling for analysis.

In fact, their advantage on those questions was even higher than on the factual recall ones: points. The students who used Cerego more were more likely to say they could follow the lectures, and their scores on class quizzes were consistently higher.


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