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How to Prime Students for Learning

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How to Prime Students for LearningFaculty Focus

Are there parts of your course you wish could be taught more effectively? Would you like to prepare students for learning material with which they tend to struggle? Do you want to help students transition effectively from one learning activity to another?

Priming your students will provide solutions to these questions. Priming is a strategy that introduces a new topic to students in a way that facilitates their academic learning because they know what they can expect. Priming prepares students for upcoming information or a learning activity before they receive the information or participate in the activity in a course. Priming exposes students to new material in a way that influences their learning behaviour later, without them necessarily being aware.

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There are three key ideas that underpin the strategy of priming.

These are: pre-exposure, activating prior knowledge, and retrieval practice. When we understand the different ways of priming and how they work, we can better identify opportunities for incorporating priming into our courses and programs.



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