Learning Through Self-Explanation
Self-explanation is the process of explaining concepts, processes or examples to yourself in your own words. It can boost understanding, memory and problem-solving ability.
The benefits of self-explanation include:
- It helps identify gaps in knowledge. You have to figure out what you don't fully understand to explain it.
- It reveals incomplete explanations. If you struggle to explain something, it shows you don't truly understand it.
- It strengthens connections in memory. Explaining in your own words cements information in your mind.
- It forms a mental model. Creating a simple model to explain helps you organize and integrate information.
- It improves transfer of knowledge. Self-explanation prepares you to apply what you've learned in new situations.
To practice self-explanation:
- Read through a text, example or process once normally.
- Cover the material and explain it in your own words step by step.
- Provide examples, analogies and visualizations to make it concrete.
- Check your understanding by returning to the original material.
- Explain again, filling in gaps and correcting misunderstandings.
With practice, self-explanation can become an automatic study skill that helps you truly understand and integrate new information.