The Learning Process As stated earlier, there are numerous examples of new ideas that failed to maximize student achievement as promised, which is why we have no interest in improvising radically new or novel ways of schooling, as if innovation were, in and of itself, a panacea for success. Rather, it seems to make more sense to implement an effective, research-based approach to instruction—one that has a demonstrated track record of success. Therefore, in combination with mastery learning and criterion-based assessment, we will employ an established and widely accepted model of information processing, one that conceptualizes the process of learning in three steps (Atkinson & Shiffrin, 1968; Norman & Rumelhart, 1970). We label these steps as presentation, recognition, and retention. The first step, presentation, is simple and automatic. The mind will automatically hold new information placed before it for about one to three seconds while it decides if the material deserves further attention. After these initial seconds have passed, if no further action is taken the information quickly fades away. The second step, recognition, involves identifying the key aspects of something on which the mind has focused, and matching these aspects with related information or concepts already existing in memory. The degree to which a learner lacks relevant prior knowledge that can be applied to the thing at hand is the degree to which he or she will require extra effort in order to counteract “forgetting.” (Note: An important point to remember is that people choose for themselves what they will or won’t pay attention to, depending on the amount of value they anticipate it will hold for them based on their past experiences. Consequently, before beginning instruction on any topic, we will always make a point to help students recognize how the task at hand will be useful, enjoyable, informative, and/or meaningful.) The last step to the learning process, retention, involves creating a permanent mental record of the new information. We will help students accomplish this task by making use of organization and meaningfulness. With organization, complex or interrelated material is simplified by arranging its many separate details into just a few "chunks" of information. The key to this strategy is to organize the information in such a way that each individual detail in a given chunk (or group) serves as a cue for all the others. Meaningfulness is the most powerful component in learning (Ronald E. Johnson, 1975). The extent to which a new learning task can be related to what is already familiar to the learner is the degree to which that information can be easily encoded into permanent memory. When material becomes truly meaningful it is efficiently and effectively transferred from short-term to long-term memory. We will facilitate this process by first ensuring that students establish a relevant, useful, and basic foundation of skills and background information. We will then help each student to build upon this foundation of preexisting memory by applying understanding as they add on new and more complex material, ultimately constructing an elaborate edifice of knowledge. Part of this process involves providing students with a framework they can use to organize new information. By using these structures to make associations, information will be more easily transferred to long-term memory (Mary di Sibio, 1982). The techniques we will regularly employ include visualization, transfer (or learning by doing), emulation, strategic experimentation, music, rhyme, acronyms, acrostics, peg words, loci, keywords, self-questioning, note taking, and meta-cognition.