While the title of an activity might seem trivial, it has a key role in the learning process as it helps learners to recall or build schemas (or mental representation) so that they can better store information in the long-term memory and recall it when they need to. One great example of how this works is an experiment carried out by John Bransford and Marcia Johnson (1972), where a text was given to participants, who were then asked to recall the procedure.
“The procedure is actually quite simple. First you arrange things into different groups… Of course, one pile may be sufficient depending on how much there is to do. If you must go somewhere else due to lack of facilities that is the next step, otherwise you are pretty well set. It is important not to overdo any endeavour. That is, it is better to do too few things at once than too many. In the short run this may not seem important, but complications from doing too many can easily arise. A mistake can be expensive as well… At first the whole procedure will seem complicated. Soon, however, it will become just another facet of life. It is difficult to foresee any end to the necessity for this task in the immediate future, but then one never can tell. After the procedure is completed one arranges the materials into different groups again. Then they can be put into their appropriate places. Eventually they will be used once more and the whole cycle will have to be repeated. However, that is part of life.”
Most participants had difficulties understanding the text, let alone remembering the procedure. However, when the “Washing clothes” title was given, the procedure became clear and straightforward, as the title provided a schema to recall information that helped to better process and organize information.
This means we need to create a title that makes very clear for learners on what that activity is all about, even if that means using more than just a couple of words. While it is ideal to be short, research says that a good title
Finding the right title and placing it right may generate some headaches.