Today I Learn… I make a point of learning something new everyday. This is what I learn each day

1, Feb 23, 2011

Retrieval Practice Helps Retain Information Part I

Filed under: Brain — admin @ 12:45 am

On 1/20/2011, I read an interesting online report by Jeffrey Karpicke entitled “Retrieval Practice Produces More Learning than Elaborative Studying with Concept Mapping.” Here’s the abstract of the report.

“Educators rely heavily on learning activities that encourage elaborative studying, while activities that require students to practice retrieving and reconstructing knowledge are used less frequently.

“Here, we show that practicing retrieval produces greater gains in meaningful learning than elaborative studying with concept mapping. The advantage of retrieval practice generalized across texts identical to those commonly found in science education. … was observed with test questions that assessed comprehension and required students to make inferences. … occurred even when the criterial test involved creating concept maps. Our findings support the theory that retrieval practice enhances learning by retrieval-specific mechanisms rather than by elaborative study processes. Retrieval practice is an effective tool to promote conceptual learning about science.”

The research involved 200 college students in two experiments. In the first experiment, the students were divided into four groups. One did nothing more than read the text for five minutes. Another studied the passage in four consecutive five-minute sessions. A third group engaged in “concept mapping,” in which, with the passage in front of them, they arranged information from the passage into a kind of diagram, writing details and ideas in hand-drawn bubbles and linking the bubbles in an organized way.

The final group took a “retrieval practice” test. Without the passage in front of them, they wrote what they remembered in a free-form essay for 10 minutes. Then they reread the passage and took another retrieval practice test.
To be continued…

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