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

1, Feb 24, 2011

Retrieval Practice Helps Retain Information Part II

Filed under: Brain — admin @ 12:48 am

A week later all four groups were given a short-answer test to assess their ability to recall facts and draw logical conclusions based on the facts.

Those who took the test retained about 50% more information than those using other study methods. Isn’t that amazing!

“I think that learning is all about retrieving, all about reconstructing our knowledge,” said the lead author, Jeffrey Karpicke, an assistant professor of psychology at Purdue University. “I think that we’re tapping into something fundamental about how the mind works when we talk about retrieval.”

Some explained that the students put up more effort and struggle for a test than they do for normal study. They engage in more active brain work during testing than the relaxing non-test environment. Their intense efforts might have helped them retain information more permanently. It makes sense when considering some students tend to drift away and less focus during normal study, but they have to fully concentrate during test. I would say the power of focus helps in the end.

A Kent State University psychology researcher believes testing gets people to come up with keyword clues, which bridge the gap between the familiar and new information. It strengthens ties between keywords and the newly-learned information.

While the researchers don’t have a definite answer as to why retrieval testing method is better than other ones in retaining information, the experiment does call our attention to one important function of testing, other than evaluating and giving grade reports.

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