Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Research finds practicing retrieval is best tool for learning

25.01.2011
The time students invest in rereading or reviewing their notes would be better spent practicing retrieval to ensure better learning, according to new research from Purdue University.

"We continue to show that practicing retrieval, or testing yourself, is a powerful, robust tool for learning," said Jeffrey D. Karpicke (pronounced CAR-picky), an assistant professor of psychological sciences who studies learning and memory. "Our new research shows that practicing retrieval is an even more effective strategy than engaging in elaborative studying.

"Educators, researchers and students are often focused on getting things 'in memory,' so techniques that encourage students to elaborate on the material are often popular. But learning is fundamentally about retrieving, and our research shows that practicing retrieval while you study is crucial to learning. Self-testing enriches and improves the learning process, and there needs to be more focus on using retrieval as a learning strategy."

He also found that most students are not good at judging the success of their study habits.

"When students have the material right in front of them, they think they know it better than they actually do," he said. "Many students do not realize that putting the material away and practicing retrieval is such a potent study strategy."

Karpicke's findings appear in this issue of the journal Science, and the National Science Foundation supports his work.

In two studies, a total of 200 students studied texts on topics from different science disciplines. One group engaged in elaborative studying by creating concept maps - diagrams that illustrate the complicated connections and relationships in the material. The second group read the texts and then practiced retrieval; these students put the material away and practiced recalling the concepts from the text. The students returned to the lab a week later for the actual assessment of long-term learning. The group that studied by practicing retrieval showed a 50 percent improvement in long-term retention scores above and beyond the group that studied by creating concept maps.

"The final retention test was one of the most important features of our study because we asked questions that tapped into meaningful learning," he said. "The students answered questions about the specific concepts they learned as well as inference questions asking them to draw connections between things that weren't explicitly stated in the material. On both measures of meaningful learning, practicing retrieval continued to produce better learning than elaborative studying."

The students also were asked to predict which technique - practicing retrieval or elaborative studying - would be best for their long-term learning. While the majority thought that elaborative studying with concept mapping would be best, the students actually learned more by practicing retrieval.

"Students do not always know what methods will produce the best learning," he said. "It may be surprising to realize that there is such a disconnect between what students think will afford good learning and what is actually best. We as educators need to keep this in mind as we create learning tools and evaluate educational practices.

"There is nothing wrong with elaborative studying - it is certainly good for learning. But our research shows that practicing retrieval is even more effective. In addition, we used concept mapping as an elaborative study method, but we are currently exploring ways to use it as a retrieval practice technique."

Janell R. Blunt is the co-author on this article. She was a student in the Research-Focused Honors Program in the Department of Psychological Sciences, and the study was part of her undergraduate honors thesis project in 2010. Blunt is now working on her doctorate in cognitive psychology in the Department of Psychological Sciences.

Karpicke's future studies include evaluating how concept mapping can be used as part of the retrieval process, as well as other effective self-testing practices for students.

Writer: Amy Patterson Neubert, 765-494-9723, apatterson@purdue.edu
Source: Jeffrey D. Karpicke, 765-494-0273, karpicke@purdue.edu

Amy Patterson Neubert | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.purdue.edu

More articles from Science Education:

nachricht Decision-making research in children: Rules of thumb are learned with time
19.10.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht Young people discover the "Learning Center"
20.09.2016 | Research Center Pharmaceutical Engineering GmbH

All articles from Science Education >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Electron highway inside crystal

Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.

Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth

09.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon

09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops' exposure to air pollution

09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>