Hot Off the (Research) Press!

Hot off the press, here's a "research roundup" of new peer-reviewed publications by experts in cognitive science. Learn more about the research and the researchers below.

This research is so fresh, only abstracts are available for now. A growing body of research confirms these findings (across students, subject areas, settings, etc.), so email us if you'd like more peer-reviewed articles.

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Improve Textbook Learning with Within-Chapter or After-Chapter Retrieval Practice

Where should retrieval practice questions be placed in textbook chapters? In an experiment with 40-page biology textbook chapters (very long, compared to most research in the field!), college students:

  • Completed questions after reading sections within a chapter
  • Completed questions after reading the entire chapter
  • Completed questions both after sections and at the end of the chapter
  • Read the chapter once without questions
  • Read the chapter once, followed by reading the answers (without retrieving)

After two days, the retrieval practice conditions led to greater final test performance than the two reading-only groups – regardless of whether questions were within or after the textbook chapter. Also, "the more the better:" Answering questions in both locations produced the most learning.

Finding: Regardless of the placement of questions, retrieval practice enhances learning more than reading or re-reading long textbook chapters.

Tip: Encourage students to retrieve using practice questions, whether they do it during they read or after they read long textbook chapters.

Authors: Oyku Uner & Henry L. Roediger, III
Journal: Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition

 

Enhance Learning Using Elaborative Feedback with Examples

Does providing feedback with examples benefit conceptual learning? In two experiments, students studied psychology definitions and then:

  • Retrieved the keyword (e.g., outgroup) when provided with the definition (e.g., a group to which a person does not belong), followed by feedback of the correct keyword
  • Retrieved the keyword, followed by feedback with the correct keyword and an example

Final tests included:

  • Providing the original definition and asking for the keyword
  • Providing a new example and asking for the keyword
  • Providing a classification test to examine conceptual understanding

Finding: Feedback with examples improved final test performance more than feedback without examples, regardless of the final test format.

Tip: Provide students with elaborative feedback that includes explanations and examples.

Authors: Bridgid FinnRuthann Thomas, & Katherine A. Rawson
Journal: Learning and Instruction