Combining retrieval, spacing, and feedback boosts STEM learning

When we write about research and the science of learning, we usually write about learning in K-12. But retrieval practice, spacing, and feedback are powerful in college (and beyond), too.

Read and share our second Research Snapshot on research-based strategies in college STEM courses. Spoiler alert: They dramatically boost learning.

Did you miss our first Research Snapshot on Metacognition Sheets? Check it out and download our free template!

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Research-Based Strategies Boost STEM Learning


Punchline: Scientists demonstrated that when college students used a quizzing program that combined retrieval practice, spacing, and feedback, exam performance increased by nearly a letter grade.

Procedure: College students in an engineering course used an online tutor that incorporated research-based strategies for some course content and not other content.

Results: On a final exam, exam performance was greater for content students learned using the online tutor compared to content without the online tutor (63% vs. 56%).

Takeaway: Using strategies based on the science of learning in combination, even with online websites and apps, can dramatically improve learning in STEM courses at the college level.

Of course, it's tough to summarize science in 30 seconds or less! Download the research for the full scoop.

Butler, A. C., Marsh, E. J., Slavinsky, J. P., & Baraniuk, R. G. (2014). Integrating cognitive science and technology improves learning in a STEM classroom. Educational Psychology Review26, 331-340.