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Learning from Text with Spaced Remembering Practice

Finney, Rebecca (2011) Learning from Text with Spaced Remembering Practice. Lancaster University.


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The aim of the experiment was to determine the best ways for students to learn from text with spaced remembering practice. The within-participants design involved university students aged 18-22. Participants read a chapter in an initial study session and were tested on half the idea units immediately. The text was then split up into four sections and a condition was assigned to each part: expanding practice, uniformly spaced practice, single early test and single delayed test. Over the next 15 days, on days 2, 5, 7, 10 and 15, spaced online study sessions were completed which tested recall of the text and gave feedback. Four weeks later participants completed a short answer test to measure long-term recall of the whole text. More tests led to better long-term recall, but the effects of the time of the initial test and whether material had been immediately tested were non-significant. A single retrieval practice is more beneficial if taken early and an immediate test takes place after initial presentation. Conclusions were drawn that multiple retrieval attempts will increase long-term recall more than a single retrieval practice but one type of spacing of practice tests (either expanding or uniform) is not superior.

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