Steven C. Pan

Steven C. Pan
National University of Singapore | NUS · Department of Psychology

PhD

About

56
Publications
30,256
Reads
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679
Citations
Citations since 2017
39 Research Items
649 Citations
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Introduction
Greetings! I am an Assistant Professor of Psychology and director of the Learning Sciences Lab at the National University of Singapore (NUS). Previously, I completed my graduate studies at the University of California, San Diego and a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Additional affiliations
January 2019 - January 2021
University of California, Los Angeles
Position
  • PostDoc Position
June 2014 - December 2018
University of California, San Diego
Position
  • Fellow
Education
September 2013 - December 2018
University of California, San Diego
Field of study
  • Experimental Psychology
September 2013 - June 2014
University of California, San Diego
Field of study
  • Experimental Psychology
June 1999 - June 2004
California State University, Los Angeles
Field of study
  • Psychology and Neuroscience

Publications

Publications (56)
Article
Full-text available
Attempting recall of information from memory, as occurs when taking a practice test, is one of the most potent training techniques known to learning science. However, does testing yield learning that transfers to different contexts? In the present article, we report the findings of the first comprehensive meta-analytic review into that question. Ou...
Article
Full-text available
Do the cognitive benefits of interleaving-the method of alternating between two or more skills or concepts during training-extend to foreign language learning? In four experiments, we investigated the efficacy of interleaved vs. conventional blocked practice for teaching adult learners to conjugate Spanish verbs in the preterite and imperfect past...
Article
Full-text available
Although online lectures have become increasingly popular, their effectiveness at promoting learning can be attenuated by mind wandering (shifts in attention away from the task at hand towards unrelated thoughts). We investigated whether taking tests on to-be-studied information, also known as pretesting, could mitigate this problem and promote lea...
Article
Full-text available
The use of practice tests to enhance learning, or test-enhanced learning, ranks among the most effective of all pedagogical techniques. We investigated the relative efficacy of pretesting (i.e., errorful generation) and posttesting (i.e., retrieval practice), two of the most prominent practice test types in the literature to date. Pretesting involv...
Chapter
Full-text available
To learn effectively requires understanding some fundamental, but unintuitive, properties of how the human learning and memory system works. A variety of research findings suggests, however, that human beings are prone to carrying around a mental model of learning and memory processes that is inaccurate and/or incomplete in some fundamental ways-ow...
Article
Full-text available
The pretesting or prequestion effect refers to the counterintuitive finding that taking tests on information that one has yet to learn, during which many erroneous responses typically occur, can benefit learning relative to non-testing methods (e.g., reading) if the correct answers are studied afterwards. Using a knowledge updating approach that en...
Article
Full-text available
Digital flashcard users typically must choose between creating their own flashcard content or using freely-available flashcard sets. The latter is more convenient and saves time, but is it more effective for learning? We conducted six experiments, each involving the use of user-generated or pre-made flashcards to learn material drawn from education...
Preprint
Digital flashcard users typically must choose between creating their own flashcard content or using freely-available flashcard sets. The latter is more convenient and saves time, but is it more effective for learning? We conducted six experiments, each involving the use of user-generated or pre-made flashcards to learn material drawn from education...
Article
Full-text available
[Full text link: https://rdcu.be/cSXY3] Research on the psychology of learning has highlighted some straightforward ways of enhancing learning. However, effective learning strategies are underutilized by learners. In this Review, we discuss key research findings on two specific learning strategies: spacing and retrieval practice. We focus on how th...
Chapter
In many science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) courses, it is necessary to learn numerous jargon terms—that is, discipline-specific vocabulary words that are rarely used anywhere else (or are used in a very particular way by a scientific or technical discipline). Are there effective ways to help students learn jargon in the midst...
Article
Over the past two decades, digital flashcards—that is, computer programmes, smartphone apps, and online services that mimic, and potentially improve upon, the capabilities of traditional paper flashcards—have grown in variety and popularity. Many digital flashcard platforms allow learners to make or use flashcards from a variety of sources and cust...
Preprint
Over the past two decades, digital flashcards—that is, computer programmes, smartphone apps, and online services that mimic, and potentially improve upon, the capabilities of traditional paper flashcards—have grown in variety and popularity. Many digital flashcard platforms allow learners to make or use flashcards from a variety of sources and cust...
Article
We explored the possibility of publication bias in the sleep and explicit motor sequence learning literature by applying precision effect test (PET) and precision effect test with standard errors (PEESE) weighted regression analyses to the 88 effect sizes from a recent comprehensive literature review (Pan & Rickard, 2015). Basic PET analysis indica...
Article
Full-text available
A century ago, spelling skills were highly valued and widely taught in schools using traditional methods, such as weekly lists, drill exercises, and low- and high-stakes spelling tests. That approach was featured in best-selling textbooks such as the Horn-Ashbaugh Speller of 1920. In the early 21st century, however, skepticism as to the importance...
Article
Full-text available
We investigated whether continuously alternating between topics during practice, or interleaved practice, improves memory and the ability to solve problems in undergraduate physics. Over eight weeks, students in two lecture sections of a university-level introductory physics course completed thrice-weekly homework assignments, each containing probl...
Article
Full-text available
In three experiments we investigated how the level of study-based, episodic knowledge influences the efficacy of subsequent retrieval practice (testing) as a learning event. Possibilities are that the efficacy of a test, relative to a restudy control, decreases, increases, or is independent of the degree of prior study-based learning. The degree of...
Article
Full-text available
Although widely used, the true-false test is often regarded as a superficial or even harmful test, one that lacks the pedagogical efficacy of more substantive tests (e.g., cued-recall or short-answer tests). Such charges, however, lack conclusive evidence and may, in some cases, be false. Across four experiments, we investigated how true-false test...
Preprint
We investigated whether continuously alternating between topics during practice, or interleaved practice, improves memory and the ability to solve problems in undergraduate physics. Over eight weeks, students in two lecture sections of a university-level introductory physics course completed thrice-weekly homework assignments, each containing probl...
Preprint
Full-text available
A century ago, spelling skills were highly valued and widely taught in schools using traditional methods, such as weekly lists, drill exercises, and low- and high-stakes spelling tests. That approach was featured in best-selling textbooks such as the Horn-Ashbaugh Speller of 1920. In the early 21st century, however, skepticism as to the importance...
Preprint
In three experiments we investigated how the level of study-based learning influences theefficacy of subsequent retrieval practice (testing). Possibilities are that the efficacy of a testrelative to a restudy control decreases, increases, or is independent of the degree of priorlearning. Prior learning was manipulated by varying the number of item...
Preprint
Full-text available
The use of practice tests to enhance learning, or test-enhanced learning, ranks among the most effective of all pedagogical techniques. We investigated the relative efficacy of pretesting (i.e., errorful generation) and posttesting (i.e., retrieval practice), two of the most prominent practice test types in the literature to date. Pretesting involv...
Article
Full-text available
Students are often advised to do all of their studying in one good place, but restudying to-be-learned material in a new context can enhance subsequent recall. We examined whether there are similar benefits for testing. In Experiment 1 (n = 106), participants studied a 36-word list and 48 hr later—when back in the same or a new context—either restu...
Article
Full-text available
In some educational contexts, such as during assessments, it is essential to avoid errors. In other contexts, however, generating an error can foster valuable learning opportunities. For instance, generating errors can improve memory for correct answers. In two surveys conducted at three large public universities in North America, we investigated u...
Preprint
In some educational contexts, such as during assessments, it is essential to avoid errors. In other contexts, however, generating an error can foster valuable learning opportunities. For instance, generating errors can improve memory for correct answers. In two surveys conducted at three large public universities in North America, we investigated u...
Preprint
Although online lectures have become increasingly popular, their effectiveness at promoting learning can be attenuated by mind wandering (shifts in attention away from the task at-hand towards unrelated thoughts). We investigated whether taking tests on to-be-studied information, also known as pretesting, could mitigate this problem and promote lea...
Article
Full-text available
In four experiments, we explored conditions under which learning due to retrieval practice (i.e., testing) transfers to the case in which the cue and response words are rearranged (e.g., a training test on gift, rose, ?, wherein the target is wine, and a final test on gift, ?, wine, wherein the answer is rose). In both Experiment 1 and a supplement...
Article
Mastery of jargon terms is an important part of student learning in biology and other science, technology, engineering, and mathematics domains. In two experiments, we investigated whether prelecture quizzes enhance memory for jargon terms, and whether that enhanced familiarity can facilitate learning of related concepts that are encountered during...
Article
Full-text available
Repeatedly switching between a series of to-be-learned topics, also called interleaved practice, can improve learning over traditional, one-topic-at-a-time blocked practice. We investigated whether interleaving's benefits for second language learning are facilitated by random schedules, wherein training trials follow unpredictable patterns, or by s...
Preprint
Mastery of jargon terms is an important part of student learning in biology and other STEM domains. In two experiments we investigated whether pre-lecture quizzes enhance memory for jargon terms, and whether that enhanced familiarity can facilitate learning of related concepts that are encountered during subsequent lectures and readings. Undergradu...
Preprint
Repeatedly switching between a series of to-be-learned topics, also called interleaved practice (interleaving), can improve learning over traditional, one-topic-at-a-time blocked practice (blocking). We investigated whether interleaving’s benefits for foreign language learning are facilitated by random schedules, wherein training trials follow unpr...
Article
After studying a stimulus (e.g., a word triplet such as gift, rose, wine), taking a cued recall test on that stimulus (e.g., gift, rose, ?) improves later recall of the retrieved term (e.g., wine) relative to a restudy control. That testing effect, however, is specific to the tested term: later recall of a previously untested term from the same sti...
Preprint
Previous work has demonstrated that cued recall of a term from a fact yields learning that does not transfer, relative to a restudy control, to recall of another term from the same fact. Here we report six experiments in which a series of manipulations during the initial study and training phases of learning, hypothesized to increase transfer for p...
Article
Previous work has demonstrated that cued recall of a term from a fact yields learning that does not transfer, relative to a restudy control, to recall of another term from the same fact. Here we report six experiments in which a series of manipulations during the initial study and training phases of learning, hypothesized to increase transfer for p...
Preprint
Do the cognitive benefits of interleaving—the method of alternating between two or more skills or concepts during training—extend to foreign language learning? In four experiments, we investigated the efficacy of interleaved vs. conventional blocked practice for teaching adult learners to conjugate Spanish verbs in the preterite and imperfect past...
Preprint
Full-text available
Attempting recall of information from memory, as occurs when taking a practice test, is one of the most potent training techniques known to learning science. However, does testing yield learning that transfers to different contexts? In the present article, we report the findings of the first comprehensive meta-analytic review into that question. Ou...
Article
Full-text available
A new theoretical framework for the testing effect-the finding that retrieval practice is usually more effective for learning than are other strategies-is proposed, the empirically supported tenet of which is that separate memories form as a consequence of study and test events. A simplest case quantitative model is derived from that framework for...
Article
The hypothesis that sleep makes a unique contribution to motor memory consolidation has been debated in recent years. In the target article (Pan & Rickard, 2015), we reported results of a comprehensive meta-analysis of the explicit motor sequence learning literature in which evidence was evaluated for both enhanced performance after sleep and stabi...
Article
Full-text available
In many pedagogical contexts, term-definition facts that link a concept term (e.g., "vision") with its corresponding definition (e.g., "the ability to see") are learned. Does retrieval practice involving retrieval of the term (given the definition) or the definition (given the term) enhance subsequent recall, relative to restudy of the entire fact?...
Article
Full-text available
We examined testing’s ability to enhance adult spelling acquisition, relative to copying and reading. Across three experiments in which testing with feedback was compared with copying, the spelling improvement after testing matched that following the same amount of time spent copying. A potent testing advantage, however, was observed for spelling w...
Article
Full-text available
Does correctly answering a test question about a multi-term fact enhance memory for the entire fact? We explored that issue in four experiments. Subjects first studied Advanced Placement History or Biology facts. Half of those facts were then restudied, while the remainder were tested using “5 W” (i.e., who, what, when, where, or why) or analogous...
Article
Full-text available
Test-enhanced learning and transfer for triple associate word stimuli was assessed in three experiments. In each experiment, training and final test trials involved the presentation of two words per triple associate (triplet), with the third word having to be retrieved. In agreement with the prior literature on different stimuli, training through t...
Article
Brewer and Unsworth (2012) reported that individuals with low episodic memory ability exhibit a larger testing effect, a finding with potentially important educational implications. We conducted two replication attempts of that study. Exp 1 (n = 120) drew from a broad demographic sample and was conducted online, while Exp 2 (n = 122) was conducted...
Article
Full-text available
Over the past four decades, a small but growing body of research has found that interleaving often outperforms blocking for a variety of subjects, including sports and category learning. Yet there have been almost no studies of the technique in uncontrived, real world settings—until recently. New research in schools finds that interleaving produces...
Article
Full-text available
In three experiments, we compared the effectiveness of rainbow writing and retrieval practice, two common methods of spelling instruction. In experiment 1 (n = 14), second graders completed 2 days of spelling practice, followed by spelling tests 1 day and 5 weeks later. A repeated measures analysis of variance demonstrated that spelling accuracy fo...
Article
Full-text available
It is widely believed that sleep is critical to the consolidation of learning and memory. In some skill domains, performance has been shown to improve by 20% or more following sleep, suggesting that sleep enhances learning. However, recent work suggests that those performance gains may be driven by several factors that are unrelated to sleep consol...

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