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The Effects of Interleaved Practice

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Abstract

Previous research shows that interleaving rather than blocking practice of different skills (e.g. abcbcacab instead of aaabbbccc) usually improves subsequent test performance. Yet interleaving, but not blocking, ensures that practice of any particular skill is distributed, or spaced, because any two opportunities to practice the same task are not consecutive. Hence, because spaced practice typically improves test performance, the previously observed test benefits of interleaving may be due to spacing rather than interleaving per se. In the experiment reported herein, children practiced four kinds of mathematics problems in an order that was interleaved or blocked, and the degree of spacing was fixed. The interleaving of practice impaired practice session performance yet doubled scores on a test given one day later. An analysis of the errors suggested that interleaving boosted test scores by improving participants' ability to pair each problem with the appropriate procedure. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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... It occurs when learning episodes that are spaced with gaps between them result in superior learning compared to the same episodes presented in massed form without spacing. Interleaving is sometimes described as an example of spacing (e.g., Taylor & Rohrer, 2010), because the learning episodes relevant to one skill are spaced by interleaved learning episodes relevant to a different skill. In this paper, we argue that the spacing and interleaving effects have distinct causes, with spaced practice having been explained by a variety of constructs including the cognitive load related effect of working memory resource depletion, and interleaved practice explained by the discriminative-contrast hypothesis providing an example of a learning-to-perceptually-discriminate effect. ...
... Alternatively, interleaved practice occurs when each episode of learning skill A is alternated with an episode of skill B (e.g., ABAB). Generally, research has shown that interleaved practice is superior to blocked practice (e.g., Kang & Pashler, 2012;Kornell & Bjork, 2008;Taylor & Rohrer, 2010;Rohrer & Taylor, 2007;Shea & Morgan, 1979;Wahlheim et al., 2011a, b). The interleaving effect can be explained by the discriminative-contrast hypothesis. ...
... In addition to category learning, some research studies in other domains, such as Mathematics, Music, and Language, also supported the discriminative-contrast hypothesis with interleaved practice (Rohrer & Taylor, 2007;Taylor & Rohrer, 2010). Rohrer and Taylor (2007) compared interleaved practice with blocked practice in two experiments. ...
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Spaced and interleaved practices have been identified as effective learning strategies which sometimes are conflated as a single strategy and at other times treated as distinct. Learning sessions in which studying information or practicing problems are spaced in time with rest-from-deliberate-learning periods between sessions generally result in better learning outcomes than massed practice without rest-from-deliberate-learning periods. Interleaved practice also consists of spaced sessions, but by interleaving topics rather than having rest-from-deliberate-learning periods. Interleaving is usually contrasted with blocking in which each learning topic is taught in a single block that provides an example of massed practice. The general finding that interleaved practice is more effective for learning than blocked practice is sometimes attributed to spacing. In the current paper, the presence of rest-from-deliberate-learning periods is used to distinguish between spaced and interleaved practice. We suggest that spaced practice is a cognitive load effect that can be explained by working memory resource depletion during cognitive effort with recovery during rest-from-deliberate-learning, while interleaved practice can be explained by the discriminative-contrast hypothesis positing that interleaving assists learners to discriminate between topic areas. A systematic review of the literature provides evidence for this suggestion.
... Spacing, interleaving, generating answers or testing oneself are referred to as desirable difficulties (Bjork, 1994). Being more difficult, they seem to slow down learning, while they in fact strengthen long-term retention (Bjork & Bjork, 2011;Carpenter et al., 2009;Taylor & Rohrer, 2010). ...
... The MOOC LHTL introduces a number of learning techniques and practical learning tips which include the Pomodoro Technique (Cirillo, 2007) to tackle procrastination, spaced repetitions (Mace, 1932), interleaving (Taylor & Rohrer, 2010), desired difficulties (Bjork, 1994), and habit forming (Duhigg, 2012). Other topics cover the two fundamentally different modes of thinking and their application to improve learning, test preparation tips, how the brain chunks information, illusions of competence and how to avoid them, memory, as well as background information from the neuroscience field. ...
... Students of the experimental group avoided this foresight bias as they used far more productive study modes. They, thereby, integrated desired difficulties that are more effective in improving learning (Bjork, 1994;Bjork & Bjork, 2011;Taylor & Rohrer, 2010) into their study behavior. Furthermore, when students space repetitions in Conjuguemos, they actually combine spacing with self-testing, the two learning techniques that were awarded the highest utility ratings (Dunlosky et al. 2013). ...
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This study explored long-term changes in learning behavior of students participating in an introduction to learning how to learn. The intervention that took place during the first semester included the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) ‘Learning How to Learn’, discussions on the content of the MOOC, and hands-on practice using different learning platforms in the computer-assisted language learning (CALL) component of a Spanish 1 course. The CALL component focused on grammar, vocabulary and listening comprehension training throughout the four-semester observation period and was used in this study to verify changes in students’ learning behavior. The purpose of the study was to investigate if the changes that had already been observed during the first year, would still be noticeable in the second year and how these changes influence outcomes of students’ foreign language learning. Analyses of students’ questionnaires, observations of their study behavior when using the learning platforms, and their academic performance during the study showed that the positive changes students of the experimental group had exhibited during the first year were stable or even increased as more differences became significant compared to the first year and compared to the control group. Different from students in the control group who had not taken part in the intervention, students reported to use more learning techniques, to redo exercises with answers covered and to space repetitions instead of cramming before exams. The only exception was the decline in smartphone use while studying that had been reported in the first year. This was back to pre-intervention level in the second year. Observations of students’ use of the learning platforms confirmed answers to the questionnaires. This far more effective use of the CALL components by students of the experimental group led to better results in their academic performance. Thus, time spent on ‘Learning how to learn’ was time well spent.
... While understanding potential interactions between massed training and working memory has been the focus of a number of recent studies (Collins et al., 2017;Collins, 2018;Collins & Frank, 2018), the inverse of massed trainingspaced traininghas been relatively under-explored in humans (van de Vijver & Ligneul, 2019;. During learning, spacing between learning events has been associated with lower ongoing performance (Schmidt & Bjork, 1992;Soderstrom & Bjork, 2015;Taylor & Rohrer, 2010;van de Vijver & Ligneul, 2019). Critically, however, for many domains including verbal memory, motor skill learning, and educational performance, spacing between learning events is well known to lead to reduced forgetting on later tests (reported in Cepeda et al., 2006;Donovan & Radosevich, 1999;Ebbinghaus, 1913;Janiszewski et al., 2003;Lee & Genovese, 1988). ...
... Critically, we found an effect of rest delay on memory for value associations, where relative performance decreased for massed-trained stimuli and increased for spaced-trained stimuli. Our results suggest that a post-learning delay period may both weaken preferences for massed-trained value associations and strengthen preferences for spaced-trained value associations (Schmidt & Bjork, 1992;Taylor & Rohrer, 2010). However, we cannot directly attribute these changes to effects of either the massed or spaced training alone. ...
... Previous research on the effects of spacing has shown that performance is relatively impaired by spaced training while later retention is improved (Schmidt & Bjork, 1992;Soderstrom & Bjork, 2015;Taylor & Rohrer, 2010), similar to our learning phase results. Additionally, research in this area has also reported a positive effect of a post-learning delay on test performance for verbal memory and motor learning (Cepeda et al., 2006;Donovan & Radosevich, 1999;Janiszewski et al., 2003;Lee & Genovese, 1988;McCabe, 2008). ...
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Neuroscience research has illuminated the mechanisms supporting learning from reward feedback, demonstrating a critical role for the striatum and midbrain dopamine system. However, in humans, short-term working memory that is dependent on frontal and parietal cortices can also play an important role, particularly in commonly used paradigms in which learning is relatively condensed in time. Given the growing use of reward-based learning tasks in translational studies in computational psychiatry, it is important to understand the extent of the influence of working memory and also how core gradual learning mechanisms can be better isolated. In our experiments, we manipulated the spacing between repetitions along with a post-learning delay preceding a test phase. We found that learning was slower for stimuli repeated after a long delay (spaced-trained) compared to those repeated immediately (massed-trained), likely reflecting the remaining contribution of feedback learning mechanisms when working memory is not available. For massed learning, brief interruptions led to drops in subsequent performance, and individual differences in working memory capacity positively correlated with overall performance. Interestingly, when tested after a delay period but not immediately, relative preferences decayed in the massed condition and increased in the spaced condition. Our results provide additional support for a large role of working memory in reward-based learning in temporally condensed designs. We suggest that spacing training within or between sessions is a promising approach to better isolate and understand mechanisms supporting gradual reward-based learning, with particular importance for understanding potential learning dysfunctions in addiction and psychiatric disorders.
... For example, interleaved study or practice has been demonstrated to benefit the learning of perceptual categories, such as artists' painting styles (Kang & Pashler, 2012;Kornell & Bjork, 2008), butterfly species (Birnbaum et al., 2013), and chest radiographic patterns (Rozenshtein et al., 2016). Interleaved study has also been shown to benefit the learning of cognitive concepts, such as mathematics formulae (Rohrer, 2012;Taylor & Rohrer, 2010), the application of non-parametric statistics to different research designs (Sana et al., 2017), the diagnosing of clinical disorders in case patients (Zulkiply et al., 2012), and the classification of organic chemistry compounds (Eglington & Kang, 2017). Finally, there is also a large body of motor skills research demonstrating the benefit of interleaving with skills ranging from simple sequences (Simon & Bjork, 2001) to large, complex movements in sports (e.g., badminton, Goode & Magill, 1986;volleyball, Jones & French, 2007;baseball, Hall et al., 1994;golf;Brady, 2016), to fine movements such as playing musical instruments (Abushanab & Bishara, 2013) and tying knots (Ollis et al., 2005). ...
... The benefit of interleaving has also been shown across different age groups. While most of the research has been conducted with college students, and young-and middle-aged adults, interleaving has also been shown to benefit learning for children (Nemeth et al., 2019;Taylor & Rohrer, 2010;Vlach et al., 2008), and for older adults (Kornell et al., 2010;Lin et al., 2012Lin et al., , 2016. ...
... Such preferences for blocking may stem from a priori beliefs or intuitions, or a sense of subjective fluency that blocking induces, whereby repeated exposure to the same to-be-learnt category may increase one's experienced ease of processing that subsequently shapes perceptions of blocking's effectiveness (Yan, Bjork, & Bjork, 2016). However, numerous studies in cognitive and educational psychology have reported an interleaving effect, whereby interleaving produces superior learning than blocking across domains such as musical performance (Abushanab & Bishara, 2013;Carter & Grahn, 2016;Stambaugh, 2011), motor skills (Shea & Morgan, 1979), mathematics (Rohrer, Dedrick, & Burgess, 2014;Taylor & Rohrer, 2010), and foreign language acquisition (Nakata & Suzuki, 2019;Pan, Tajran, Lovelett, Osuna, & Rickard, 2019;cf. Carpenter & Mueller, 2013). ...
... Replicating the interleaving effect (e.g., Birnbaum et al., 2013;Kornell & Bjork, 2008;Taylor & Rohrer, 2010), novices were significantly better at identifying novel musical intervals that had been learnt interleaved rather than blocked. In the absence of reference songs and singing as supplementary aids during the aural training process, interleaving outperformed blocking in musical category induction. ...
Article
Musical interval identification is a valuable skill for holistic and sophisticated musicianship. Yet, discriminating and identifying intervals is often challenging, especially for musical novices. Drawing on cognitive psychological principles, we built two experiments that investigated the utility of interleaving in enhancing novices’ aural identification of melodic ascending intervals. Specifically, we designed a novel programmed intervention during which novices learnt six interval types in an interleaved schedule (different interval types learnt interspersed) and six interval types in a blocked schedule (each interval type drilled several times before proceeding to the next) within a single session. When implemented in combination with familiar reference songs and singing as supplementary learning aids, interleaving and blocking yielded comparable performance on a test requiring participants to classify novel instances of the studied interval types (Experiment 1). However, in the absence of reference songs and singing, a robust interleaving effect emerged—interleaving produced superior musical interval identification than blocking (Experiment 2). Yet, most participants were unaware of the benefits of interleaving, and misjudged blocking to be more effective. These findings highlight the potential influence of context under which interleaving is a beneficial technique for learning melodic musical intervals.
... Second, interleaving usually leads to lower performance during practice than blocked practice. However, the additional effort during interleaved practice pays off in the long-term, when interleaving shows less material is forgotten than with blocked practice (Taylor and Rohrer, 2010). ...
... When presenting material in an interleaved manner, teachers should be aware that performance is low, initially. However, this low initial performance is the result of the additional effort of discriminating between related topics and leads to better long-term performance (Taylor and Rohrer, 2010). Furthermore, it seems important to make sure that students exhibit a good grasp of the different concepts before introducing interleaving. ...
Article
Transfer of knowledge from one context to another is one of the paramount goals of education. Educators want their students to transfer what they are learning from one topic to the next, between courses, and into the "real world." However, it is also notoriously difficult to get students to successfully transfer concepts. This issue is of particular concern in biology and the life sciences, for which transfer of concepts between disciplines is especially critical to understanding. Students not only struggle to transfer concepts like energy from chemistry to biology but also struggle to transfer concepts like chromosome structures in cell division within biology courses. This paper reviews the current research and understanding of transfer from cognitive psychology. We discuss how learner abilities, taught material, and lesson characteristics affect transfer and provide best practices for biology and life sciences education.
... For example, when preparing for a statistics exam that covers t-test, chi-squared test, and ANOVA, students should in termix skill questions pertaining to all three statistical topics rather than first answer a set of questions on t-test, then chi-squared test, and finally ANOVA. Studies show that interleaved practice produced higher test scores (doubled or tripled) than blocked practice (Rohrer & Taylor, 2007;Taylor & Rohrer, 2010). The benefit of inter leaved practice stems from improved discriminability (Taylor & Rohrer, 2010). ...
... Studies show that interleaved practice produced higher test scores (doubled or tripled) than blocked practice (Rohrer & Taylor, 2007;Taylor & Rohrer, 2010). The benefit of inter leaved practice stems from improved discriminability (Taylor & Rohrer, 2010). When the practice test contains a mixture of different skills, students must classify each question topic (e.g., this is a t-test question) and decide what facts, concepts, or skills they must retrieve to solve the problem. ...
... The findings showed that the students in the blocked condition had superior performances on the practice items, whereas students in the interleaved condition did significantly better on a test after training. Similar studies with instructions preceding practice have found comparable results (e.g., Rohrer, Dedrick, & Burgess, 2014;Rohrer et al., 2020;Taylor & Rohrer, 2010). ...
... This is especially true in studies on motor task development (see Merbah & Meulemans, 2011). But also in CI-studies on mathematics learning it is customary to include between three to eight practice trials per problem type (Rohrer et al., 2015(Rohrer et al., , 2020Taylor & Rohrer, 2010). In contrast, the present study included only a single practice trial per task type. ...
Article
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This study investigated the effectiveness of two practice schedules in video-based software training. An experiment compared an arrangement with instructions followed by a blocked or an interleaved practice schedule for effects on flow, self-efficacy development and task performances. According to the contextual interference effect, there should be a trade-off between the effectiveness of these schedules during and after training. Participants were elementary school students who were novices in the Word training that was offered. The findings indicated that flow was positive across conditions, and that there was a trend favoring the blocked schedule. Self-efficacy after training was equally higher in both conditions. Performances of trained tasks during and after training were satisfactory. There was a trend favoring the blocked schedule on the immediate and transfer test. However, the present study found no empirical evidence for any significant differences between the conditions. Several possible accounts for this finding are presented. The practical take-away is that the findings support the predominant practice arrangement for video-based software training (i.e., a blocked schedule) in initial skills acquisition.
... For example, interleaved study or practice has been demonstrated to benefit the learning of perceptual categories, such as artists' painting styles (Kang & Pashler, 2012;Kornell & Bjork, 2008), butterfly species (Birnbaum et al., 2013), and chest radiographic patterns (Rozenshtein et al., 2016). Interleaved study has also been shown to benefit the learning of cognitive concepts, such as mathematics formulae (Rohrer, 2012;Taylor & Rohrer, 2010), the application of non-parametric statistics to different research designs (Sana et al., 2017), the diagnosing of clinical disorders in case patients (Zulkiply et al., 2012), and the classification of organic chemistry compounds (Eglington & Kang, 2017). Finally, there is also a large body of motor skills research demonstrating the benefit of interleaving with skills ranging from simple sequences (Simon & Bjork, 2001) to large, complex movements in sports (e.g., badminton, Goode & Magill, 1986;volleyball, Jones & French, 2007;baseball, Hall et al., 1994;golf;Brady, 2016), to fine movements such as playing musical instruments (Abushanab & Bishara, 2013) and tying knots (Ollis et al., 2005). ...
... The benefit of interleaving has also been shown across different age groups. While most of the research has been conducted with college students, and young-and middle-aged adults, interleaving has also been shown to benefit learning for children (Nemeth et al., 2019;Taylor & Rohrer, 2010;Vlach et al., 2008), and for older adults (Kornell et al., 2010;Lin et al., 2012Lin et al., , 2016. ...
Article
Interleaving examples of to-be-learned categories, rather than blocking examples by category, can enhance learning. We examine the reliability of the interleaving effect between- (Experiments 1 and 2) and within-participants (Experiment 3). As a between-participant effect, we examined a broad spectrum of working memory by both measuring individual capacity and manipulating the task demand. Findings reveal a robust interleaving effect across the spectrum, eliminated only at the lowest and highest ends, but never reversed. In Experiment 3, we used an empirically defined source of potential heterogeneity by examining whether the size of the interleaving benefit a participant experiences on one set of stimuli predicts the size of the interleaving benefit that same participant experiences on two other sets of stimuli. It did not, with only a very small correlation between the two more similar stimuli sets. Taken together, these results add to the burgeoning literature on the robustness of the interleaving benefit.
... Interestingly, there is substantial research within cognitive psychology comparing single-task trial presentations. Within this literature, the term blocking refers to teaching items one at a time (e.g., aaabbbccc; analogous to massed trial); whereas, the term interleaving refers to teaching items in an intermixed fashion (e.g., abcabcabc; Taylor & Rohrer, 2010;analogous to varied instruction). Studies have consistently found interleaving produces superior performance relative to blocking, particularly for high similarity items that require a visual discriminative contrast (Brunmair & Richter, 2019;Carvalho & Goldstone, 2014;Taylor & Rohrer, 2010). ...
... Within this literature, the term blocking refers to teaching items one at a time (e.g., aaabbbccc; analogous to massed trial); whereas, the term interleaving refers to teaching items in an intermixed fashion (e.g., abcabcabc; Taylor & Rohrer, 2010;analogous to varied instruction). Studies have consistently found interleaving produces superior performance relative to blocking, particularly for high similarity items that require a visual discriminative contrast (Brunmair & Richter, 2019;Carvalho & Goldstone, 2014;Taylor & Rohrer, 2010). Such findings suggest that incorporating varied items supports discrimination to facilitate learning. ...
Article
Discrete trial training is one evidence-based instructional procedure within Applied Behavior Analysis. Two important considerations when using this procedure are trial presentation type and treatment integrity. Research has demonstrated both these considerations affect skill acquisition for children with developmental disabilities but has not rigorously examined their independent and interactive impact on learning in larger samples. The present study is a translational approach to better understand learning during discrete trial training. Specifically, we compared trial presentation type (varied instruction versus task interspersal) on skill acquisition during high-and low-treatment integrity conditions in 166 college students. Findings demonstrated task interspersal resulted in better acquisition and maintenance than varied instruction and that low treatment integrity significantly impaired learning. No interaction between trial presentation type and treatment integrity emerged. Discussion of learning processes and implications for instruction is included in light of present findings.
... There are many domains where interleaving has proven broadly beneficial for learning (Brunmair & Richter 2019), such as in educational settings (Taylor & Rohrer 2010) and in motor skill learning (Goode & Magill 1986). There is also extensive prior research on the effects of interleaved and blocked exposure on learning categories of multidimensional stimuli (see Carvalho & Goldstone, 2015 for a review). ...
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Neural representations can be characterized as falling along a continuum, from distributed representations, in which neurons are responsive to many related features of the environment, to localist representations, where neurons orthogonalize activity patterns despite any input similarity. Distributed representations support powerful learning in neural network models and have been posited to exist throughout the brain, but it is unclear under what conditions humans acquire these representations and what computational advantages they may confer. In a series of behavioral experiments, we present evidence that interleaved exposure to new information facilitates the rapid formation of distributed representations in humans. As in neural network models with distributed representations, interleaved learning supports fast and automatic recognition of item relatedness, affords efficient generalization, and is especially critical for inference when learning requires statistical integration of noisy information over time. We use the data to adjudicate between several existing computational models of human memory and inference. The results demonstrate the power of interleaved learning and implicate the use of distributed representations in human inference.
... Interleaving practice According to the interleaving practice principle, spreading out learning opportunities causes better long-term retention of information than providing multiple learning opportunities, one right after the other (i.e., massed practice; (Dunlosky et al., 2013). Researchers have found that students who received interleaving practice outperformed on the follow-up tests compared to their peers who received block practice (Taylor & Rohrer, 2010) asking students to solve mathematics problems on different content areas (addition, subtraction, place values) provides more opportunities for students to detect their errors and refine their knowledge on different mathematics content areas (Li et al., 2012). In addition, interleaving practice can help students build a strong relationship between problem types and appropriate solution strategies (Rohrer et al., 2014). ...
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Previous studies demonstrate the positive effects of explicit mathematics intervention on the mathematics outcomes of students at risk for mathematics difficulties (MD). One such intervention was the Tier 2 Booster Intervention (T2BI), a supplemental mathematics intervention focused on whole number concepts and skills that detailed the explicit and systematic instructional design of T2BI. However, findings from past research suggest that some students do not adequately respond to this purposefully designed intervention. Against that backdrop, the focus of this study is to address this notion of minimal response to intervention by integrating a select set of validated Cognitive Learning Principles (CLPs) into T2BI and investigating the extent to which students with MD respond favorably to the resulting intervention. Employing a multiple baseline design, our results showed a functional relation between the provision of an intervention with CLPs and increasing accuracy scores on both proximal and distal measures across the four participants with MD. These findings and their broader implications using CLPs to reduce minimal response to well-designed mathematics interventions are discussed.
... Importantly, the current study refers only to the effects of massed practice regarding training of a single skill, where it has been suggested that training of that single skill should occur spaced in time. This recommendation is not to be confused with another instructional design principle, for which multiple labels have been used in the literature, that is, the contextual inference effect [53][54][55], the variability effect [56,57] or interleaved practice [58], respectively. Here it is suggested that when training multiple skills, these should be trained in an interleaved way (abcabcabc etc.) to highlight the differences between them. ...
Article
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The interpretation of medical images is an error-prone process that may yield severe consequences for patients. In dental medicine panoramic radiography (OPT) is a frequently used diagnostic procedure. OPTs typically contain multiple, diverse anomalies within one image making the diagnostic process very demanding, rendering students’ development of visual expertise a complex task. Radiograph interpretation is typically taught through massed practice; however, it is not known how effective this approach is nor how it changes students’ visual inspection of radiographs. Therefore, this study investigated how massed practice–an instructional method that entails massed learning of one type of material–affects processing of OPTs and the development of diagnostic performance. From 2017 to 2018, 47 dental students in their first clinical semester diagnosed 10 OPTs before and after their regular massed practice training, which is embedded in their curriculum. The OPTs contained between 3 to 26 to-be-identified anomalies. During massed practice they diagnosed 100 dental radiographs without receiving corrective feedback. The authors recorded students’ eye movements and assessed the number of correctly identified and falsely marked low- and high prevalence anomalies before and after massed practice. Massed practice had a positive effect on detecting anomalies especially with low prevalence (p < .001). After massed practice students covered a larger proportion of the OPTs (p < .001), which was positively related to the detection of low-prevalence anomalies (p = .04). Students also focused longer, more frequently, and earlier on low-prevalence anomalies after massed practice (ps < .001). While massed practice improved visual expertise in dental students with limited prior knowledge, there is still substantial room for improvement. The results suggest integrating massed practice with more deliberate practice, where, for example, corrective feedback is provided, and support is adapted to students’ needs.
... For example, long-term retention will be improved if a student studied for one hour every night of the week instead of seven hours the night before an exam. Interleaving often involves some amount of natural spacing, but adds an additional benefit from changing the order in which items are studied or reviewed [8]. In this way, students are more likely to recognize the similarities and differences between items or materials. ...
... 40 The benefit of interleaved practice in acquiring and retaining motor skills is also well documented in the literature. [41][42][43][44] However, health-related studies are still scarce. ...
... The author also discussed the concept of interleaving. Effects of interleaving have been studied extensively in the field of cognitive psychology (e.g., Kang & Pashler, 2012;Rohrer & Taylor, 2007;Taylor & Rohrer, 2010), as well as L2 learning (Carpenter & Mueller, 2013;Nakata & Suzuki, 2019a). In these studies, interleaving refers to a schedule where multiple concepts or skills are practiced simultaneously, as opposed to blocking (where only one concept or skill is practiced at a time). ...
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Four papers by Clint Denison and Imogen Custance, Louis Lafleur, James Rogers, and Andrew Obermeier will be presented at the Eighth Annual JALT Vocabulary SIG Symposium in Tokyo, Japan, on September 20, 2020. The topics covered in the four papers are vocabulary learning using online student-created vocabulary lists, development of a flashcard program that manipulates the review schedule and question format, creation of a list of multi-word units based on corpora, and examination of the acquisition of declarative and tacit vocabulary knowledge from deliberate computer-assisted learning. This commentary briefly summarizes each study and offers suggestions for future research. All of the four studies exhibit how computer technology can be used to facilitate vocabulary research, teaching, and learning.
... metacomprehension). Our findings are also applicable to the literature on interleaved versus blocked practice strategies (Taylor & Rohrer, 2010) and may provide insight on a mechanism (i.e. resource depletion) behind why interleaved practice produces superior learning and transfer of novel information than blocked practice (Schorn & Knowlton, 2021). ...
Article
The goal of the present study was to examine how cognitive resource depletion impacts reading comprehension. Participants completed either a simple typing task (control condition), or an attentionally taxing typing task (depletion condition) followed by a reading comprehension task. For both vague (difficult to understand) and concrete (easy to understand) passages, resource depletion had no effect on textbase comprehension or surface form comprehension. However, resource depletion impaired situation model comprehension in vague passages, and improved situation model comprehension of concrete passages. The results provide evidence that a depletion of cognitive resources impacts readers’ ability to form a coherent situation model, and that the impact of resource depletion differs as a function of passage difficulty. We conclude that successful situation model construction is dependent on the attentional and working memory resources that are available to the reader.
... Several decades of research from cognitive science and educational psychology have revealed principles that reliably enhance learning (for reviews, see Dunlosky et al. 2013;Pashler et al. 2007;Rohrer and Pashler 2010). For example, learning can be significantly enhanced by inserting extra time in-between repeated study sessions-i.e., the widely documented benefits of spacing, or distributed practice (Carpenter 2017;Delaney et al. 2010;Toppino and Gerbier 2014)-by mixing up, or interleaving, the order of different types of procedures when studying things like mathematical formulas (Rohrer and Taylor 2007;Taylor and Rohrer 2010), categorical properties (Kornell and Bjork 2008), and language skills (Pan et al. 2019), and by practicing to retrieve information from memory rather than studying it over again (Rowland 2014). These techniques increase the difficulty or effort involved in learning while also increasing the ultimate durability of that learning, and as such they have come to be known as "desirable difficulties" . ...
Article
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Retrieval practice has been widely studied as an effective strategy for enhancing memory. In this review article, we discuss how its effects on learning complex problem-solving procedures are less straightforward, however, with repeated studying of worked examples sometimes more effective than problem-solving practice. This worked example benefit has been interpreted within the framework of cognitive load theory. In both memory-based tasks and problem-solving tasks, students rate retrieval as more effortful, and less effective for learning, than repeated study. Self-regulated learning decisions do not align with the evidence about the effectiveness of retrieval, as students often avoid using retrieval in memory-based tasks but frequently use it in more complex problem-solving tasks. Patterns associated with self-report survey data and self-regulated learning decisions suggest that retrieval may be used primarily as a means of checking knowledge, and the effort experienced during retrieval may drive subsequent study decisions (i.e., the choice to engage in retrieval vs. further study) to the extent that the experienced effort is interpreted as a sign that learning has been ineffective. We discuss implications of students’ views about the purpose of retrieval for effective monitoring and regulation of effort during learning, and propose interventions that may improve students’ optimal use of retrieval in their study decisions.
... Typically, learners are required to determine the problem structure to choose the appropriate procedure. Previous studies demonstrated advantages of interleaving on acquisition of mathematical procedural skills attributable to an elaborated representation of the problem structure (Nemeth et al., 2021;Rohrer, 2012;Rohrer & Taylor, 2007;Sana et al., 2017Sana et al., , 2018Taylor & Rohrer, 2010). ...
Article
Research on study sequences has not considered the cross-classification of to-be-learned categories. In two experiments, we utilized cross-classified exemplars, which simultaneously belonged to categories of two orthogonal dimensions. Experiment 1 addressed the question of how interleaving one category dimension while simultaneous blocking another category dimension affects the induction of the simultaneously blocked category dimension. Experiment 2 examined our proposed mechanism by manipulating the degree of change (one-category vs. cross-category change) and the frequency of change (high vs. low) in the presentation sequence of exemplars with cross-classified characteristics. In Experiment 1, sequences that combined interleaving one dimension while blocking the other dimension were superior to sequences that provided no comparison opportunities when classifying both interleaved and blocked categories. This revealed a carry-over effect of interleaving: blocked and interleaved categories were equally well classified. Our findings are incompatible with the discriminative contrast hypothesis and the attentional bias framework, where interleaving is not assumed to support within-category comparisons. We explain the results according to the principle of change one category at a time (COCAT). Interleaving exemplars on one category dimension, but blocking them on another category dimension, enables learners to reliably map the distinctive features onto the covarying categories and the shared features onto the constant category. In contrast, there is a risk of confounding common characteristics when no comparison opportunities are given. Likewise, pure interleaving impedes category induction by confounding changing characteristics. Accordingly, Experiment 2 demonstrated that as long as a sequence implemented the COCAT principle, learners accurately identify diagnostic feature sets. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).
... Educators might provide more practice opportunities in which different problem types are interspersed, thus requiring children to decide which procedure to use on each problem. Interleaving practice problems has improved learning of algebra and geometry (Rohrer & Taylor, 2007;Taylor & Rohrer, 2010) and would likely do so for decimal arithmetic as well. ...
Article
To explain children's difficulties learning fraction arithmetic, Braithwaite et al. (2017) proposed FARRA, a theory of fraction arithmetic implemented as a computational model. The present study tested predictions of the theory in a new domain, decimal arithmetic, and investigated children's use of conceptual knowledge in that domain. Sixth and eighth grade children (N = 92) solved decimal arithmetic problems while thinking aloud and afterward explained solutions to decimal arithmetic problems. Consistent with the hypothesis that FARRA's theoretical assumptions would generalize to decimal arithmetic, results supported 3 predictions derived from the model: (a) accuracies on different types of problems paralleled the frequencies with which the problem types appeared in textbooks; (b) most errors involved overgeneralization of strategies that would be correct for problems with different operations or types of number; and (c) individual children displayed patterns of strategy use predicted by FARRA. We also hypothesized that during routine calculation, overt reliance on conceptual knowledge is most likely among children who lack confidence in their procedural knowledge. Consistent with this hypothesis, (d) many children displayed conceptual knowledge when explaining solutions but not while solving problems; (e) during problem-solving, children who more often overtly used conceptual knowledge also displayed doubt more often; and (f) problem solving accuracy was positively associated with displaying conceptual knowledge while explaining, but not with displaying conceptual knowledge while solving problems. We discuss implications of the results for rational number instruction and for the creation of a unified theory of rational number arithmetic. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).
... The effect gets stronger as the frequency of repetition increases (Underwood, 1970). Research studies (e.g., Taylor & Rohrer, 2010) have shown that interleaved presentations (i.e., the presentation order of different topics is mixed such as abc bca cab) is more effective than massed presentations (i.e., concepts of a topic are presented in blocks such as aaa bbb ccc). Spaced learning provides long-term (e.g., after five weeks) benefits not only for factual learning but also for higher-level learning (Kapler, Weston, & Wiseheart, 2015). ...
Chapter
Cognitive theories have the potential to provide suggestions to design more effective learning environments for higher education. The goal of this chapter is to review cognitive theories and principles based on empirical findings and suggest implications for practice. Working memory theory, distributed cognition theory, dual-process theory, modulatory emotional consolidation theory, mental model theory, metacognitive theory, transfer appropriate processing principle, generation effect, testing effect, and spacing effect are presented in the current study. Based on these theoretical frameworks, novel recommendations for educational practice are suggested.
... To guide delivery, the author's instructional coaching framework was used: Distributed, Repetitive, Compare/Contrast, Higher-Ordered Thinking Skills, Interleave & Interactive, Goal Setting, and Graphical representation or DR. CHI 2 GG as a checkup for implementing evidence-based instruction (Beauchamp & Kennewell, 2010;Cook et al., 2013;Gettinger et al., 1982;Kozlowski & Bell, 2006;Krug et al., 1990;Lin et al., 2013;Rau et al., 2015;Schunk, 1990;Taylor & Rohrer, 2010). As shown in Figure 2, staff were instructed to follow the I-We-You format, with admonitions for variety to generate interest and the inclusion of high school level work, even if the students were very far behind. ...
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While proponents claimed Response to Intervention (RtI) improved student learning and prevented failure, there was an absence of research in effectiveness. Applying action research within a case study, there was an investigation into the process of reforming and improving RtI within a short-term juvenile detention center in the Midwest of the United States for students in grades 5-12. Using the conceptual framework of adaptive leadership, there was an analysis of policies and procedures, observations, interviews, and student work. RtI as a stand-alone program revealed many teachers lacked evidence-based instructional methods and alternative teachers lacked content knowledge, making implementation difficult. Within the action research method, role ambiguity caused problems with fidelity, with the need to infuse strategic leadership with action research when teachers' sense of self and professional were challenged.
... Although the interleaved sequence might feel more difficult to learners and lead to more mistakes during practice compared to the blocked sequence (Taylor & Rohrer, 2010), many experiments have demonstrated cases in which interleaving is superior (see Brunmair & Richter, 2019 for a meta-analysis). The interleaving effect has been replicated with various types of stimuli-from motor skills (e.g., piano playing; Abushanab & Bishara, 2013) to perceptual categories (e.g., artist paintings styles, bird families, chest x-rays, fish; Kornell & Bjork, 2008;Rozenshtein et al., 2016;Wahlheim et al., 2011;Yan & Sana, in press) and cognitive concepts (e.g., chemistry compounds, math formulae, statistics, clinical disorders; Eglington & Kang, 2017;Rohrer et al., 2015;Sana et al., 2017;Zulkiply et al., 2012). ...
Article
Attention- and memory-based accounts of sequencing effects in category learning are often pitted against one another, but we propose that both are important. We created an unsupervised learning task in which the rules governing categories would be difficult to notice under interleaved sequences. Specifically, participants were presented with Chinese characters and their meanings. Category-related characters all shared a subcomponent (“radical”), but participants had to abstract this rule. No character was repeated. On the day-delayed test, participants were shown new Chinese characters and asked to select a possible meaning to test category induction. Under both passive (Experiment 1) and active (Experiment 2) study, we found no interleaving benefit. However, when we eliminated the demand on attentional processes by directing attention to the rules (Experiment 3), we obtained an interleaving benefit. We discuss implications for how sequencing decisions should not only depend on the stimuli but also the learning task.
... One strategy with a very high impact on learning performance concerns the use of distributed practice (i.e., scheduling study activities spread over a period of time) and practice testing (i.e., self-testing on material to be learned by solving practice problems or answering questions) (Adesope et al., 2017;Rowland, 2014, for a review). Other strategies have proved effective in certain settings and domains, such as interleaved practice (adopting a study schedule that alternates between different types of problem or material), elaborative interrogation (thinking of an explanation for why a given fact or concept is true), and self-explanation (considering how new information relates to known information) (Kang & Pashler, 2012;Taylor & Rohrer, 2010;Smith et al., 2010). Studying also needs to be monitored (goal monitoring). ...
Article
"Students can encounter difficulties in their academic careers, regarding their studying skills, for instance, or experiencing negative emotions. Both are amenable to training and related to one another. This study aimed to examine the efficacy of two interventions focusing on studying skills or emotional skills. Two groups of students with academic difficulties participated: 30 worked on study-related aspects (Study skills group); and the other 30 attended lessons on emotions in everyday life (Emotional skills group). They were tested before and after the training on measures of their motivation to learn, self–regulated learning strategies, and emotions (positive and negative emotions). The results showed that both groups benefited from the training. The Study skills group improved specifically in incremental theory of intelligence (d=0.94, p<0.001), self–regulated learning strategies (organization: d=0.74, p<0.001; elaboration: d=0.58, p<0.001; preparing for exams: d=0.78, p<0.001, specific effects), and more positive emotions about their academic performance (d=0.64, p<0.001, transfer effect). The Emotional skills group showed smaller effects on study-related aspects (0.10≤d≤0.49), with a large effect on negative emotions about the self (d=– .87). These results offer insight on how to approach students’ academic difficulties."
... Learning through category induction is a primary method by which humans acquire knowledge (Kruschke, 2005;Brunmair and Richter, 2019). Category learning, also known as concept attainment, span from infancy through to adulthood, and include learning the label of novel objects (Vlach et al., 2008), different species of birds (Wahlheim et al., 2011), landscapes or skyscapes painted by different artists (Kornell et al., 2010), or different types of mathematics assignments (Taylor and Rohrer, 2010;Rohrer et al., 2015). To engage in category induction, individuals must be able to identify recurring patterns (Ashby and O'Brien, 2005;Eglington and Kang, 2017;Sana et al., 2017). ...
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Interleaved practice (i.e., exemplars from different categories are intermixed within blocks) has been shown to enhance induction performance compared to blocked practice (i.e., exemplars from the same category are presented sequentially). The main aim of the present study was to examine explanations of why interleaved practice produces this benefit in category induction (known as the interleaving effect). We also evaluated two hypotheses, the attention attenuation hypothesis and the discriminative-contrast hypothesis, by collecting data on participants’ fixation on exemplars, provided by eye-tracking data, and manipulating the degree of discriminative-contrast. In Experiments 1 and 2, participants were instructed to learn the style of 12 new artists in blocked and interleaved practice in fixed-paced and self-paced learning conditions, respectively. We examined fixation durations for six positions (temporal sequence of exemplars presented in each block) using eye-tracking. The results of the two experiments, based on eye-tracking data, suggested that attention attenuation may not be the primary mechanism underlying the interleaving effect in category induction. In Experiment 3, we manipulated the degree of discriminative-contrast to examine the impact on the interleaving effect in category induction. The results showed that the main effect of the degree of discriminative-contrast was significant, and performance in the high-contrast condition was significantly better than those in the medium-contrast and low-contrast conditions. Thus, the current results support the discriminative-contrast hypothesis rather than the attention attenuation hypothesis.
... In education, long term memory is the target of each educator. Taylor and Rohrer (2010) suggested that teachers may help their students by assigning topics in a way that lead to distributed practice. Metamemory deals to judgments and decisions individuals make about their own learning and memory (Metcalfe, 2009). ...
Experiment Findings
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This study aimed to determine the effectiveness of Past-Based Approach in the academic performance of Grade 8 students in English. Mixed method approach was employed for a more comprehensive analysis of data. Quasi-experimental design was first utilized which is followed by qualitative research. Control and experimental group were chosen from the Grade 8 students which are clustered heterogeneously. While 5 students who met the qualification were interviewed to share their insights about the effectiveness of PBA. Standardized test from the Division Office was used as a tool for pretest and posttest. The experimental group was exposed to PBA while the control group was taught using the traditional way. Scores were interpreted using mean and t-test. It was revealed that the experimental group had a tremendous increase in their academic performance compared with the control group. The analysis of two means magnified that the difference between the two means is statistically significant. This denotes that PBA is effective in improving the academic performance of Grade 8 students in English. After which, students underscored that connecting previous to lessons and repeating the tough topics is what makes PBA effective. Study suggest that PBA must be tested with other grade level or learning area.
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Purpose: To understand how educational disparities unfolded after COVID-19 broke out, this study examined differences in effects of relevant factors on academic achievements before and after the COVID-19 outbreak. Design/methodology/data/approach: Data collected in two time points (2019 and 2020) from 2,699 middle school students as part of the Busan Education Longitudinal Study were used. Structural equation modeling (SEM) was applied to investigate the changes in relationship of the educational outcomes in Korean Language, English Language, and Math, with parental education, parental support, education expenditure, learning attitude, self-directed learning, and previous achievement. Findings/Results: The distributions of test scores demonstrated the possibilities of learning loss in subjects of Korean and English and educational disparities in the subjects of Korean and math. The SEM results revealed that student variables became more influential than parent variables after the pandemic. Especially, the effect of previous achievement on current achievement and the effect of self-directed learning on learning attitude became more prominent. Value: This study provides empirical evidence of the possible effects of COVID-19-related disruptions in education on educational achievements and disparities.
Chapter
Dieses Kapitel beleuchtet theoretische Grundlagen unterrichtlichen Lehrens und Lernens und gibt einen Überblick über wichtige Ergebnisse der Unterrichtsforschung. Dabei wird sowohl auf kognitive als auch auf affektiv-motivationale Merkmale von Schulerfolg Bezug genommen.
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Purpose A narrative review of existing research literature was conducted to identify practices that are likely to improve the quality of de-escalation and use-of-force training for police officers. Design/methodology/approach Previous reviews of de-escalation and use-of-force training literature were examined to identify promising training practices, and more targeted literature searches of various databases were undertaken to learn more about the potential impact of each practice on a trainee's ability to learn, retain, and transfer their training. Semi-structured interviews with five subject matter experts were also conducted to assess the degree to which they believed the identified practices were relevant to de-escalation and use-of-force training, and would enhance the quality of such training. Findings Twenty practices emerged from the literature search. Each was deemed relevant and useful by the subject matter experts. These could be mapped on to four elements of training: (1) commitment to training (e.g. securing organizational support for training), (2) development of training (e.g. aligning training formats with learning objectives), (3) implementation of training (e.g. providing effective corrective feedback) and (4) evaluation and ongoing assessment of training (e.g. using multifaceted evaluation tools to monitor and modify training as necessary). Originality/value This review of training practices that may be relevant to de-escalation and use-of-force training is the broadest one conducted to date. The review should prompt more organized attempts to quantify the effectiveness of the training practices (e.g. through meta-analyses), and encourage more focused testing in a police training environment to determine their impact.
Chapter
An understanding of microbiological concepts is important for all citizens because we are all affected by microbial life on Earth. Microbes play a role in our food manufacture, affect our individual health and microbial growth underpins our healthy environments. Teaching microbiology, particularly at primary and secondary school levels, tends to focus on human pathogens and ways to ensure that we remain healthy. Although important (and never more so during the global SARS-CoV-2 pandemic), these lessons rarely describe the importance of microbes to other aspects of our lives or emphasise that the vast majority of microbial species will not cause human disease. In order to improve microbial literacy and to elevate decision making by governments and other agencies to include correct microbial concepts, interesting, relevant and safe education should be provided throughout primary and secondary school and be continued during tertiary study. This chapter discusses microbiology education at all levels and goes on to describe excellence in teaching practice including the provision of online exercises and the value assigned to these activities by students. Improved microbial education will improve decision-making that involves microbes, and that is important for all of us.
Article
The experiment in the present study compared individual and combined effects of blocked practice and interleaved practice as learning techniques. University students (N=66) participated in 2 learning sessions separated by a week, and then, 1 week later, took a memory-recall test. The students were divided into 4 groups: Group 1, blocked practice in both sessions; Group 2, first session, blocked practice; second, interleaved practice; Group 3, first session, interleaved practice; second, blocked practice; and Group 4, interleaved practice in both sessions. Significant between-group differences were found in percentage of correct answers on the test, with Group 4 (interleaved practice in both sessions) being the best performers, followed by Groups 2 and 3, then by Group 1 (blocked practice in both sessions) (Group 4>2=3>1). These findings suggest that increasing interleaved practice improved retention. Additionally, the participants were asked to judge their confidence in their test performance, using a multistage rating system. When the relation between confidence judgments and test scores per group was analyzed, the results indicated that the participants were more accurate in their assessment of their performance when they used the learning technique that better enhanced retention.
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This article uses data from site visits to four Hasidic elementary schools in Brooklyn to examine how specific learning, review, and testing activities used in these schools might be applied in other Jewish education classrooms to build knowledge depth and automaticity. The literature on learning and cognition in secular subjects has identified many classroom techniques that promote deep learning and long-term retention rather than superficial recall, but these techniques have not been applied systematically to Jewish studies classrooms. Hasidic schools, whose overall approach to religious education differs significantly from that of other Jewish day schools, employ distinctive learning activities that incorporate many of these techniques. Some elements of Hasidic learning practices may thus represent a valuable model for other Jewish studies contexts.
Article
A typical mathematics assignment consists of one or two dozen practice problems relating to the same skill or concept, yet empirical evidence suggests that there is little or no long-term benefit from working more than a few problems of the same kind in immediate succession. Alternatively, randomized experiments in the laboratory and classroom have shown that scores on delayed tests improve markedly when most of the practice problems are arranged so that (a) problems of the same kind are distributed across many assignments spaced weeks apart, and (b) problems of different kinds are interleaved within the same assignment. In this commentary, we describe these math practice strategies and suggest additional lines of research regarding students’ and teachers’ perceptions of the efficacy and difficulty of these strategies.
Article
Previous research has demonstrated benefits of interleaved practice over blocked practice for learning mathematical formulas. This experiment tested whether the benefits from interleaved practice would generalize to more complex problems, where the problem type must be inferred from information in the problem. We compared delayed test performance of participants assigned to blocked practice to participants assigned to interleaved practice who had high or low practice performance. University students (Mage = 18.97, SDage = 1.50, 64% female) learned how to solve probability word problems in blocked practice, interleaved practice, or hybrid conditions that included both kinds of practice. Conditions that included some interleaved practice outperformed a condition that included only blocked practice at delayed test. Participants with high performance on interleaved practice problems outperformed participants assigned to blocked practice at delayed test. These results suggest that interleaved practice can confer learning advantages even for more complex problems.
Article
Distributed practice improves learning by requiring the brain to expend extra effort retrieving prior learning after a time delay. I examine whether repeating the most troublesome homework question on the next assignment improves exam performance within one large upper-level undergraduate economics course. I compare exam outcomes of students enrolled in Fall 2017 as my control group (N = 136) with those of the intervention group in Spring 2018 (N =163). Adjusting for differences in student characteristics, the intervention was associated with a statistically significant (at the 90% level) increase of 2.44% in final exam scores, with raw average scores of 84.6% versus 81.7%. No difference was found post-intervention in overall course scores, while small increases for midterms. Subgroup analysis suggests the benefits may accrue more to the strongest and weakest performers. Findings suggest that repeating troublesome problems could improve learning in economics.
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A systematic review was conducted into the effect of interleaving the order of examples of concepts in terms of both memory of items and transfer to new items. This concept has important implications for how and when teachers present examples in the classroom. A total of 26 studies met the inclusion criteria; a subset of 17 studies (with 32 constituent datasets) formed the basis of a meta‐analysis, and the remainder were analysed within a narrative review. Memory (as tested by presenting studied items from a learned category) showed an interleaving benefit with effect sizes (Hedges’ g) of up to 0.65, and transfer (as tested by presenting novel items from a learned category) a benefit with effect sizes of up to 0.66. Interleaving was found to be of greatest use when differences between items are subtle, and the benefit extended to both art‐ and science‐based items, with implication for practitioner decisions over how and when to apply the technique. It also extended to delayed tests. The review revealed that the literature is dominated by laboratory studies of university undergraduates, and the need for future school‐based research using authentic classroom tasks is outlined.
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Los estudios del lenguaje matemático en la investigación en matemática educativa han mostrado la importancia de enfocar esfuerzos tanto en la especificación de las habilidades lingüísticas que los estudiantes deben desarrollar en el aprendizaje de ese lenguaje, como en la consideración de los aspectos multimodal y multisemiótico que lo caracterizan. Por esta razón, en esta investigación se busca un primer acercamiento al entendimiento de la naturaleza multisemiótica de textos algebraicos antiguos con la intención de compararla, en una siguiente fase del estudio, con la naturaleza multisemiótica de textos de estudiantes de bachillerato. Reportamos parte de los resultados de un análisis lingüístico sistémico-funcional del discurso multimodal de tres textos algebraicos, que deja ver estructuras discursivas complejas que conllevan el uso sistemático de distintos recursos semióticos y su articulación en la producción de los significados algebraicos pretendidos en estos textos.
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Educational technology terminology is messy. The same meaning is often expressed using several terms. More confusingly, some terms are used with several meanings. This state is unfortunate, as it makes both research and development more difficult. Terminology is particularly important in the case of personalization techniques, where the nuances of meaning are often crucial. We discuss the current state of the used terminology, highlighting specific cases of potential confusion. In the near future, any significant unification of terminology does not seem feasible. A realistic and still very useful step forward is to make the terminology used in individual research papers more explicit.
Article
This meta‐analysis investigates earlier studies of spaced practice in second language learning. We retrieved 98 effect sizes from 48 experiments (N = 3,411). We compared the effects of three aspects of spacing (spaced vs. massed, longer vs. shorter spacing, and equal vs. expanding spacing) on immediate and delayed posttests to calculate mean effect sizes. We also examined the extent to which nine empirically motivated variables moderated the effects of spaced practice. Results showed that (a) spacing had a medium‐to‐large effect on second language learning; (b) shorter spacing was as effective as longer spacing in immediate posttests but was less effective in delayed posttests than longer spacing; (c) equal and expanding spacing were statistically equivalent; and (d) variability in spacing effect size across studies was explained methodologically by the learning target, number of sessions, type of practice, activity type, feedback timing, and retention interval. The methodological and pedagogical significance of the findings are discussed.
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This thesis is devoted to the study of categorization, which is the cognitiveability to organize entities into groups. In particular, we focus on presentationorder and modeling. The objective is threefold: to investigate the influence ofpresentation order on category learning; to provide a robust statistical methodto compare categorization models; and to explore whether categorizationmodels are sensitive to specific types of order.Firstly, we report several experiments exploring the effects of two types oforder on learning speed. In our experiments, participants were taught 4-feature category structures using either a rule-based presentation order (inwhich exemplars are presented following a ``principal rule plus exceptions''structure) or a similarity-based presentation order (which maximizes thesimilarity between contiguous exemplars). We find that the rule-based orderfacilitates learning when the across-blocks manipulation was constant andcategories were either blocked or randomly alternated.Secondly, we describe the selected categorization models and introduce a newcategorization model that integrates the order in which stimuli are presented.Among transfer models (which are adapted to reproduce participants'performance during the transfer phase), we describe the Generalized ContextModel (GCM), one of the most well-known categorization model; theGeneralized Context Model equipped with a Lag mechanism (GCM-Lag), anextension of the GCM integrating a memory decay mechanism; and the newOrdinal General Context Model (OGCM), an extension of the GCMincorporating temporal information. Among learning models (which canreproduce participants' performance during both the learning and transferphases), we describe ALCOVE, whichintegrates the logic underlying the GCM in a neural network structure, andComponent-Cue, which incorporates an induction strategy in a neural networkstructure.Thirdly, we develop a robust statistical method to compare categorizationmodels and apply it separately to both transfer and learning models. We findthat the transfer model that best fits our dataset is the version of the OGCMthat takes into account the most frequent presentation order received duringthe learning phase. This result indicates that the information provided by theordinal dimension is relevant for the categorization task. We also find thatComponent-Cue best captures the generalization patterns, while ALCOVE bestcaptures the learning dynamics. Finally, we investigate whether theperformance of the selected learning models is related to the type of order inwhich stimuli are presented. We find that both learning models are sensitive to presentation order, in particular the generalization patterns of Component-Cue are consistent with a rule-based retrieval.Finally, we describe how to apply transfer models to learning data using thesegmentation and the segmentation/clustering. The application of these twotechniques to our dataset shows that there are two groups of participants:high-speed and low-speed participants. Moreover, using thesegmentation/clustering method, we find a relation between participants'learning speed and type of order. In particular, participants that showed ahigh-speed learning in the early stage of the categorization task mostlyreceived a rule-based order.
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Con el uso de actividades universales se amplió el modelo de conexiones internas y externas entre sistemas de medidas. La metodología fue cualitativa-etnográfica desarrollada en tres etapas: (1) se seleccionaron los participantes y se hizo la observación no participante para la familiarización; (2) se aplicaron entrevistas semiestructuradas para recolectar la información partiendo de la pregunta: ¿cómo realizan su práctica cotidiana?, considerando videograbaciones y dibujos, y (3) se estudiaron los datos a través del análisis temático junto con la visión etnomatemática. Los resultados muestran que en las conexiones internas y externas entre sistemas de medidas evidenciadas en prácticas cotidianas (pelea de gallos, fabricación de cometas para la diversión y para la pesca, y elaboración del bollo de yuca) se usan medidas como el metro, la altura del ombligo, la cuarta, la braza, el jeme, el milímetro, entre otros. Además, se extendió el modelo de conexiones, puesto que la medición está conectada con otras actividades como estimar, contar, jugar, diseñar, localizar, en las cuales implícitamente está involucrada la actividad de explicar. Se concluye que estos resultados pueden ser útiles para promover conexiones en las clases de matemáticas contextualizadas.
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Adaptive instructional systems (AISs) hold tremendous promise for addressing learner variability at scale. Many AISs are grounded in Benjamin Bloom’s (1971) Mastery Learning approach, which delivers differentiated instruction, appropriate scaffolding, and feedback to ensure each child masters each concept or skill before moving on. (Bloom’s 1984) framework for learning went beyond the immediate interactions of learners and the AIS. He described “four objects of the change process” that must be addressed to significantly improve student learning: the learner, the materials, the teacher, and the learner’s environment, where parents/caretakers are a critical component, especially for young children. This paper describes a learning engineering approach to craft a Personalized Mastery-Based Learning Ecosystem (PMLE) that uses all people, processes, data, and networked connections to create new capabilities, richer experiences, and unprecedented educational opportunities for children and their families. This ecosystem treats all individuals within the system as learners (child, parent, teacher, etc.) whose knowledge and expertise can be enhanced to benefit the child’s learning. The PMLE enables parents and teachers to become empowered “agents” of change by providing them with knowledge, tools, and evidence-based strategies to support meaningful and effective interactions with the child, all driven by real-time data about the readiness of the child. This paper presents a vision of how AISs can move beyond working solely with the child to become more robust ecosystems that empower all agents of change to optimize personalization and ensure long-term success of all children at scale.
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Accumulating information and knowledge is a major task of development. A common assumption is that we build our storehouse of world knowledge, our semantic memory, through direct experience. Although direct experience is involved, to explain fully how we know all that we know, we also must consider processes that allow for integration of information learned in separate yet related episodes of direct learning, as well as inferential processes that operate over integrated representations and permit productive extension of knowledge. In this article, I describe the self‐derivation through integration paradigm my colleagues and I developed to model these processes. Using this paradigm, we charted individual and developmental variability throughout childhood and in young adults. Several findings support the contention that the self‐derivation through integration paradigm provides a valid model for how we build semantic knowledge, including the observations that performance on the task correlates with and predicts individuals’ world knowledge and academic success.
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Object play yields enormous benefits for infant development. However, little is known about natural play at home where most object interactions occur. We conducted frame‐by‐frame video analyses of spontaneous activity in two 2‐h home visits with 13‐month‐old crawling infants and 13‐, 18‐, and 23‐month‐old walking infants (N = 40; 21 boys; 75% White). Regardless of age, for every infant and time scale, across 10,015 object bouts, object interactions were short (median = 9.8 s) and varied (transitions among dozens of toys and non‐toys) but consumed most of infants’ time. We suggest that infant exuberant object play—immense amounts of brief, time‐distributed, variable interactions with objects—may be conducive to learning object properties and functions, motor skill acquisition, and growth in cognitive, social, and language domains.
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Observing category exemplars in an interleaved manner is more beneficial for inductive learning than blocked (massed) presentation, a phenomenon termed the interleaving effect on inductive learning. However, people tend to erroneously believe that massed is more beneficial than interleaved learning, and learners prefer the former during self-regulated learning. We report four experiments designed to investigate whether explicit instructions, which include individual performance feedback and the interleaving effect results from previous research, can (1) correct metacognitive illusions regarding the interleaving effect, (2) promote self-employment of interleaving, and (3) facilitate category learning. In addition, the current study explored (4) whether the intervention effect is long-lasting and (5) transferable to learning of categories in other domains. Experiments 1–4 established the effectiveness of the instruction intervention to enhance metacognitive appreciation of the interleaving effect, to promote self-employment of interleaving, and to facilitate learning of new categories. The intervention effect was long-lasting (at least 24 h; Experiment 2), and transferable to learning of categories in different domains (Experiments 3 and 4). These findings support the practical use of the instruction intervention.
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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 problems that were interleaved (i.e., alternating topics) or conventionally arranged (i.e., one topic practiced at a time). On two surprise criterial tests containing novel and more-challenging problems, students recalled more relevant information and more frequently produced correct solutions after having engaged in interleaved practice (with observed median improvements of 50% on test 1 and 125% on test 2). Despite benefiting more from interleaved practice, students tended to rate the technique as more difficult and incorrectly believed that they learned less from it. Thus, in a domain that entails considerable amounts of problem-solving, replacing conventionally-arranged with interleaved homework can (despite perceptions to the contrary) foster longer-lasting and more generalizable learning.
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Most categorization models are insensitive to the order in which stimuli are presented. However, a vast array of studies have shown that the sequence received during learning can influence how categories are formed. In this paper, the objective was to better account for effects of serial order. We developed a model called Ordinal General Context Model (OGCM) based on the Generalized Context Model (GCM), which we modified to incorporate ordinal information. OGCM incorporates serial order as a feature along ordinary physical features, allowing it to account for the effect of sequential order as a form of distortion of the feature space. The comparison between the models showed that integrating serial order during learning in the OGCM provided the best account of classification of the stimuli in our data sets.
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Complexity and difficulty are two closely related but distinct concepts. These concepts are important in the development of intelligent learning systems, e.g., for sequencing items, student modeling, or content management. We show how to use complexity and difficulty measures in the development of learning systems and provide guidance on how to think, reason, and communicate about these notions. To do so, we propose a pragmatic distinction between difficulty and complexity measures. At the same time, we acknowledge the limitations of any simple distinction and discuss several potentially confounding issues: context, biases, and scaffoldings. We also provide an overview of specific measures and their applications in several educational domains and a detailed analysis of measures for problems in introductory programming.
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Sets of mathematics problems are generally arranged in 1 of 2 ways. With blocked practice, all problems are drawn from the preceding lesson. With mixed review, students encounter a mixture of problems drawn from different lessons. Mixed review has 2 features that distinguish it from blocked practice: Practice problems on the same topic are distributed, or spaced, across many practice sets; and problems on different topics are intermixed within each practice set. A review of the relevant experimental data finds that each feature typically boosts subsequent performance, often by large amounts, although for different reasons. Spacing provides review that improves long-term retention, and mixing improves students' ability to pair a problem with the appropriate concept or procedure. Hence, although mixed review is more demanding than blocked practice, because students cannot assume that every problem is based on the immediately preceding lesson, the apparent benefits of mixed review suggest that this easily adopted strategy is underused.
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72 college students learned 3 motor tasks under a blocked (low interference) or random (high interference) sequence of presentation. Retention was measured after a 10-min or 10-day delay under blocked and random sequences of presentation. Subsequent transfer to a task of either the same complexity or greater complexity than the originally learned tasks was also investigated. Results showed that retention was greater following random acquisition than under changed contextual interference conditions. Likewise, transfer was greater for random acquisition groups than for blocked acquisition groups. This effect was most notable when transfer was measured for the transfer task of greatest complexity. Results are considered as support for W. F. Battig's (1978) conceptualization of contextual interference effects on retention and transfer. (13 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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We argue herein that typical training procedures are far from optimal. The goat of training in real-world settings is, or should be, to support two aspects of posttraining performance: (a) the level of performance in the long term and (b) the capability to transfer that training to related tasks and altered contexts. The implicit or explicit assumption of those persons responsible for training is that the procedures that enhance performance and speed improvement during training will necessarily achieve these two goals. However, a variety of experiments on motor and verbal learning indicate that this assumption is often incorrect. Manipulations that maximize performance during training can be detrimental in the long term; conversely, manipulations that degrade the speed of acquisition can support the long-term goals of training. The fact that there are parallel findings in the motor and verbal domains suggests that principles of considerable generality can be deduced to upgrade training procedures.
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The present review examined the relationship between conditions of massed practice and spaced practice with respect to task performance. A meta-analysis of 63 studies with 112 effect sizes yielded an overall mean weighted effect size of 0.46, indicating that individuals in spaced practice conditions performed significantly higher than those in massed practice conditions. Subsequent analyses, however, suggested that the nature of the task being practiced, the intertrial time interval, and the interaction between these two variables significantly moderated the relationship between practice conditions and performance. In addition, significantly higher effect sizes were found in studies with low methodological rigor as compared with those studies higher in rigor. Directions for future research and applications of the findings are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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In most mathematics textbooks, each set of practice problems is comprised almost entirely of problems corresponding to the immediately previous lesson. By contrast, in a small number of textbooks, the practice problems are systematically shuffled so that each practice set includes a variety of problems drawn from many previous lessons. The standard and shuffled formats differ in two critical ways, and each was the focus of an experiment reported here. In Experiment 1, college students learned to solve one kind of problem, and subsequent practice problems were either massed in a single session (as in the standard format) or spaced across multiple sessions (as in the shuffled format). When tested 1week later, performance was much greater after spaced practice. In Experiment 2, students first learned to solve multiple types of problems, and practice problems were either blocked by type (as in the standard format) or randomly mixed (as in the shuffled format). When tested 1week later, performance was vastly superior after mixed practice. Thus, the results of both experiments favored the shuffled format over the standard format.
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The authors performed a meta-analysis of the distributed practice effect to illuminate the effects of temporal variables that have been neglected in previous reviews. This review found 839 assessments of distributed practice in 317 experiments located in 184 articles. Effects of spacing (consecutive massed presentations vs. spaced learning episodes) and lag (less spaced vs. more spaced learning episodes) were examined, as were expanding interstudy interval (ISI) effects. Analyses suggest that ISI and retention interval operate jointly to affect final-test retention; specifically, the ISI producing maximal retention increased as retention interval increased. Areas needing future research and theoretical implications are discussed.
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Given that students typically have a sizeable amount of course material to learn but a finite amount of study time, evaluating the efficiency of study schedules is important. We explored the efficiency of various schedules of distributed retrieval plus restudy. Across two experiments, 227 undergraduates were asked to learn Swahili-English vocabulary word pairs. In conventional schedule groups, all items were presented for 3 practice trials after initial study (as in most previous research). In dropout schedule groups, the number of practice trials allocated to each item varied, in that practice with a given item was discontinued after criterion performance had been reached. A dropout schedule led to levels of performance similar to those for conventional schedules (but in fewer trials), and it was particularly effective for learning initially incorrect items. However, the efficiency of the various schedules depended critically on the interval between presentations of an item. Results suggest that dropout can be a more efficient learning schedule for students than can conventional schedules of practice.
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Inductive learning -- that is, learning a new concept or category by observing exemplars -- happens constantly, for example, when a baby learns a new word or a doctor classifies x-rays. What influence does the spacing of exemplars have on induction? Compared with massing, spacing enhances long-term recall, but we expected spacing to hamper induction by making the commonalities that define a concept or category less apparent. We asked participants to study multiple paintings by different artists, with a given artist's paintings presented consecutively (massed) or interleaved with other artists' paintings (spaced). We then tested induction by asking participants to indicate which studied artist (Experiments 1a and 1b) or whether any studied artist (Experiment 2) painted each of a series of new paintings. Surprisingly, induction profited from spacing, even though massing apparently created a sense of fluent learning: Participants rated massing as more effective than spacing, even after their own test performance had demonstrated the opposite.
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The learning benefits of contextual interference have been frequently demonstrated in different settings using novice learners. The purpose of the present study was to test such effects with skilled athletic performers. Scheduling differences for biweekly additional (“extra”) batting-practice sessions of a collegiate baseball team were examined. 30 players (ns = 10) were blocked on skill and then randomly assigned to one of three groups. The random and blocked groups received 2 additional batting-practice sessions each week for 6 wk. (12 sessions), while the control group received no additional practice. The extra sessions consisted of 45 pitches, 15 fastballs, 15 curve-balls, and 15 change-up pitches. The random group received these pitches in a random order, while the blocked group received all 15 of one type, then 15 of the next type, and finally 15 of the last type of pitch in a blocked fashion. All subjects received a pretest of 45 randomly presented pitches of the three varieties. After 6 wk. of extra batting practice, all subjects received two transfer tests, each of 45 trials; one was presented randomly and one blocked. The transfer tests were counterbalanced across subjects. Pretest analysis showed no significant differences among groups. On both the random and blocked transfer tests, however, the random group performed with reliably higher scores than the blocked group, who performed better than the control group. When comparing the pretest to the random transfer test, the random group improved 56.7%, the blocked group 24.8%, and the control group only 6.2%. These findings demonstrate the contextual interference effect to be robust and beneficial even to skilled learners in a complex sport setting.
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High school students enrolled in a French course learned vocabulary words under conditions of either massed or distributed practice as part of their regular class activities. Distributed practice consisted of three 10-minute units on each of three successive days; massed practice consisted of all three units being completed during a 30-minute period on a single day. Though performance of the two groups was virtually identical on a test given immediately after completion of study, the students who had learned the words by distributed practice did substantially better (35%) than the massed- practice students on a second test given 4 days later. The implications of the findings for classroom instruction and the need to distinguish between learning and memory are discussed.
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In a 9-year longitudinal investigation, 4 subjects learned and relearned 300 English-foreign language word pairs. Either 13 or 26 relearning sessions were administered at intervals of 14, 28, or 56 days. Retention was tested for 1.2.3. or 5 years after training terminated. The longer intersession intervals slowed down acquisition slightly, but this disadvantage during training was offset by substantially higher retention. Thirteen retraining sessions spaced at 56 days yielded retention comparable to 26 sessions spaced at 14 days. The retention benefit due to additional sessions was independent of the benefit due to spacing, and both variables facilitated retention of words regardless of difficulty level and of the consistency of retrieval during training. The benefits of spaced retrieval practice to long-term maintenance of access to academic knowledge areas are discussed.
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The variability-of-practice hypothesis, a major prediction of Schmidt's (1975) motor schema theory, was tested in an attempt to investigate motor-schema formation. In addition, schema retention was observed after a 2-week retention interval. The task involved preschool children in tossing a bean bag for appropriate distance. Four treatment groups received 100 practice trials equally divided over five days. Variation was provided by varying the weights of the bean bags. The testing situations involved tossing a criterion weighted bean bag as well as a novel weighted bean bag which none of the groups had experienced previously. In addition, all groups were tested on a new but similar task. The results supported the variability-of-practice hypothesis in terms of schema formation and transfer to novel tasks in the same movement class. After a two-week retention interval, loss in performance was significantly less for the group with variability of practice than all other groups.
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In the wake of A Nation at Risk, considerable attention has been drawn to time variables in the classroom and their relation to learning, especially allocated time. Moreover, there have been a number of recent legislative actions aimed at increasing the amount of time students spend in the classroom, even though research suggests that increases in allocated time result in only modest gains in achievement. In this article, reasons for this gap between research and educational policy recommendations are considered, and an agenda for discerning implications for the use of time in the classroom is proposed with reference to two well-known principles of learning research, namely encoding variability and the spacing effect. It is concluded that whereas research has failed to provide convincing evidence that encoding variability has any practical implications, the spacing effect, a time variable apparently overlooked in the educational reform movement, appears to hold considerable promise for improving the distribution of time in the classroom.
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An individual lacking in self-confidence listens to a tape of the ocean surf and the cry of gulls; embedded below the threshold of hearing are affirmations, such as "I am a secure person. I believe in myself more and more every day." Will his self-esteem be enhanced? A stressed-out person feels uncomfortably revved up; she seeks out a quiet place, closes her eyes, and repeats a Sanskrit mantra. Will her heart rate be slowed? An undercover government operative makes a life-and-death decision as to whether an informant's statement is the truth or a deliberate lie; he pays close attention to the other's body cues and tone of voice. Will such signs help him to decide correctly? These questions, and more, are the subject of In theMind's Eye: Enhancing Human Performance (and the respective answers are probably not, not better than simply sitting quietly, and probably so).Following up on
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Recent reviews about the effects of distribution of practice in motor learning have produced quite divergent conclusions. While there is agreement that massed practice depresses performance, the effect on learning has no firm consensus. One position is that massed practice depresses learning, although there are many that argue for no learning effect. In the present paper we review this literature. When distribution is considered in terms of the length of the inter-trial interval, there is strong evidence that masses practice depresses performance and learning (when learning is assessed by absolute retention measures). This conclusion was confirmed by the results of a meta-analysis. This finding is discussed relative to other literature on distribution of practice as well as some recent issues in motor learning.
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Prior research indicates that the influence of abilities on performance may change as a function of practice. The present research examined how learning styles influence the relationship between abilities and task performance. The styles examined were massed vs distributed practice. 209 Ss were asked to complete measures of spatial visualization and perceptual speed. They then practiced a complex skill acquisition task for 4 hrs under conditions that allowed them to pace their rate of practice. Analysis of several dependent measures revealed that perceptual speed contributed to task performance for 33 Ss who massed their practice, whereas spatial visualization contributed to performance for 61 Ss who distributed their practice. The implications of these findings for understanding the role of abilities in skill acquisition are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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To test the hypothesis that expanded practice is superior to massed practice in a classroom situation, a test series with expanded intervals to teach multiplication facts and spelling lists to 44 Grade 3 students, formed into massed and expanded groups based on their spelling and mathematical abilities, was conducted. Results show that, for multiplication facts, retention in the expanded series condition was almost twice that in the massed series condition; for spelling lists, a significant difference in the same direction was also obtained. These differences were obtained regardless of the level of ability of the Ss. It is suggested that an expanded test series not only engenders effective retention but also maintains a feeling of success throughout and that use of this type of series would therefore have obvious benefit if incorporated into remedial programs or used in learning centers. (23 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
One method of approach to a more fundamental classification of the factors conditioning the efficiency of massed versus distributed practice is to relate such factors to the total pattern of the learning process. Present-day theories of learning are returning to a dualistic view in which intelligent learning, or insight, is contrasted with mechanical habit fixation. This two-type theory leads to the following a priori deductions: (1) Intelligent learning should be favored by massed practice immediately after the appearance of a configuration, while the mechanical fixation process is favored by distributed practice. (2) The relative efficacy of the massed practice is inversely proportional to the stability of the novel configuration. (3) Meaningful material should be learned by massed, and nonsense material by distributed practice. (4) Massed learning should be most effective in the early stages of learning; also for immediate recall as against delayed recall. (5) The relative effectiveness of massed versus distributed practice depends on the complexity of the problem, and (6) on the intelligence and past experience of the subjects. The author performed two experiments to test these hypotheses, using the "T" and "cross" puzzles, and found that massed practice was much more economical on the early trials, but its superiority declines with each succeeding trial up to 9 trials. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
In two experiments, 216 college students learned to solve one kind of mathematics problem before completing one of various practise schedules. In Experiment 1, students either massed 10 problems in a single session or distributed these 10 problems across two sessions separated by 1 week. The benefit of distributed practise was nil among students who were tested 1 week later but extremely large among students tested 4 weeks later. In Experiment 2, students completed three or nine practise problems in one session. The additional six problems constituted a strategy known as overlearning, but this extra effort had no effect on test scores 1 or 4 weeks later. Thus, long-term retention was boosted by distributed practise and unaffected by overlearning. Unfortunately, most mathematics textbooks rely on a format that emphasises overlearning and minimises distributed practise. An easily adopted alternative format is advocated. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Article
The benefit to memory of spacing presentations of material is well established but lacks an adequate explanation and is rarely applied in education. This paper presents three experiments that examined the spacing effect and its application to education. Experiment 1 demonstrated that spacing repeated presentations of items is equally beneficial to memory for a wide range of ages, contrary to some theories. Experiment 2 introduced ‘clustered’ presentations as a more relevant control than massed, reflecting the fact that massed presentation of material is uncommon in education. The scheduling of clustered presentations was intermediate between massed and distributed, yet recall was no different than for massed. Experiment 3, a classroom-based study, demonstrated the benefit of distributed over clustered teaching of reading through modification of the scheduling of everyday lessons. Thus, the effectiveness of teaching may be improved by increasing the degree to which lessons are distributed. Copyright © 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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Thesis--West Virginia University. Includes bibliographical references (leaves 35-39).
Article
To achieve enduring retention, people must usually study information on multiple occasions. How does the timing of study events affect retention? Prior research has examined this issue only in a spotty fashion, usually with very short time intervals. In a study aimed at characterizing spacing effects over significant durations, more than 1,350 individuals were taught a set of facts and--after a gap of up to 3.5 months--given a review. A final test was administered at a further delay of up to 1 year. At any given test delay, an increase in the interstudy gap at first increased, and then gradually reduced, final test performance. The optimal gap increased as test delay increased. However, when measured as a proportion of test delay, the optimal gap declined from about 20 to 40% of a 1-week test delay to about 5 to 10% of a 1-year test delay. The interaction of gap and test delay implies that many educational practices are highly inefficient.
Article
The learning benefits of contextual interference have been frequently demonstrated in different settings using novice learners. The purpose of the present study was to test such effects with skilled athletic performers. Scheduling differences for biweekly additional ("extra") batting-practice sessions of a collegiate baseball team were examined. 30 players (ns = 10) were blocked on skill and then randomly assigned to one of three groups. The random and blocked groups received 2 additional batting-practice sessions each week for 6 wk. (12 sessions), while the control group received no additional practice. The extra sessions consisted of 45 pitches, 15 fastballs, 15 curveballs, and 15 change-up pitches. The random group received these pitches in a random order, while the blocked group received all 15 of one type, then 15 of the next type, and finally 15 of the last type of pitch in a blocked fashion. All subjects received a pretest of 45 randomly presented pitches of the three varieties. After 6 wk. of extra batting practice, all subjects received two transfer tests, each of 45 trials; one was presented randomly and one blocked. The transfer tests were counterbalanced across subjects. Pretest analysis showed no significant differences among groups. On both the random and blocked transfer tests, however, the random group performed with reliably higher scores than the blocked group, who performed better than the control group. When comparing the pretest to the random transfer test, the random group improved 56.7%, the blocked group 24.8%, and the control group only 6.2%.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
Article
The effects of contextual interference on learning pistol-shooting skills in a natural training environment were examined. The shooting skills consisted of three "stages" with different requirements for the skill variations commonly used in the field. 12 participants were randomly assigned into one of two practice conditions, blocked vs serial. Following a 20-min. safety and skill instructional session, Blocked group practiced 10 trials in a row at each stage, while Serial group performed 5 trials in a row for each of the three stages and then repeated the cycle. Both groups completed a total of 30 practice trials over the three stages. A 10-min. rest interval was provided prior to a retention test which included 9 trials (3 trials at each stage in a blocked format). Results based on the data of Stage III, the most complex skill among the three stages, showed a pattern consistent with previous findings that practicing in the serial schedule depressed performance during initial training but maintained the performance better at retention, relative to the blocked practice.
In the mind’s eye: Enhancing human performance (pp. 23– 56) Massed and distributed practice in puzzle solving
  • R A Druckman
  • Bjork
Druckman, & R. A. Bjork (Eds.), In the mind’s eye: Enhancing human performance (pp. 23– 56). Washington, DC: National Academy Press. Cook, T. W. (1934). Massed and distributed practice in puzzle solving. Psychological Review, 41, 330–355
Mixed practice enhances retention and JOL accuracy for mathematical skills Paper presented at the 49th Annual Meeting of the
  • Le Blanc
  • K Simon
Le Blanc, K., & Simon, D. (2008). Mixed practice enhances retention and JOL accuracy for mathematical skills. Paper presented at the 49th Annual Meeting of the Psychonomic Society, Chicago, IL. November, 2008
Massed and distributed practice in puzzle solving
  • Cook