Here’s more evidence for the power of the testing effect: that is, the idea that tests can help lock in learning.

Researchers divided subjects into a “study” group and a “test” group and exposed both groups to eight learning experiences.

The “study” group studied a list of words for all eight experiences. The “test” group alternated between studying and testing – four of each.

On a final assessment, the “test” group scored 16% higher.

Researchers concluded that the tests provided the retrieval practice that is key for knowledge retention. The tests also identified learners’ weaknesses, which helped them study more efficiently during the next study opportunity.

Application: Use quizzes and assessments in combination with study sessions to help lock in learning.

Source: Roediger, H. L., and Smith, M. A. (2012). The “pure-study” learning curve: The learning curve without cumulative testing. Memory and Cognition, 40(7), 989-1002.

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