Spaced Repetition: towards more effective learning in STEM

Alison Voice, Arran Stirton

Abstract


The use of spaced repetition within a physics higher education thermodynamics module has been analysed for: its pattern of use by students; its effect on memory and performance in the end of module exam; and performance in a delayed test after the summer vacation. A custom-built web app with the facility to generate a personalised repetition timetable was used to deliver practice questions on the material throughout the module. Just over a quarter of students, spanning the whole ability range of the class, made use of the app in some way, about half using it in a spaced manner and half using it for massed practice just before the exam. Students who engaged in a spaced manner had an adjusted mean exam score of 70%, compared to 64% for massed usage and 61% for non-usage. The spaced usage represents a positive effect size of 0.47 over non-usage, which is statistically significant (p = 0.000056). For the delayed test the mean adjusted scores for spacers and non-users were 45% and 34% respectively. Whilst less material had been retained over the summer, this revealed a statistically significant (p = 0.021) positive effect size of 0.54. This work provides evidence and mechanisms to involve students in repetitive practice during the learning phase of a course to advantage their long term retention of material.


Keywords


Spaced repetition; Long term memory; Cramming; Web app;

Full Text:

PDF

References


Curtis, J., Lowe, A. and Voice, A. M. (2018) Analysis of student study habits. Unpublished manuscript, University of Leeds.

Ebbinghaus, H. (1885) Memory: a contribution to experimental psychology (H.A.Ruger, C.E.Bussinius & E.R.Hilgard, Trans in 1964.). New York: Dover Publications

Gallo, M. & Odu, M. (2009) Examining the Relationship Between Class Scheduling and Student Achievement in College Algebra, Community College Review, 36(4), pp. 299-325.

Hopkins, R.F., Lyle, K.B., Hieb, J.L. & Ralston, P.A.S. (2015) Spaced Retrieval Practice Increases College Students’ Short- and Long-Term Retention of Mathematics Knowledge, Educational Psychology Review, 28(4), pp. 853-873. DOI: 10.1007/s10648-015-9349-8.

Kapler, I.V., Weston, T. & Wiseheart, M. (2015) Spacing in a simulated undergraduate classroom: Long-term benefits for factual and higher-level learning, Learning and Instruction, 36, pp. 38-45. DOI: 10.1016/j.learninstruc.2014.11.001.

Kerfoot, B.P. & Brotschi, E. (2009) Online spaced education to teach urology to medical students: a multi-institutional randomized trial, Am J Surg, 197(1), pp. 89-95. DOI: 10.1016/j.amjsurg.2007.10.026.

Kerfoot, B.P., DeWolf, W.C., Masser, B.A., Church, P.A. and Federman, D.D. (2007) Spaced education improves the retention of clinical knowledge by medical students: a randomised controlled trial, Medical Education, 41(1), pp. 23-31 DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2929.2006.02644.x.

Kornell, N. & Bjork, R.A. (2007) The promise and perils of self-regulated study, Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 14(2), pp. 219-224. DOI: 10.3758/bf03194055.

Leitner, S. (1972) So lernt man lernen. Edited by Erfolg, A.L.f.z. Angewandte Lernpsychologie fuhrt zum Erfolg. Herder.

Mace, C.A. (1968) The psychology of study. Penguin.

Maxwell, S.E. and Delaney, H.D. (1990) Designing experiments and analyzing data: A model comparison perspective. US: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers p434.

Quality Assurance Agency (2014) Subject Benchmark Statement: Chemistry. [Online]. Available at: https://www.qaa.ac.uk/docs/qaa/subject-benchmark-statements/sbs-chemistry-14.pdf?sfvrsn=99e1f781_14.

Quality Assurance Agency (2017) Subject Benchmark Statement: Physics, Astronomy and Astrophysics. [Online]. Available at: https://www.qaa.ac.uk/docs/qaa/subject-benchmark-statements/sbs-physics-astronomy-and-astrophysics-17.pdf?sfvrsn=2f94f781_12.

Rawson, K.A., Vaughn, K.E. and Carpenter, S.K. (2015) Does the benefit of testing depend on lag, and if so, why? Evaluating the elaborative retrieval hypothesis, Memory & Cognition, 43(4), pp. 619-633. DOI: 10.3758/s13421-014-0477-z.

Roediger, H.L. & Karpicke, J.D. (2006a) The Power of Testing Memory Basic Research and Implications for Educational Practice, Perspectives on Psychological Science, 1(3), pp. 181-210. DOI: 10.1111/j.1745-6916.2006.00012.x.

Roediger, H.L. & Karpicke, J.D. (2006b) Test-enhanced learning - Taking memory tests improves long-term retention, Psychological Science, 17(3), pp. 249-255. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9280.2006.01693.x.

Roediger, H.L. & Karpicke, J.D. (2018) Reflections on the Resurgence of Interest in the Testing Effect, Perspectives on Psychological Science, 13(2), pp. 236-241. DOI: 10.1177/1745691617718873.

Rohrer, D. (2009) The Effects of Spacing and Mixing Practice Problems, Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 40(1), pp. 4-17.

Rohrer, D. & Taylor, K. (2007) The shuffling of mathematics problems improves learning, Instructional Science, 35(6), pp. 481-498. DOI: 10.1007/s11251-007-9015-8.




DOI: https://doi.org/10.29311/ndtps.v0i15.3376

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
We use both functional and performance cookies to improve visitor experience. Continue browsing if you are happy to accept cookies. Please see our Privacy Policy for more information.
OK


New Directions in the Teaching of Physical Sciences

eISSN: 2051-3615