Wednesday, January 26, 2011

What works? Retrieval Practice Games

What works in training and education? A new study says tests can provide valuable retrieval practice.

"Retrieval Practice Produces More Learning than Elaborative Studying with Concept Mapping" is the headline at the Science website. The abstract says "practicing retrieval produces greater gains in meaningful learning than elaborative studying with concept mapping."

This news supports what we hear from the trainers and educators who use our retrieval practice games in the classroom and training room. Review games are all about retrieval practice. It's just that the test is done in a fun way, which helps increase attention spans.

When a class or presentation ends with a series of quiz show questions reviewing key points or details, that's retrieval practice. We believe the value of retrieval practice gets a further boost from the fun factor of the game show environment, which can override the dread and drudgery often associated with pure testing.

"Our findings support the theory that retrieval practice enhances learning by retrieval-specific mechanisms rather than by elaborative study processes," say the authors of the study. "Retrieval practice is an effective tool to promote conceptual learning about science."

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