Powerful Memory Retrieval Practices to Improve Retention & Learning

Research by college faculty and school teachers has shown that memory retrieval practices considerably improve learning. Retrieval practice is trying to recall information from memory without looking it up in the textbook or the Internet.

When we think about learning, we typically focus on getting information into students’ heads. What if, instead, we focus on getting information out of students’ heads? Retrieval practice is a learning strategy where we focus on getting information out. Through the act of retrieval, or calling information to mind, our memory for that information is strengthened and forgetting is less likely to occur. Successful strategies include spacing out learning of topics (instead of cramming them) as well as interleaving them during the practice.

Retrieval practice is a powerful strategy for improving academic performance without more technology, money, or class time. The attached article by college faculty discusses cognitive essence of retrieval practice and provides empirical evidence of its effectiveness in the teaching and learning of STEM topics. Students and faculty who would like more information about using retrieval practices can contact the author.

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Osman Yasar: oyasar@brockport.edu

Posted: September 01, 2022