A Quiz on Study Strategies that Support Student Learning

study strategies that support student learning
How much do your students know about effective study strategies? Most students think they know what works, but their knowledge is anecdotal and experience based. Much research has been conducted on study strategies, with some strategies proven more effective than others. Wouldn’t students benefit from knowing which ones work best and under what conditions?

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[dropcap]How[/dropcap] much do your students know about effective study strategies? Most students think they know what works, but their knowledge is anecdotal and experience based. Much research has been conducted on study strategies, with some strategies proven more effective than others. Wouldn’t students benefit from knowing which ones work best and under what conditions? Below are six scenarios that each describe two approaches. One has documented positive effects on learning. They’re formatted here as a quiz with an answer sheet that follows. Teachers could: These scenarios are slightly edited versions of ones used by Morehead, Rhodes, and DeLozier who gave us permission to share them in this format. The Morehead team scenarios are similar to those developed for research completed by McCabe. Morehead, K., Rhodes, M. G., and DeLozier, S. (2016). Instructor and student knowledge of study strategies. Memory, 24 (2), 257-271. McCabe, J. (2011). Metacognitive awareness of learning. Memory and Cognition, 39 (3), 462-476. Generation Two assignments ask students to learn the list of cranial nerves. Both recommend using a mnemonic device to do so. In one of the assignments the instructor provides a common mnemonic that students are welcome to use. In the other assignment students are to create their own mnemonic device and use it to memorize the nerves. After two weeks, students are asked to list the cranial nerves in order. Which mnemonic device is more likely to help students remember the list of nerves? Briefly explain the rationale behind your choice:   Low-interest versus high-interest details Two multimedia slide shows present information about the same scientific topic. Both contain information directly relevant to the topic. Both also contain other details that are not relevant and that students won’t be tested on. In one of the slide shows, the irrelevant details are ones most college students will find highly interesting. In the other slide show the details aren’t of great interest to college students. After having a chance to study these materials, students take a test that asks how the scientific topic applies to new situations. Which slide show will help students more when they study and take the test? Briefly explain the rationale behind your choice:   Static versus animated images Two presentations describe information relevant to a scientific topic. The first presents the information in paper form. It includes printed illustrations along with the text. The second presentation is computer-based and includes video illustrations. After an opportunity to study the material, students are asked to provide a written explanation of the scientific principle and to discuss how it applies to new situations. Which presentation method will be more helpful to students? Briefly explain the rationale behind your choice:   Testing versus rereading Students in two different classes are studying a 275-word passage. In the first class they study it for seven minutes and then write down, from memory, as much of the material as they can remember. In the second class, students study the passage for seven minutes and then they are asked to study it for a second seven minutes. After a week, students in both classes are asked to recall as much of the passage as they can remember. Which class will likely remember more most a week later? Briefly explain the rationale behind your choice:   Interleaving versus blocking Two art history professors are presenting six paintings each by 12 different artists (72 paintings total). The first professor presents all six paintings done by one artist and then moves on to the second artist, showing the six paintings of that artist, and so on until all of the paintings have been shown (strategy 1). The second professor intermingles the paintings, showing different paintings by different artists until all the paintings have been show (strategy 2). Which approach would make learning the artists and the paintings easier? Briefly explain the rationale behind your choice:   Spacing versus massing Two students are studying for an exam. One student begins studying two days before the exam. The other student studies a little bit every day for two weeks before the exam. Both students spend the same amount of time studying. Which approach will likely result in a higher exam score? Briefly explain the rationale behind your choice:  


Generating or being given information? Generating information is more beneficial to learning than being given the information. Students will do better at remembering things like lists if they create their own mnemonics than if they use those provided by the teacher. When students generate information, it makes sense to them, which makes it easier to remember. This why it’s much better for students to take notes rather than being given the teacher’s notes or slides. Key reference: DeWinstanley, P. A. and Bjork, E. L. (2004). Processing strategies and the generation effect: Implications for making a better reader. Memory & Cognition. 32, 945-955. Low- or high-interest details? Low-interest details are better than those that are highly interesting when both kinds of details are irrelevant. One might expect the interesting details to keep the learner attentive and engaged with the learning task. But these extraneous details aren’t relevant and may actually distract students from what needs to be learned. When the details aren’t interesting, they can be ignored, and the learner can more easily focus on the task. Key reference: Mayer, R. E., Griffith, E., Jurkowitz, I. T. N., and Rodman, D. (2008). Increased interestingness of extraneous details in a multimedia science presentation leads to decreased learning. Journal of Experimental Psychology Applied, 14, 329-339. Static or animated images? Static images are more helpful to learning because learners have a limited number of resources for processing information (think brain power). Understanding animated images takes more of those resources because those images contain more details, many of them extraneous. With still images the learner has more processing resources available and can therefore focus more energy on the learning task. Key reference: Mayer, R. E., Hegarty, M., Mayer, S., and Campbell, J. (2005). When static media promote active learning: Annotated illustrations versus narrated animations in multimedia instruction. Journal of Experimental Psychology Applied, 11, 256-265. Testing or rereading? Testing is a more effective approach than rereading, restudying, or going over the material. Having to answer a question forces the learner to retrieve the information and every time that information is retrieved, the more solidified it becomes; ergo, the easier it is remember. Also, when students reread notes or the text, the terms and concepts start to look familiar. That leads students to mistake simply recognizing the term from understanding the term. Key reference: Rodiger, H. L. and Karpicke, J. D. (2006). Test-enhanced learning: Taking memory tests improves long-term retention. Psychological Science 17, 249-255. Interleaving or blocking? Interleaving or learning material out of order, mixed, or intermingled works better than learning material as it was presented or with all the same material lumped together. When studying learners should mix up different kinds of problems or review different kinds of materials within one study session. Even though material is presented sequentially in a course, that’s not the order in which it usually appears on exams. Key reference: Roher, D. and Taylor, K. (2007). The shuffling of mathematics problems improves learning. Instructional Science, 35, 481-498. Spacing or massing? If the amount of study time is held constant (say four hours), spacing (study in 30-minute intervals, twice a day for four days) is more effective than “massing” (what’s more commonly called cramming—intense study the night before or the day of the exam). Why? Spacing means more retrieval practice. The same material must be remembered and recalled multiple times. Key reference: Kornell, N. and Bjork, R. A. (2008). Learning concepts and categories: Is spacing the “enemy of induction”? Psychological Science, 19, 585-592. Note: Many studies support the correct answer in each of these scenarios. The key reference is an important study that illustrates the kind of research being used to support the effectiveness of the approach. Interested in comparing your score with that of students and teachers? Students and teachers in the Morehead, Rhodes, and DeLozier study that used the scenarios rated (on a 7-point scale) how beneficial they thought each approach was to learning. What’s listed below is the mean percentage of students and instructors who provided a higher rating for the evidence-based approach.
Generation 52% 75%
Low-interest details 19% 8%
Static media 20% 14%
Testing 49% 62%
Interleaving 16% 13%
Spacing 69% 74%