Effective strategies for learning and recalling new information have been widely studied by researchers in the educational field. This research examined recall and repeat techniques in 306 psychology students randomly chosen to participate in the experiment. By assigning each study participant a specific assignment for completion, it was found that their success in recall strategies was greater than the perception of their success, which is exhibited in the results section.
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Based on the conducted experiment, the study was beneficial for showing students how they can learn new information and recall it. Because there was no time limit assigned to the stage of recall, students showed impressive results on this stage of the experiment. Further research can be focused on various ways of improving problem-solving skills in situations that can occur in their future practice.
The present research is focused on investigating students’ learning, their methods for comprehending, and memorizing new material. Because studies on the topic found that effective comprehension and memorizing techniques can improve students’ educational outcomes, helping students better navigate their learning abilities can be beneficial for elevating issues occurring during learning (Dunlosky, Rawson, Marsh, Nathan, & Willingham, 2013, p. 4).
This report will focus on breaking down the essential components of the conducted study, presenting a new perspective on students’ learning strategies and their potential benefits. The conducted experiment included three hundred and six first-year psychology students that completed tasks that were assigned to them; the experiment targeted at finding their learning techniques to recall and repeat.
Scientists have dedicated decades to determine the most effective strategies that help students learn and recall information (ACCA, 2016, para. 1). After conducting the experiment (described in the “Methods” section), which focused on the number of facts or propositions correctly recalled, it was found that some of the study participants had difficulties with remembering the initial message/image that was shown to them.
Participants were asked to correctly recall new information given to them and then asked a question about how well they learned the information presented to them. Additionally, each participant was assigned one out of nine conditions of tasks. The table below presents the Recall variable (average number of facts/propositions correctly recalled) and JOL variable (the average of answers to the question about how well the participant learned the information presented) pertaining to each of the assigned conditions:
Recall and JOL for 9 Conditions.
As to the statistics for the Recall variable, the Average of Conditions 1, 2, 3, compared to the Average of Conditions 4, 5, 6 constituted for the p value of 0.008. The comparison of Average of Conditions 4, 5, 6, and 7, 8, 9 Conditions constituted the p value of 0.07. Average of Conditions 1, 4, 7 compared to 2, 5, and 8 and gave the p value of 0.35. Lastly, Average of Conditions 2, 5, and 8 compared to the Average of Conditions 3, 6, 9 constituted the p value of 0.001.
As to the statistical test for the JOL variable, the Average of Conditions 1, 2, 3, compared to the Average of Conditions 4, 5, 6 constituted for the p value of 0.03, Average of Conditions 4, 5, 6 and 7, 8, 9 Conditions constituted the p value of 0.2. Average of Conditions 1, 4, 7 compared to 2, 5, and 8 and gave the p value of 0.01. Average of Conditions 2, 5, and 8 compared to 3, 6, 9 constituted the p value of 0.04. Average of Conditions1, 4, 7 compared to 3, 6, 9 constituted the p value of 0.31.
Overall results of the conducted experiment are presented in the table below, which shows the mean for the recall and repeat activities “before,” “after,” or “never.”
The current study showed that students’ abilities to recall new materials on the spot are relatively high; however, the ratings of how, in their opinion, they had recalled the material was significantly lower than the actual result.
Implications of Findings
According to the study conducted by Roediger and Karpicke (2006), taking memory tests is a practice that not only provides an assessment of student knowledge but also enhances later retention (p. 249); therefore, the conducted experiment aimed at enhancing learning strategies of psychology students. A similar conclusion was made by Bransford and Johnson (1972), who further stated that context was also one of the contributing factors to recalling new information (p. 724).
The comparison of the recall and JOL variables has shown that students underestimate their actual recalling results (e.g. Condition 4: Recall 4.4. JOL 1.8), which suggests that students’ confidence in their learning and memorizing abilities tends to be low. However, the results acquired during the experiment showed that testing positively influenced students’ strive to memorize (Wade, Tavris, & Garry, 2014, p. 34). This is connected with the “testing effect”, outlined by Augustin (2014) as well as Agarwal, Karpizke, Kang, Roediger, and McDermott (2008), who stated that the notion relates to students reading facts, summarizing them, restudying them, or memorizing them word-for-word to reproduce them in the exam, forgetting the learned information after the exam (p. 861).
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The research brought interesting results; it was purposefully limited by time because the participants had to remember new information in the short period of time. The number of study participants did not present a limitation to the study.
Practical and Theoretical Importance
The practical and theoretical importance of the present study is associated with providing students with information on the best learning strategies. After passing tests on recall and repeat, students now have a better understanding of how they can learn and memorize new information effectively. As mentioned by Dunlosky (2013), teaching students about how they can learn better is as important as providing them with new information (p. 13). Another study showed that the most common learning and recall strategies such as rereading, highlighting, and strictly memorizing necessary information are regarded by students as the most effective, although in reality, they are the least effective for memorizing new material on a long-term basis (Dunlosky, et al., 2013, p. 4).
Practice tests have proven to improve students’ abilities to learn for exams and improve their grades (Gurung, 2005, p. 239). The results exhibited by study participants implied that recalling did not cause any major complications in any of the categories. Because there was no time limit assigned to the stage of recall, students showed impressive results on this stage of the experiment. Further research can be focused on improving mathematical problem-solving skills, previously studied by McCabe (2011), who concluded that such skills can be supported by interleaved practice, as mentioned by (p. 481).
ACCA. (2016). Better learning and recall. Web.
Agarwal, P., Karpizke, J., Kang, S., Roediger, H., & McDermott, K. (2008). Examining the testing effect with open- and closed-book tests. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 22, 861-876.
Augustin, M. (2014). How to learn effectively in medical school: test yourself, learn actively, and repeat in intervals. Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine, 87(2), 207-212.
Bransford, J., & Johnson, M. (1972). Contextual prerequisites for understanding: Some investigations of comprehension and recall. Journal of Verbal Behavior, 11, 717-726.
Dunlosky, J. (2013). Strengthening the student toolbox: Study strategies to boost learning. American Educator, 37(3), 12-21.
Dunlosky, J., Rawson, K., March, E., Nathan, M., & Willingham, D. (2013). Improving students’ learning with effective learning techniques: Promising directions from cognitive and educational psychology. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 14(1), 4-58.
Gurung, R. (2005). How do students really study (and does it matter)? Teaching of Psychology, 32, 239-241.
McCabe, J. (2011). Metacognitive awareness of learning strategies in undergraduates. Memory and Cognition, 39(3), 462-476.
Roediger, H., & Karpicke, J. (2006). Test-enhanced learning: Taking memory tests improves long-term retention. Psychological Science, 17(3), 249-255.
Wade, C., Tavris, C., & Garry, M. (2014). The nine secrets of learning. Psychology (11th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.