Sunday, December 25, 2011

To Really Learn, Quit Studying and Take a Test - NYT

Great article from the New York Times about learning and testing!

To Really Learn, Quit Studying and Take a Test


  1. Rich--

    I loved reading this article! The term "retrieval practice" really seems key.

    There is some similar thinking on the use of those classroom "clicker" systems where the students respond to multiple choice or poll questions with remote controls or with their phones.

    I used our Clickers once last year, but I wasn't sure if it was very useful. Does anyone out there use a clicker system in any way to reinforce what's learned through Anki? Or to make use of the power of "retrieval practice"?

  2. I know that as a student I've often had the experience of finally figuring something out for the first time while taking a test. It just never quite made sense before, and when it actually came time to do it on the test, it suddenly clicked.

    In the past I've always felt like this meant I was being lazy or something similar, that I hadn't tried hard enough to learn it before. And maybe that's still partially true. But that was something I thought about with this article--maybe it's not necessarily coincidence that I figured it out at that point and not before.

  3. Dear Jennifer,

    I've read about the classroom clicker. It seems a good way to keep the students' attention on that task at hand. However, given how long it takes my students to log into to Anki via their smart phones, I'm not sure how to make it an efficient and streamlined part of the class. I only have my Econ kids for 45 minutes at a pop...


  4. Dear Soren,

    I have struggled with giving tests or not in class. In an ideal world, if the students are really motivated, then a traditional test is not that important, unless it is just to assess their progress.

    However, for some students it is the driving force to actually do the work. And, as this article points out, it is also a very good way to reinforce the material. It is just another way of processing the material, just like making one's own Anki cards vs. downloading from the server...