Understanding and applying the dynamics of test practice and study practice


Two different methods of practice are available in the learning of simple information, test practice or study practice. Of these two methods of learning, research has generally shown that test practice is superior to study practice. However, this research has not considered the testing advantage with respect to the fact that test learning is uncertain (i.e. if recall fails, nothing appears to be learned) or with respect to the fact that study learning depends greatly on the duration of the study event. The following work clarifies these issues by presenting an integrated computational model of the relative costs and benefits of testing compared to study presentation [based on the ACT-R theory of declarative memory; Anderson, J.R. & Schooler, L.J. (1991). Psychological Science 2: 396-408; Pavlik Jr., P.I.. & Anderson, J.R. (2005). Cognitive Science 29: 559-586]. This model was applied to determine how test and study practice can be optimally employed to improve learning and provides a framework for understanding the effects of mnemonic strategies in simple memory tasks. © 2006 Springer Science+Business Media, Inc.

Publication Title

Instructional Science