Retrieval-based learning activities involve actively bringing information to mind. Previous research has shown this to be an effective way to produce meaningful learning. This research investigated the efficiency of this strategy amongst first-generation college students. Twenty-eight students were recruited from the Preparatory Enrollment Program (PEP) at Rhode Island College. In this within-subjects experiment, students participated in two learning activities, counterbalanced for order. Students learned two texts. With one text, they engaged in a retrieval-based learning activity by actively recalling as much information as they could remember and writing it down. With the other text, they simply read. Students completed reading comprehension and speed of processing tests. Then, they answered short-answer questions about the texts to assess how much they learned. Lastly, they filled out surveys to provide information about how they typically study. The results indicated that retrieval-based learning strategies did not produced any meaningful learning compared to the control. Additionally, speed-of-processing abilities have no interaction with the learning condition, however those who performed higher on the reading comprehension task did perform better in the final assessment. When making judgments about the learning activities, students found free recall to be more difficult than the control. Lastly, about half of the students report using retrieval in some way during their own studying, but they still report more use of rereading.
Bazin, Ashley, "Examining the Effectiveness of Retrieval-based Learning Strategies in First Generation College Students" (2018). Honors Projects Overview. 148.
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