ERIC Number: EJ1062040
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Jun
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 55
The Testing Effect Is Alive and Well with Complex Materials
Karpicke, Jeffrey D.; Aue, William R.
Educational Psychology Review, v27 n2 p317-326 Jun 2015
Van Gog and Sweller (2015) claim that there is no testing effect--no benefit of practicing retrieval--for complex materials. We show that this claim is incorrect on several grounds. First, Van Gog and Sweller's idea of "element interactivity" is not defined in a quantitative, measurable way. As a consequence, the idea is applied inconsistently in their literature review. Second, none of the experiments on retrieval practice with worked-example materials manipulated element interactivity. Third, Van Gog and Sweller's literature review omitted several studies that have shown retrieval practice effects with complex materials, including studies that directly manipulated the complexity of the materials. Fourth, the experiments that did not show retrieval practice effects, which were emphasized by Van Gog and Sweller, either involved retrieval of isolated words in individual sentences or required immediate, massed retrieval practice. The experiments failed to observe retrieval practice effects because of the retrieval tasks, not because of the complexity of the materials. Finally, even though the worked-example experiments emphasized by Van Gog and Sweller have methodological problems, they do not show strong evidence favoring the null. Instead, the data provide evidence that there is indeed a small positive effect of retrieval practice with worked examples. Retrieval practice remains an effective way to improve meaningful learning of complex materials.
Descriptors: Testing, Learning, Instructional Materials, Difficulty Level, Literature Reviews, Educational Research, Research Problems
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A