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ERIC Number: EJ956464
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Dec
Pages: 6
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 20
ISSN: ISSN-1043-4046
Effect of Selected "Desirable Difficulty" Learning Strategies on the Retention of Physiology Information
Dobson, John L.
Advances in Physiology Education, v35 n4 p378-383 Dec 2011
The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of interleaving and expanding retrieval on the retention of physiology concepts. Participants (n = 189) read and then reread 30 immunology and reproductive physiology passages. Half of the participants read and then reread the passages in a blocked manner (e.g., a[subscript 1]a[subscript 2]a[subscript 3]b[subscript 1]b[subscript 2]b[subscript 3]), and the other half did so in an interleaved manner (e.g., a[subscript 1]b[subscript 1]b[subscript 2]a[subscript 2]a[subscript 3]b[subscript 3]). Participants were then repeatedly assessed, without feedback, after either a uniform or an expanding series of intervals. Half of the students from both the blocked and interleaved groups completed the assessments 1, 2, and 3 days after rereading the passages (uniform), whereas the other half completed the assessments immediately and 1 and 3 days after rereading the passages (expanding). All participants completed a final assessment 10 days after rereading the passages. There were no significant differences between the blocked and interleaved groups on any of the assessments, nor were there any significant interactions between the groups on any of the assessments. Those in the expanding retrieval group scored significantly higher than those in the uniform group on all four assessments (ANOVA; "assessment 1": F = 35.12, P = 0.00; "assessment 2": F = 13.88, P = 0.00; "assessment 3": F = 10.87, P = 0.00; and "assessment 4": F = 6.79, P = 0.01). Mean final assessment scores were 47.58 [plus or minus] 19.81 and 40.50 [plus or minus] 17.17 for the expanding and uniform groups, respectively. The results indicate that participants benefited more from expanding retrieval practice. (Contains 3 tables and 2 figures.)
American Physiological Society. 9650 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, MD 20814-3991. Tel: 301-634-7164; Fax: 301-634-7241; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Florida