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Enhancing Learning and Retrieval: The Forward Testing Effect

Yang, Chunliang; (2018) Enhancing Learning and Retrieval: The Forward Testing Effect. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

It is well established that testing of studied information, by comparison with restudying or doing nothing, enhances long-term retention of studied information – the backward testing effect. An accumulating body of more recent research has shown that interim testing of studied information has another important consequence: it enhances learning and retrieval of new information – the forward testing effect. This thesis aims to further explore the forward beneficial effects of interim testing. The research described here employs the most-widely used procedure – a multi-list method – to investigate the forward testing effect on self-regulated study time allocation (Experiments 1 and 2), metamemory monitoring (Experiments 3 and 4), inductive learning (Experiments 5 and 6), and transfer effect (Experiments 7-9). Finally, it explores whether interim tests can be used as a remedial technique to mitigate older adults’ learning and memory deficits (Experiments 10-12). Experiments 1 and 2 reveal that, in the absence of interim tests, learners systematically decrease their study times across a study phase; however, this decreasing trend is prevented (or attenuated) by interim tests. These two experiments also show that the forward benefits of interim tests generalize to self-paced learning situations. Experiments 3 and 4 show that people tend to be aware of the forward benefits of interim tests. Experiments 5 and 6 demonstrate that frequent interim tests facilitate the learning of abstract concepts, indicating that interim testing enhances inductive learning. Experiments 7-9 explore the transferability of the forward effect, in which material types (and test formats) were varied across blocks. The results confirm that the effect transfers broadly. Experiments 10-12 reveal that interim tests significantly improve older adults’ learning and memory of new information. Overall, the findings shed light on the mechanisms of the forward testing effect and provide strong encouragement for learners and instructors to administer interim tests in educational contexts.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Enhancing Learning and Retrieval: The Forward Testing Effect
Event: University College London
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10054825
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