Game Plan for LearningAs a follow-up to yesterday's post on how testing helps cement learning, I'd like to call attention to an article that appeared in the New York Times on January 28. In the article, Winnie Hu reports on use of a technology in the classroom that represents a practical application of the principle that people retain more of what they learn when they are regularly and repeatedly tested on the material they're studying.
The technology in question is an audience response system. Each student has a handheld keypad that s/he uses to register answers to questions the teacher asks. The students' responses can be displayed in real time so that both teacher and students know how everyone is doing on physics, or math, or history, or whatever the subject happens to be.
And, according to the Karpicke/Roediger research outlined in yesterday's post, this interactive testing is also helping students remember more completely the material the teacher is covering.
Last but not least, there seems to be a strong motivational aspect to the system. The quiz show atmosphere entices most of the students to actively "play along" with the teacher's plan for the day's class.
Companies that use quiz show formats as part of their training are following a similar path to reinforcing and cementing learning. You can read an about a few representative examples here.