Improving Learning Through Repeated Retrieval Practice, Spacing, and Immediate Feedback

In research on engineering students at Rice, small changes in course designed guided by three principles improved student learning:

Repeated retrieval practice - In addition to receiving the standard homework assignment, students were given follow-up problems on the same topic in two additional assignments that counted only toward their course participation grade.

 Spacing - Rather than giving all the problem sets for a week's lectures in one assignment, the researchers spaced the problems over three weeks of assignments.

 Feedback - Rather than waiting one week to learn how they did, students received immediate feedback on intervention homework, and they were required to view the feedback to get credit for the assignment.

Repeated retrieval practice and spacing are possible in a writing class, but how is immediate feedback to be given when there’s no one way to write anything?