When quizzing fails

Very interesting post by Greg that shows how science works to get closer to insights and explanations of phenomenons.

Filling the pail

There is a lot to still figure out about the nature of learning. When exploring the edge of any field of knowledge it is useful to look for the contradictions. These generate the most heated debates – so there’s lots of noise – but they also perhaps herald the transition to a new, more complete theory.

Two seemingly contradictory effects are that of the generation effect and the worked example effect.

If I were to ask you to name the capital of Texas, you might struggle. Perhaps you would suggest that it is Dallas or Houston. If I then informed you that it’s Austin then the research suggests that you are likely to remember this better than if I had simply told you that the capital of Texas is Austin. This is the ‘generation effect’ and you could also characterise it as a ‘productive failure’ effect: You failed but your failure was…

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