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Practice Guide iconPractice Guide
Released: September 2007
PDF (995 KB)
This guide includes a set of concrete actions relating to the use of instructional and study time that are applicable to subjects that demand a great deal of content learning, including social studies, science, and mathematics. The guide was developed with some of the most important principles to emerge from research on learning and memory in mind.
1
Moderate Evidence
Space learning over time.
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2
Moderate Evidence
Interleave worked example solutions with problem-solving exercises.
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3
Moderate Evidence
Combine graphics with verbal descriptions.
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4
Moderate Evidence
Connect and integrate abstract and concrete representations of concepts.
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5a
Minimal Evidence
Use quizzing to promote learning. Use pre-questions to introduce a new topic.
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5b
Strong Evidence
Use quizzing to promote learning. Use quizzes to re-expose students to key content.
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6a
Minimal Evidence
Help students allocate study time efficiently. Teach students how to use delayed judgments of learning to identify content that needs further study.
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6b
Minimal Evidence
Help students allocate study time efficiently. Use tests and quizzes to identify content that needs to be learned.
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7
Strong Evidence
Ask deep explanatory questions.
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Arrange to review key elements of course content after a delay of several weeks to several months after initial presentation.

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Have students alternate between reading already worked solutions and trying to solve problems on their own.

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Combine graphical presentations (e.g., graphs, figures) that illustrate key processes and procedures with verbal descriptions.

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Connect and integrate abstract representations of a concept with concrete representations of the same concept.

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Use quizzing with active retrieval of information at all phases of the learning process to exploit the ability of retrieval directly to facilitate long-lasting memory traces.

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Assist students in identifying what material they know well, and what needs further study, by teaching children how to judge what they have learned.

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Use instructional prompts that encourage students to pose and answer “deep-level” questions on course material. These questions enable students to respond with explanations and supports deep understanding of taught material.

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Topics:
Education Levels:
  • Elementary
  • Middle Grades
  • High School
Audience:
  • Administrator
  • Policymaker
  • Researcher
  • School Specialist
  • Teacher

This practice guide was prepared for the WWC by Optimal Solutions Group under contract ED-05-CO-0026.

  • Harold Pashler (Chair)
    University of California, San Diego
  • Patrice M. Bain
    Columbia Middle School, Illinois
  • Brian A. Bottge
    University of Wisconsin, Madison
  • Arthur Graesser
    University of Memphis
  • Kenneth Koedinger
    Carnegie Mellon University
  • Mark McDaniel
    Washington University in St. Louis
  • Janet Metcalfe
    Columbia University

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