A computer-based individualized study schedule and review timetable can help students retain and recollect information better, even after classes end, according to University of Colorado researchers.
A University of Colorado study found that giving students a computer-based individualized review and study schedule can help them retain lessons better. According to a press release, customized reviews help children remember more information in tests given to them one week or even six months later.
"Our research shows that data collected from a population of learners can be leveraged to personalize review for individual students, yielding significant benefits over one-size-fits-all review," said researcher Robert Lindsey of the University of Colorado, Boulder. "And this systematic, comprehensive review can be integrated into the classroom in a practical and efficient manner."
Researchers analyzed data of 179 students over a semester. The students were required to learn one chapter from their text book every week. They were also given an online flashcard app that allowed them to practice new vocabulary and phrases as well as review old material.
The material was categorized into three sets. The first one was the "massed" set, which contained questions to the chapter being studied that week. The second set was the "spaced" set that contained questions from the previous week's chapters while the third set contained questions from everything that was studied till date. This third set was computer generated with the help of an algorithm similar to one that retailers use to recommend products to customers online. This algorithm computed which material a student would need to practice more in order to fare well in his exams.
Previous studies have found that the second set of material is ideal for learning and memory. In an exam taken a month after the reviews, it was found that personalized review boosted performance by 16.5% over massed review and by 10% over generic spaced review.
"It is surprising how resistant students generally are to review," Lindsey said. "They see their job as to learn the week's new material, and feel that explicit review of old material is getting in the way of their learning. This experiment argues otherwise."
Researchers suggest that while it may be impossible for teachers to manually set individual test papers for each student, using similar computer algorithms can help make the task easier.