Spacing learning and providing worked examples
Part of effective teaching is helping students retain what they have learned over the course of the school year and beyond. Research shows that we can reduce the rate at which material is forgotten by re-exposing students to key concepts and facts on at least two occasions after its introduction. This can be done by reviewing course material through short quizzes, games, targeted homework assignments, and exams separated by several weeks to several months.
Student learning and retention also improves when they can see worked examples (or solved problems) alongside problem-solving tasks. This approach allows students to learn effective problem-solving strategies, transfer these strategies more easily and, ultimately, solve problems more quickly. Worked examples can be provided for every other problem in a homework assignment or teachers can provide worked examples by thinking aloud with the whole class, assigning a similar problem, then doing another thinkaloud, followed by more practice.
The three videos in this collection provide an introduction to the research underlying these practices and how they can impact students’ learning. For more information on the recommended practices and the implications for teaching, view the IES Practice Guide, Organizing Instruction and Study to Improve Student Learning.