Projects

Retrieval-Based Learning

A central focus of research in the Cognition and Learning Lab is the effect of retrieval practice on learning and long-term retention. Our work has established the effectiveness of retrieval-based learning as a potent learning tool, identified some of the best practices for implementing retrieval practice, and generalized it to a wide range of materials, subject populations, and educational settings.

If you are looking for a deep dive into retrieval practice:

  • Karpicke, J. D. (2017). Retrieval-based learning: A decade of progress. In J. T. Wixted (Ed.), Cognitive psychology of memory, Vol. 2 of Learning and memory: A comprehensive reference (J. H. Byrne, Series Ed.) (pp. 487-514). Oxford: Academic Press.
    [PDF]

Shorter introductory articles:

  • Karpicke, J. D. (2016). A powerful way to improve learning and memory. APA Psychological Science Agenda.
    [Link to Article]
  • Nunes, L. D., & Karpicke, J. D. (2015). Retrieval-based learning: Research at the interface between cognitive science and education. In R. A. Scott & S. M. Kosslyn (Eds.), Emerging Trends in the Social and Behavioral Sciences (pp. 1-16). John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
    [PDF]
  • Karpicke, J. D. (2012). Retrieval-based learning: Active retrieval promotes meaningful learning. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 21, 157-163.
    [PDF]

Foundational articles:

  • Karpicke, J. D., & Blunt, J. R. (2011). Retrieval practice produces more learning than elaborative studying with concept mapping. Science, 331, 772-775.
    [PDF] [Supporting Online Material]
  • Karpicke, J. D., & Roediger, H. L. (2008). The critical importance of retrieval for learning. Science, 319, 966-968.
    [PDF] [Supporting Online Material]
  • Roediger, H. L. & Karpicke, J. D. (2006). The power of testing memory: Basic research and implications for educational practice. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 1, 181-210.
    [PDF]
  • Roediger, H. L., & Karpicke, J. D. (2006). Test-enhanced learning: Taking memory tests improves long-term retention. Psychological Science, 17, 249-255.
    [PDF]

Mechanisms of Retrieval-Based Learning

In addition to generalizing retrieval practice to educational materials and settings, we are interested in delineating the mechanisms of retrieval-based learning. The theoretical account we are currently developing is known as the episodic context account. Briefly, the theory proposes that when learners engage in retrieval practice, they update the context representation associated with the retrieved knowledge. The updated context representation produced via retrieval practice can then serve as an effective retrieval cue when learners need to retrieve and reconstruct knowledge again in the future.

Main article on the context theory:

  • Karpicke, J. D., Lehman, M., & Aue, W. R. (2014). Retrieval-based learning: An episodic context account. In B. H. Ross (Ed.), Psychology of Learning and Motivation, Vol. 61 (pp. 237-284). San Diego, CA: Elsevier Academic Press.
    [PDF]

Relevant articles:

  • Whiffen, J. W., & Karpicke, J. D. (2017). The role of episodic context in retrieval practice effects. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 43, 1036-1046.
    [PDF]
  • Lehman, M., Smith, M. A., & Karpicke, J. D. (2014). Toward an episodic context account of retrieval-based learning: Dissociating retrieval practice and elaboration. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 40, 1787-1794.
    [PDF]
  • Karpicke, J. D., & Zaromb, F. M. (2010). Retrieval mode distinguishes the testing effect from the generation effect. Journal of Memory and Language, 62, 227-239.
    [PDF]

Metacognition and Self-Regulated Learning

Other research in our lab has focused on metacognition, which refers to the ability to monitor one's own learning and make effective decisions to improve learning. Our research on metacognition has established that many learners engage in relatively passive strategies, like repetitive reading, much more frequently than they do active strategies, like retrieval practice. Across a wide range of studies, we have examined several factors that influence peoples' judgments about their own learning and factors that influence the choices they make when they regulate their learning.

Relevant articles:

  • Ariel, R., & Karpicke, J. D. (2018). Improving self-regulated learning with a retrieval practice intervention. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 24, 43-56.
    [PDF]
  • Karpicke, J. D. (2009). Metacognitive control and strategy selection: Deciding to practice retrieval during learning. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 138, 469-486.
    [PDF]
  • Karpicke, J. D., Butler, A.C., & Roediger, H. L. (2009). Metacognitive strategies in student learning: Do students practice retrieval when they study on their own? Memory, 17, 471-479.
    [PDF]

Educational Applications of Retrieval-Based Learning

A major focus of our research has been on applying retrieval practice to improve learning of educational materials. This research has examined effective ways to structure learning activities that incorporate retrieval practice – for instance, by guiding learners to repeatedly retrieve conceptual material (Grimaldi & Karpicke, 2014), providing prompts during retrieval activities (Smith, Blunt, Whiffen, & Karpicke, 2016), sequencing short-answer and multiple choice questions (Smith & Karpicke, 2014), and embedding questions throughout lectures and multimedia presentations (Weinstein, Nunes, & Karpicke, 2016).

Relevant articles:

  • Smith, M. A., Blunt, J. R., Whiffen, J. W., & Karpicke, J. D. (2016). Does providing prompts during retrieval practice improve learning? Applied Cognitive Psychology, 30, 544-553.
    [PDF]
  • Weinstein, Y., Nunes, L. D., & Karpicke, J. D. (2016). On the placement of practice questions during study. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 22, 72-84.
    [PDF]
  • Grimaldi, P. J., & Karpicke, J. D. (2014). Guided retrieval practice of educational materials using automated scoring. Journal of Educational Psychology, 106, 58-68.
    [PDF]
  • Smith, M. A., & Karpicke, J. D. (2014). Retrieval practice with short-answer, multiple-choice, and hybrid tests. Memory, 22, 784-802.
    [PDF]