Adaptively adding concepts during study improves flashcard-based learning

Most students use flashcards to study, but they often do not use them effectively (e.g., students drop cards from study too soon; Kornell & Bjork, 2008). Adaptive technology can avoid this by adding or dropping cards based on objective performance criteria. 
In this study, we examined the optimal adaptive flashcard learning strategy by having participants identify butterfly species under different adaptive mastery conditions that added or dropped cards based on performance.
We hypothesized that adding cards as performance improves (Mastery Add) would show better retention and transfer compared to a condition that drops cards (Mastery Drop) or a control condition in which no cards are added or dropped because it lessens the cognitive load at the beginning of study and increases spacing between items.
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Abstract/Description: Most students use flashcards to study, but they often do not use them effectively (e.g., students drop cards from study too soon; Kornell & Bjork, 2008). Adaptive technology can avoid this by adding or dropping cards based on objective performance criteria. In this study, we examined the optimal adaptive flashcard learning strategy by having participants identify butterfly species under different adaptive mastery conditions that added or dropped cards based on performance. We hypothesized that adding cards as performance improves (Mastery Add) would show better retention and transfer compared to a condition that drops cards (Mastery Drop) or a control condition in which no cards are added or dropped because it lessens the cognitive load at the beginning of study and increases spacing between items.
Subject(s): Study habits
Undergraduate Research
Flash card use
Date Issued: 2021