The Research Behind LearningCurve

Common Belief
Research Truths
How LearningCurve Helps

To retain the important information from an assigned reading, students need to read and re-read it.

Quizzing helps students retain more information than re-reading. This is often called the "testing effect" or "retrieval practice."

  • Dempster, F. N. (1997). Distributing and managing the conditions of encoding and practice. In E. L. Bjork & R. A. Bjork (Eds). Human Memory (pp. 197-236). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.
  • Roediger, H. L. III., & Karpicke, J. D. (2006). The power of testing memory: Basic research and implications for educational practice. Psychological Science, 1, 181-210.
  • Ballard's (1913) and Bartlett's (1932) results.

LearningCurve promotes retrieval practice through its unique delivery of questions and point system. Students with a firm grasp on the material get plenty of practice but proceed through the activity relatively quickly. Unprepared students are given more questions, therefore requiring that they do what they should be doing anyway if they’re unprepared—practice some more.

Common Belief
Research Truths
How LearningCurve Helps

Busy students can cram for an exam and still perform at their best.

"Spacing" leads to better and longer retention than "massing" or "cramming."

  • Bahrick, H.P., Bahrick, L.E., Bahrick, A.S., & Bahrick, P.E. (1993). Maintenance of foreign language vocabulary and the spacing effect. Psychological Science, 4, 316-321.
  • Cepeda, N. J., Pashler, H., Vul, E., Wixted, J. T.& Rohrer, D. (2006). Distributed practice in verbal recall tasks: A review and quantitative synthesis. Psychological Bulletin, 132, 354-380.
  • Cull, W. L. (2000). Untangling the benefits of multiple study opportunities and repeated testing for cured recall. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 14, 215-235.
LearningCurve promotes spacing by helping students master smaller chunks of information more frequently over the course of the term. They are accountable to read the book and practice that material over time. The kind of spacing that LearningCurve promotes is particularly important for intro courses where students need to master foundational information for their major.
Common Belief
Research Truths
How LearningCurve Helps

It is always best to withhold the correct answers until the end of the quiz.

While feedback overall is helpful, Instant feedback works better to improve student learning.

  • Anderson, J. R., Corbett, A. T., Koedinger, K. R., & Pelletier, R. (1995). Cognitive tutors: Lessons learned. The Journal of Learning Sciences, 4(2), 167-207.
  • McTighe, J., & O'Connor, K. (2005). Seven practices for effective learning. Educational Leadership, 63, 10-17.
  • Roediger, H. L. III, & Marsh, E. J. (2005). The positive and negative consequences of multiple-choice testing. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 31, 1155-1159.
  • Shute, V. (2006). Focus on formative feedback. Unpublished Manuscript, Educational Testing Service, Princeton, NJ.
  • Toppino, T. C., & Brochin, H. A. (1989). Learning from tests: The case of true-false examinations. Journal of Educational Research, 83, 119-124.

Students will get instant feedback after every question in LearningCurve. Not only does this help them retain the information overall, but it also corrects them immediately on any misconceptions or mistakes. LearningCurve takes full advantage of this teaching opportunity by not just identifying the correct answer but by also providing detailed feedback as to why an answer might be incorrect. LearningCurve's immediate feedback means students are more likely to answer subsequent questions correctly because their misconceptions have been corrected. They don't have to wait until the end of the quiz to learn.

Common Belief
Research Truths
How LearningCurve Helps

Most students have a good handle on their mastery of the important topics in a particular class.

Like most humans, students have "imperfect metacognition." They don't know what they don't know.

  • Azevedo, R., & Cromley, J.G. (2004). Does training on self-regulated learning facilitate students' learning with hypermedia. Journal of Educational Psychology, 96, 523-535.
  • Maki, R.H. (1998). Test predictions over text material. In D.J. Hacker, J. Dunlosky, & A.C. Graesser (Eds.). Metacognition in educational theory and practice (pp. 117-144), Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
  • White, B., & Frederiksen, J. (1998). Inquiry, modeling, and metacognition: Making science accessible to all students. Cognition and Instruction, 16, 3-117.
  • Winne, P.H. (2001). Self-regulated learning viewed from models of information processing. In B. Zimmerman & D. Schunk (Eds.), Self-regulated learning and academic achievement: Theoretical perspectives (pp. 153-189). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

LearningCurve adapts to quickly assess and then match a student's understanding of the topics at hand. When performing well in one area they are given more difficult questions to further strengthen their understanding. They are then taken through areas where they are having a harder time until their understanding improves. Their personalized study plan, available during or after their quiz, directs them to relevant book content as well as carefully- curated videos, flash cards, animations, and tutorials designed to help them master the material.

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