Study Reveals that Adding Frequent Tests to Online Learning Improves Retention

by Karl M. Kapp, ASTD/ATD

Ever wonder how to improve attention within an online lecture and how to improve an online learner’s ability to learn? One method might be to quiz them frequently. Researchers have found that by interspersing online lectures with short tests, student mind-wandering decreased by half, note-taking tripled, and overall retention of the material improved. As the researchers pointed out, without the quizzing conditions, student’s minds wandered while participating in an online course. “In our experiments, when we asked students if they were mind-wandering, they said yes roughly 40 percent of the time. It’s a significant problem.”

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