Samani and Pan (2021) Interleaving enhances memory and problem-solving skills in physics [post]

JOSHUA SAMANI, Steven C. Pan
2021 unpublished
We investigated whether continuously alternating between topics during practice, or interleaved practice, improves memory and the ability to solve problems in undergraduate physics. Over eight weeks, students in two lecture sections of a university-level introductory physics course completed thrice-weekly homework assignments, each containing problems that were interleaved (i.e., alternating topics) or conventionally arranged (i.e., one topic practiced at a time). On two surprise criterial
more » ... rise criterial tests containing novel and more challenging problems, students recalled more relevant information and more frequently produced correct solutions after having engaged in interleaved practice (with observed median improvements of 50% on test 1 and 125% on test 2). Despite benefiting more from interleaved practice, students tended to rate the technique as more difficult and incorrectly believed that they learned less from it. Thus, in a domain that entails considerable amounts of problem-solving, replacing conventionally-arranged with interleaved homework can (despite perceptions to the contrary) foster longer-lasting and more generalizable learning.
doi:10.31234/osf.io/uwn3k fatcat:duqz7f3kxremvgqoqf7ztajh2i