Reference : Adaptive Practice Quizzing in a University Lecture: A Pre-Registered Field Experiment
Scientific journals : Article
Social & behavioral sciences, psychology : Education & instruction
Educational Sciences
Adaptive Practice Quizzing in a University Lecture: A Pre-Registered Field Experiment
Heitmann, Svenja []
Obergassel, Niklas []
Fries, Stefan []
Grund, Axel mailto [University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences (FHSE) > LUCET >]
Berthold, Kirsten []
Roelle, Julian []
Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition
[en] Practice quizzing ; Testing effect ; Adaptation ; Cognitive load
[en] Providing quiz questions has emerged as a powerful means to support learning. However, it is still unclear whether
adaptive practice quizzing will enhance beneficial effects in authentic contexts. To address this question, university
students (N = 188; n = 155 female) were randomly assigned to employ either adaptive practice quizzing, nonadaptive
practice quizzing, or note-taking following three consecutive sessions of a standard psychology university
lecture for undergraduate pre-service teachers. In the adaptive practice quizzing condition, quiz questions were adapted
to learners’ expertise via cognitive demand ratings, whereas in the non-adaptive condition quiz questions
followed a fixed sequence. Students in the adaptive practice quizzing condition outperformed those in the nonadaptive
condition after a two-week delay, but not after a one-week delay. Exploratory mediation analyses show that
performance on the quiz questions during the learning phase seems to be partly responsible for this effect.
This work was supported by the Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung [(German) Federal Ministry of Education and Science (BMBF); FKZ 16DHL1004].
Researchers ; Professionals ; General public
One means to effectively support learners in learning new content lies in the method of practice
quizzing. In practice quizzing, learners typically first study new learning material and then answer
multiple quiz questions. Practice quizzing is usually very beneficial for learning. We wanted to
investigate whether its positive effect could be increased. In a typical quizzing setup, all learners
are presented with the same quiz questions in the same order – without taking into account how
knowledgeable the learners are in the subject at hand. Research suggests that this is suboptimal.
In our study, we adapted the order of quiz questions to match learners’ actual state of knowledge
with the help of a mechanism simple enough to be applied in authentic learning contexts, such
as university lectures: By assessing how cognitively demanding (i.e., how hard) learners found a
given quiz question, we aimed to then provide them with a question fitting their state of knowledge
(which should evoke medium cognitive demand). Our study, conducted in an authentic psychology
lecture with undergraduate pre-service teachers, showed that our new adaptive approach led to
higher learning outcomes (at least after two weeks) than non-adaptive practice quizzing. This seems
to be in part due to learners in the adaptive condition performing better on the quiz questions during
the learning phase than learners in the non-adaptive condition. We conclude that, based on our data,
the benefits of practice quizzing in authentic learning contexts are even greater when the quiz questions
are adapted to learners’ state of knowledge via a simple adaptation mechanism.

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