Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2018

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

Alice F. Healy

Second Advisor

Matt Jones

Third Advisor

Tim Curran

Fourth Advisor

McKell Carter

Fifth Advisor

Mike Mozer

Abstract

Self-testing is one of the most reliable and powerful memory benefits known to cognitive science. Unfortunately, many students omit this strategy in favor of less effective study techniques such as restudying. The superiority of self-testing to restudying is known as the testing effect (e.g., Roediger & Karpicke, 2006a). Applied interventions have been used to attempt to increase self-testing behaviors in student populations, but have so far been unable to draw strong conclusions due to the indirectness of their measurements and incompleteness of their experimental design. Furthermore, these past interventions have been conducted entirely in person, limiting their practical utility relative to the use of an on-demand and widely distributable format. In the present investigation, two experiments were conducted to demonstrate the effectiveness of the Quiz-Me online intervention that seeks to elicit increased use of the testing effect with (Experiment 1) or without (Experiment 2) an in-person lecture component, as well as with (Experiment 2) or without (Experiment 1) random assignment to a control intervention. These experiments also improved upon past research by using more direct assessment of study strategies that students appreciate and use, by assessing individual differences in psychological characteristics, and by establishing benchmark levels of student conversion from “restudiers” into “self-testers.” Results indicate that in-class lecture components are necessary for eliciting large-magnitude changes to self-testing appreciation and adoption, but that online interventions are nonetheless effective. Despite being smaller in magnitude, they are more strongly associated with changes to testing effect appreciation and changes to strategy use than a control intervention. These findings can be used by instructors and the developers of educational tools to refine the characteristics of future interventions into raising awareness and use of the testing effect among students.

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