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retrieval practice

In the 24 January 2011 edition of EducationNews.org, John Jensen, Ph.D., writes a
commentary about memory and learning. The article is worth reading. Noting 
a recent article in Science Magazine online by Karpicke and Blunt (January
20, 2011) showing the superiority of retrieval practice over elaborative studying, Jensen
comments, "...the act of retrieving information sinks it into memory."

But schools and classrooms have a problem with what Jensen calls the maximum
practice element because, to be a rigorous retrieval workout, practice has to
be “straight retrieval with no helps, hints, or hand-holding.” This kind of practice
is very, very difficult to arrange in a group (classroom) since children in any
group have vastly different learning levels. Even in "one-on-one" learning (e.g.,
individual therapy) it can be hard to set up practice with a maximum practice
element; adults naturally (and often unconsciously) provide the child with as
much "help, hints, or hand-holding" as it takes to get a correct response.

Jensen's suggestions for how teachers can provide maximum practice include
micro-answers to micro-questions, structured using a micro-organized test.
By "micro" I think he means practice that is intensive and brief. This sounds a lot
like Lexercise's in-clinic and on-line practice tools!

Play Lexercise's Isolator game demo and see what you think about its maximum
practice value. Lexercise games are designed to give kids individually customized
practice (i.e., with words structured at their processing level) so that they get
a maximal number (e.g., 11 to 14) of correct responses per minute. Can you
get 11 to 14 correct responses per minute practicing face-to-face with a child,
either one-to-one or in a group? It's hard. Maybe that's one reason it is rarely
done. Interestingly, highly structured, "rapid rotation" of practice activities is
a key element in all Orton-Gillingham methods for treating dyslexia and other
language-literacy disorders.

Lexercise supports clinicians in the use of "micro" practice (i.e., short, highly
structured, high accurate, highly intense periods) across all the domains of
language, both in its on-line games and in its in-clinic tools.

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