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Title:The effect of generating errors on subsequent learning and generalization
Author(s):Siler, Jessica
Advisor(s):Benjamin, Aaron
Department / Program:Psychology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):errors, generation, memory, learning, generalization
Abstract:Historically, teaching methods that avoid having students make errors have been favored by educators and learners. This choice was motivated by the belief that errors made during study are likely to persist in memory and consequently interfere with subsequent learning. However, mounting evidence suggests that generating errors during study may actually benefit learning. The error generation benefit is the finding that production of errors during study can enhance subsequent learning of the correct study material. It is important to determine if the error generation benefit will support more than rote learning, however. The experiments reported here examine the effect of error generation on generalization and inference in order to better understand the effects of errors on learning more broadly, and to better inform educational applications. Three experiments investigated whether the potential learning benefits that come with this kind of errorful learning would extend to cases that require transfer of knowledge to new situations or problems. Experiments 1 and 2 employed a bird categorization task and Experiment 3 employed an age estimation task. Results from Experiments 1 and 2 do not reveal an error generation benefit, though these results may reflect limitations inherent in the task. Results from Experiment 3 suggest an error generation benefit for recognition memory, but no such benefit for generalization to new stimuli. Although these results do not reveal benefits from error generation, they also provide no evidence that errors are harmful to learning, as is suggested by some theoretical perspectives.
Issue Date:2017-09-14
Rights Information:Copyright 2017 Jessica Siler
Date Available in IDEALS:2018-03-13
Date Deposited:2017-12

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