Would Drawing Boost Testing Effect?



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Previous research has shown that, as compared to rereading, self-testing leads to better retention/learning; a phenomenon known as retrieval practice. Less is known about whether the format of self-testing would make a difference since previous research has mainly focused on verbal retrieval. Hence, the goal of the study was to test the effect of drawing, as opposed to recalling the information verbally, on memory improvement. A between-subject design experiment was used, randomly placing participants in either a drawing or writing group. Each group is verbally present a word and then instructed to either draw or write it on a flashcard for 20 seconds. A total of 17 words were presented. Following the study phase, the participants took an art history questionnaire which was then followed by a recognition test, which included a list of 100 words that had the original 17 words. The participants were asked to pick the words from the list that they thought they were presented in the study phase. The results showed that the drawing group recognized more words than did the writing group: the difference was marginally significant (p=.07). The findings indicate that drawing, as a form of retrieval practice, could be used to further strengthen memory and learning. This technique could be implemented to commonly used teaching styles to make it easier for students to understand and remember information.