Feedback complexity and practice: Response pattern analysis in retention and transfer

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Feedback effectiveness and efficiency were investigated using immediate and delayed memory retention or near-transfer tasks. One hundred twenty college age subjects in four experiments practiced 40 difficult vocabulary items. Data were analyzed from an information processing perspective that recommends the analysis of both correct response and error data when studying informative feedback and practice effects. Effectiveness and efficiency of informative feedback were defined in terms of correct response and error correctability data. Effectiveness was attested to by significant (p <.01) improvement on both memory retention and near-transfer tasks following practice with feedback. This was the case for performance on both immediate and delayed post-tests (p <.01). These results also provide partial support for previous findings of an inverse relationship between error correctability and complexity of feedback (Kulhavy, White, Topp, Chan, & Adams, 1985). These data address the efficiency issue. Feedback efficiency results are discussed in terms of a limited capacity model of general working memory (Baddeley, 1986).

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Phye, Gary D., and Timothy Bender. "Feedback complexity and practice: Response pattern analysis in retention and transfer." Contemporary Educational Psychology 14, no. 2 (1989): 97-110.

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