#183 How to help students remember things with Nick Soderstrom

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Sponsor details

This episode of the Mr Barton Maths podcast is proudly supported by Casio Education. Check out the fantastic resources they have available for teachers here: education.casio.co.uk/mr-barton-maths

Episode details

Long-time listeners may remember that way back in 2017 I interviewed Bob and Elizabeth Bjork about their work on memory and in particular the concept of desirable difficulties – things teachers can do that feel difficult but have a positive impact on student learning. Nick has worked alongside the Bjorks for many years, continuing the work on desirable difficulties, and co-authoring one of my all-time favourite research papers: Learning Versus Performance: An Integrative Review

My conversation with Nick can be regarded as a sequel to the 2017 conversation with the Bjorks. We review the key concepts of desirable difficulties but also cover lots of new ground.

Useful time-stamps:

  1. Memory, learning, and career paths with a cognitive psychologist. (7:04)
  2. The importance of retrieval practice in learning. (12:25)
  3. Learning vs performance in education. (17:51)
  4. Retrieval practice and testing in education. (24:26)
  5. The benefits of testing students and how it can improve learning. (29:35)
  6. Effective feedback strategies in teaching. (36:11)
  7. Math testing formats and feedback. (43:03)
  8. Retrieval practice in math education. (47:37)
  9. Using retrieval practice and spacing to improve learning. (51:33)
  10. Spaced repetition in teaching fractions. (56:30)
  11. Optimal spacing for effective learning. (1:01:01)
  12. Optimal retrieval practice for learning. (1:05:36)
  13. Using hints and cues in retrieval practice. (1:10:03)
  14. Formative assessments and learning vs performance. (1:13:30)
  15. Interleaving and its benefits in learning. (1:17:41)
  16. Interleaving in math education. (1:23:55)
  17. Math education techniques and interleaving. (1:27:53)
  18. Interleaving practice in education. (1:31:41)
  19. Pre-testing in education. (1:36:57)
  20. Assessing students’ prior knowledge in math lessons. (1:44:24)
  21. Pre-testing in education and its potential effects on students. (1:47:35)
  22. Pre-testing and its benefits in education. (1:52:48)
  23. Retrieval practice and its effectiveness in learning. (1:57:43)
  24. Learning strategies and debunking myths. (2:02:21)
  25. Learning styles, desirable difficulties, and technology in education. (2:08:32)
  26. Learning vs performance in education. (2:14:37)
  27. Learning strategies and research-backed techniques for teachers. (2:20:22)

About the guest

On Twitter, Nick is @NickSoderstrom
Nick’s blog can be found here
Nick’s paper about Learning versus Performance can be found here
Nick’s paper about pre-testing that we discuss can be found here

Nick’s Big 3

  1. Book: Make it Stick: The Science of Successful Learning
  2. Website: Lasting Learning
  3. Blog: The Effortful Educator

My usual plugs:

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