From Science magazine, January 20, the abstract of an article by Jeffrey Karpicke and Janell Blunt:
Educators rely heavily on learning activities that encourage elaborative studying, while activities that require students to practice retrieving and reconstructing knowledge are used less frequently. Here, we show that practicing retrieval produces greater gains in meaningful learning than elaborative studying with concept mapping. The advantage of retrieval practice generalized across texts identical to those commonly found in science education. The advantage of retrieval practice was observed with test questions that assessed comprehension and required students to make inferences. The advantage of retrieval practice occurred even when the criterial test involved creating concept maps. Our findings support the theory that retrieval practice enhances learning by retrieval-specific mechanisms rather than by elaborative study processes. Retrieval practice is an effective tool to promote conceptual learning about science.
I'll be damned. But wait, do educators really "rely heavily" on elaborative studying? And are we basically comparing concept mapping with memorization, as if there are no other alternatives?
(But what about that "the advantage occurred" even when the kids were asked to create concept maps?)
If if I can find my way to the full text of the article, perhaps I'll have more to say. Perhaps I'll make a concept map of it.