Given that you are reading a blog post about education research then there is a high probability that you are familiar with the work of John Hattie. You may not, however, be aware that Hattie’s latest book in the ‘Visible Learning’ series is out at the end of this month. In ‘Visible Learning and the Science of How We Learn’, Hattie joins forces with our very own Gregory Yates of the University of South Australia. Yates is a cognitive psychologist and certainly knows a great deal about the science of learning. He has written a number of joint papers with John Hattie. However, I have recently been reading a little gem of a paper that Greg Yates wrote back in 2005.
I didn’t know what to call this blog post. ‘The Testing Effect’, may have negative connotations for some people for whom it will conjure images of NAPLAN-style high-stakes tests. However, the alternative that is used by Jeffrey Karpicke – an expert on the concept – is ‘Retrieval Based Learning’. This, to me, has the whiff of a TLA (Three Letter Acronym) in the making and, if Karpicke’s ideas bear fruit then we could soon find ourselves attending professional development days centred around a formulaic and ineffective form, probably known as ‘RBL’.