Recently, the Teaching in Higher Ed podcast featured the topic “The Science of Retrieval Practice”, http://teachinginhighered.com/podcast/science-retrieval-practice/, giving the statistics behind the benefit of students practicing recall. In short, even though students may not always feel like they are getting a benefit, practicing memory recall helps at test time.
As instructors, we can help with this by building time into class to do retrieval practice. Any time that new material is presented, repetition helps students to build long term memory. Using a retrieval practice during the class can help with that. This can be a quiz (for no marks), or a game, such as Jeopardy or Kahoot, breaking up the day with something fun can be worthwhile and bring a benefit to students at the same time.
Students may feel some frustration at trying to recall material they’ve just learned, but the science is there. If you listen to the podcast, the benefits show during exams even when students struggled to recall in class.