Enhancing Adaptive Learning through Strategic Scheduling of Passive and Active Learning Modes

AbstractRecent work suggests that optimal spacing in learning requires adaptive procedures (Mettler, Massey & Kellman, 2016). Here, we studied how adaptive techniques might be further enhanced by combining active and passive learning modes. Participants learned geography facts that were scheduled using the ARTS (Adaptive Reaction-Time-based Scheduling) system under four conditions involving passive and/or active trials. Conditions included: a) Passive Only presentations of learning items, b) Passive Initial Blocks followed by active adaptive scheduling, c) Passive Initial Items followed by active adaptive scheduling for each item introduced, or d) Active Only learning with no passive presentations. We found an advantage for combinations of active and passive presentation (by blocks or items) over Passive Only or Active Only presentation. Passive trials presented in blocks at the beginning of learning showed best performance. We discuss possible explanations for these differences and suggest principles underlying optimal combinations of active and passive modes in adaptive learning.

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