Best Practice

Do you know about retrieval-induced forgetting?

Retrieval practice is all the rage, but retrieval-induced forgetting is a phenomenon – recognised in the research – that is frequently hidden in plain sight. Terry Pearson explains what it is and what it means for developing our approaches to using retrieval practice
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Studies of retrieval practice have revealed that retrieving some information from memory can impair subsequent recall of other information, a phenomenon often termed retrieval-induced forgetting.

Research on the detrimental consequences of retrieving some items from memory has a long tradition which has produced a base of literature that is now replete with rich empirical and theoretical reviews that explore how and why retrieval-induced forgetting has been observed in a wide variety of contexts (see, for example, Storm et al, 2015).

Knowledge of how retrieval practice may have both enhanced and inhibited recall of information from memory is clearly useful to teachers. Where relevant it makes sense for them to draw on the findings from this research to help them in their daily work.

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