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When does feedback facilitate learning of words?


Some researchers have suggested that although feedback may enhance performance during associative learning, it does so at the expense of later retention. To examine this issue, subjects (N = 258) learned Luganda-English word pairs. After 2 initial exposures to the materials, subjects were tested on each item several times, with the presence and type of feedback varying between subjects. A final test followed after I week. Supplying the correct answer after an incorrect response not only improved performance during the initial learning session-it also increased final retention by 494%. On the other hand, feedback after correct responses made little difference either immediately or at a delay, regardless of whether the subject was confident in the response. Practical and theoretical implications are discussed.

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