Retrieval practice - free brochures

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Kraut
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Retrieval practice - free brochures

Postby Kraut » Sat Sep 25, 2021 8:49 pm

Stanislas Dehaene

"Through the act of retrieval, or calling information to mind, our memory for that information is strengthened and forgetting is less likely to occur."


https://www.retrievalpractice.org/library

How to use retrieval practice to improve learning

http://pdf.retrievalpractice.org/Retrie ... eGuide.pdf

How to use spaced retrieval practice to boost learning

http://pdf.retrievalpractice.org/SpacingGuide.pdf
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Re: Retrieval practice - free brochures

Postby luke » Sat Sep 25, 2021 10:23 pm

Kraut wrote:Stanislas Dehaene

"Through the act of retrieval, or calling information to mind, our memory for that information is strengthened and forgetting is less likely to occur."

https://www.retrievalpractice.org/library

Thanks for the links @Kraut. They have the "How to" document in a few languages so us language learners might can even use the document as both practice and content.

Will be interesting if people share their ideas here on various ways they can see implementing "retrieval practice" into their studies.

One way that pops into my head right away is shadowing something you may have previously read or listened to. The "retrieval" here may be vocabulary, grammatical nuance, or the storyline or idea of whatever is getting shadowed. "Retrieval" can come into play as the narrator gets ahead of you but you still understand what is being communicated, your shadow may still require a "how do I express that?" as a wall of words continues to pour out of the narrator.

Another is to write a summary - no matter how simple - of what you were learning, reading, listening to, or watching.

Retrieval Practice wrote:The more difficult the retrieval practice, the better it is for long-term learning.

So it's better, in general, to give Anki cards the benefit of the doubt when choosing between "hard", "medium", and "easy". Better to call something "easy" so the Anki algorithm makes the future challenge harder. There may be more "forgots", but overall, the cards you know get seen less often and the more difficult cards get pushed to "forget" stage and can pickup again.

BTW, Anki has a setting that changes the default "forgot" behavior so saying you forgot a card doesn't penalize the "learning interval" as much. It's under the "forgot" tab. Think it's the "interval for new". I've got mine set to 50%. Think that means if the card would be going to 4 months if it was ok, but you said you forgot it, and then 10 minutes later remember it, the new interval is 2 months. (instead of 1 day). If you forget it again, 1 month. Whatever it is, not being afraid to use the "forgot" button instead of "difficult" might take a change to the "forgot" option so it's not so painful.
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Re: Retrieval practice - free brochures

Postby AllSubNoDub » Sun Sep 26, 2021 1:31 am

Kraut wrote:Stanislas Dehaene

"Through the act of retrieval, or calling information to mind, our memory for that information is strengthened and forgetting is less likely to occur."


https://www.retrievalpractice.org/library

How to use retrieval practice to improve learning

http://pdf.retrievalpractice.org/Retrie ... eGuide.pdf

How to use spaced retrieval practice to boost learning

http://pdf.retrievalpractice.org/SpacingGuide.pdf


I liked this line:
"retrieval should be used as a learning strategy, not an assessment tool"

I feel like SRS was designed to address this exact issue. Here are some ways I use SRS in regards to the points in the paper:

I only put sentence cards in my deck. I bold the word I'm interested in. When I review:
1. I only glance at the bolded word and ignore the rest of the sentence.
2. I translate the word into English then write it down in English.
3. I read the whole sentence out loud now.
4. I quickly check the translation if necessary. I only fail a card at this point, if I can't understand or misunderstand the sentence or still can't translate the bolded word.
5. At the end of the session, I now have a list of English words. I translate them all back into L2. I star words I'm not sure about.
6. I go through and verify that I got the starred words correct. If I didn't I make another small list of just those words in English.
7. When I'm finished with 6, I use Iversen's method to "memorize" the the remaining chunk of words I missed. Here's a short recap of that:

i. I keep the list of words in my short term, translating them all one-by-one in my mind until I have the L2 whole list floating in my head.
ii. I write down the list in L2.


"metacognition, or awareness of what students know and don’t know."
- For step 1, if it doesn't come to me right away or it doesn't look familiar, I look down to see if it's "review" or "new". If it's new, I try as hard as I can to come up with it, even stepping away from the computer for a while before moving to step 3. Knowing that I "know" it, gives me more will to try and remember it. And sometimes stepping away actually works! Sufficed to say, those words never get forgotten.

"feedback should always be provided to students after retrieval practice"
- Pretty integral part of SRS.

"Instead of teaching one long lesson over a topic, divide up the lesson into smaller lessons and space them over multiple days."
- I constantly use time-boxing/Pomodoro
- I do "batch loading" into Anki, meaning I read throughout the week, mark words, then spend a few hours inputting them into Anki on the weekend. This is means before I sit down to "learn" the words in Anki, I've already been exposed to them at least twice.

"Being able to apply knowledge to a new situation is known as transfer of learning"
- I also "front load" vocabulary. I am a big proponent of learning words in isolation then "applying" them in the wild. Even gathering the words from the wild only gives you one level of context. With continued reading/listening, you'll eventually encounter the word again. Even if you get a "miss" it will help the word stick better next time.

"Include cumulative retrieval practice."
- This one's interesting. I don't have any plans for Spanish at the moment, but I do plan on testing myself for all jouyou Kanji after I finish RTK starting from 1 all in one sitting. After this, I plan on going from kanji to keyword (maybe not all at once, but an accelerated rate since I'll likely fail some, like 100 per day).
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Re: Retrieval practice - free brochures

Postby Kraut » Sun Sep 26, 2021 8:12 am

I do bidirectional translation plus memorization of minitexts.
Here is part of a minitext:

https://ytpak.net/watch?v=g6FTCG2Sdos

Siempre que voy al supermercado, encuentro en la puerta un chico de veintipocos años pidiendo. Alto, fuerte y bien plantado, se pasa ahí horas y horas todos los días desde hace meses esperando a recibir una limosna. Justo al lado hay una floristería que regenta una señora mayor y su marido (ambos calculo, deben superar la edad de 60 años). Al comenzar la jornada la señora carga con pesadas macetas, plantas y flores que va colocando frente a su tienda para exponerlas con mucho esfuerzo. Y al cerrar a la tarde, vuelta a lo mismo. No puedo evitar una mirada de compadicimiento cuando me cruzo con ella al contemplar su rostro, agotado por el cansancio.


The texts must be linear, compelling and easy to be visualized. Memorization is the initial major effort put on the brain. Once this is done, I can start retrieving elements, wherever I am, I no longer depend on paper work or computer:
- age of the persons: "chico de veintipocos anos", "ambos deben superar la edad de 60 anos"
- grammar forms like "al comenzar la jornada", "al cerrar", "al contemplar"
- difficult words like "compadicimiento", "cansancio" ...

All I store on my computer is the translated text, coloured, with annotations.
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Re: Retrieval practice - free brochures

Postby Iversen » Sun Sep 26, 2021 3:43 pm

I have just read the middle pdf (the retrieval guide), and I found a lot of sensible information, but also some that is more dubious - or maybe just not formulated in sufficiently precise terms.

For instance the article states that "The more difficult the retrieval practice, the better it is for long-term learning. For instance, recalling an answer to a science question improves learning to a greater extent than looking up the answer in a textbook." But what then if you don't remember the answer, even after prolonged recall attempts - or if you suspect that your memory is playing trickes on you? Looking things up in itself has nothing to do with retrieval - retrieval may come later, but then you have to memorize the information first. In any case: if you simply can't remember something then it doesn't help to continue in vain - just find the answer and get on with your life.

My complaint is that things may be difficult without leading to the storing of more information. For instance it may take a long time to find some piece of information in a badly organized book or a dictionary that hasn't got the words you are looking up - and then you may have to guess based on related words OR simply give up. In both cases you have wasted your time. Retrieval should be the first priority - as when I see a word or idiom and try to remember what it means before I grab my dictionary. But if the answer doesn't pop up easily and I have to look it up, then I want to get the information served on a platter with as little fuzz as possible.

And where did memorization then go? Well, if I'm reading extensively I don't even try to remember all the words I have looked up. The purpose of reading extensively is 1) to have fun and 2) to train my reading stamina. But I assume that when I meet a word I have looked up (or guessed) again later on during my intensive studies (or during one more bout of extensive reading) then the word is likely to become a permanent part of my vocabulary. And if I never see it again then it didn't matter that I didn't write it down the first time I looked it up.

I have built several stages of retrieval into my wordlist routines, but that's part of my intensive study activities. I don't want my extensive activities to become more difficult than necessary.

Intensive studies are for learning, extensive ones are for fun and training - but retrieval is definitely an important component of that training.
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Re: Retrieval practice - free brochures

Postby AllSubNoDub » Sun Sep 26, 2021 9:27 pm

Iversen wrote:For instance the article states that "The more difficult the retrieval practice, the better it is for long-term learning. For instance, recalling an answer to a science question improves learning to a greater extent than looking up the answer in a textbook." But what then if you don't remember the answer, even after prolonged recall attempts - or if you suspect that your memory is playing trickes on you? Looking things up in itself has nothing to do with retrieval - retrieval may come later, but then you have to memorize the information first. In any case: if you simply can't remember something then it doesn't help to continue in vain - just find the answer and get on with your life.


When skimming the pamphlet, I took that to mean just putting some effort into recalling. The longer and harder I try to recall something, the better I recall the word in the future (even if I get it wrong). Sometimes this includes even taking a break, doing something else, and coming back later. It becomes an "event". Build up the mental lattice around it, eliminate possibilities, etc.; literally just think about it. At that point you've dug the synaptic burrow, now you just have to drop the information in.

A common thing I see with people using SRS sentence cards is someone putting in a sentence with 1 unknown, then reading the sentence for comprehension. If you understand the sentence, then you pass the card. I've tried this too, but sometimes the sentence has so much context that it just gives the answer away even if you had a nonsense word as the unknown. You end up only recognizing the word in that context. I'm assuming they're discouraging that type of thing if it makes it too "easy" to recall.
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Re: Retrieval practice - free brochures

Postby luke » Sun Sep 26, 2021 11:27 pm

AllSubNoDub wrote:A common thing I see with people using SRS sentence cards is someone putting in a sentence with 1 unknown, then reading the sentence for comprehension. If you understand the sentence, then you pass the card. I've tried this too, but sometimes the sentence has so much context that it just gives the answer away. You end up only recognizing the word in that context.

Today I pulled the context sentence from the actual context. It's made the word is easier to remember, which is my goal.

If the author uses a word many times in various ways, it seems even an "easy hook" into the word's meaning might be helpful in other contexts.

I used this on a few words this morning. It helped to have an electronic parallel text which told me:
1) Is this a hapax legomenon (used only once), or does the author use it multiple times in a variety of ways?
2) Of the multiple uses, which sentence fragment is the most outstanding?

During the "search and update Anki" mission, I found two of the words I looked from an abridged, simplified text (El Quijote from Anaya publishing) were only used once in the original 1000+ page original Don Quijote. The interesting thing was that in a graded reader (2000 words), they used up some of the word count on these low frequency words. No matter. Matorral (thicket) is easier to remember by using the actual context, rather than just an example sentence from a dictionary. saliese de aquellos matorrales (to come out of those thickets). That's from the original, rather the the graded reader, although the graded reader is what brought it to my attention.

I will watch when I re-read the abridged graded reader down the road if they use matorral more than once. (just curious)

In the context of "challenge", the "look it up in the original", etc, added some additional mental framework to that word.

Not saying it's a good general strategy, but for those words that resist sticking, finding alternative "card backs" helps me move them into "learning" instead of "leeched".

I'm not disputing the general notion, "if it was hard, that was good for you". Your tips are helpful. Another one I use, since I have multiple decks, is "don't answer that card, switch to another deck and it will be shown to you again (and randomly) when you return to the original deck". When I come back, sometimes the word is remembered by some background process our brain kicks off to find it.

One could actually use that as a strategy even if one had only a single deck. Just split it in two and whenever a word is hard, switch to the other deck. Back and forth.
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Re: Retrieval practice - free brochures

Postby AllSubNoDub » Mon Sep 27, 2021 12:16 am

I should have properly prefaced my response. I will do so now.
In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are not.

So take anything I say with a big block of salt.

luke wrote:Today I pulled the context sentence from the actual context. It's made the word is easier to remember, which is my goal.

Yes. This is a healthy attitude and probably what most people should do (as far as I understand from reading about what seems to work for most people). You can/should only be a slave to the machine for so long. I think pain is good at the beginning if you can tolerate it, but at some critical mass of learned vocabulary, minimize Anki time and maximize reading time (though by it's very nature, that's kind of how it works anyway).

As a side note, I tried using context cards in the beginning, but I just really don't like them. It feels like I'm "doubling down" on my ability to only recognize the element in one context. I like finding a different sentence using the element in the same way, that way I at least have two contexts. I do use them occasionally though or combine them.

luke wrote:Not saying it's a good general strategy, but for those words that resist sticking, finding alternative "card backs" helps me move them into "learning" instead of "leeched".

I've never had a problem with leeches unless I'm learning the words in isolation (e.g. when I was doing 30 kanji a day, oof). Also, based on some tips I got from the "immersion learning" community (who are all diehard SRS junkies), I've also turned off leech suspensions. You can only fail a card so many times before the SRS finally does its job and it will eventually stick. Also, I can't remember where I read it now, but forgetting a piece of information then reencountering actually builds stronger memories.

luke wrote:I'm not disputing the general notion, "if it was hard, that was good for you". Your tips are helpful.

Just don't become a sadist!


Edit: Rough rule of thumb, I think using the sentence card from the context you found it in is probably preferable once you've reached an advanced stage, especially the word is low frequency; monolingual definitions are more handy at that point too. Bilingual sentence cards are probably best at the intermediate stage. Single word flashes in the beginning stages. Pictures for concrete nouns can be used throughout.
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Re: Retrieval practice - free brochures

Postby Iversen » Mon Sep 27, 2021 12:40 am

If you do have identified a word or expression that defies memorization, then the obvious solution is of course to invent new ways to remember it - new contexts, related words, different meanings, etymology or the situation where you first saw it. But not all words are worth that much of an effort.
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Re: Retrieval practice - free brochures

Postby rdearman » Mon Sep 27, 2021 7:40 pm

AllSubNoDub wrote:
luke wrote:
I'm not disputing the general notion, "if it was hard, that was good for you". Your tips are helpful.

Just don't become a sadist!

Shouldn't that be Masochistic? A Masochistic is a person who feels or finds pleasure in punishments. :ugeek:
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