From the Lab to the Dorm Room: Metacognitive Awareness and Use of Spaced Study
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Type of Work33 p.
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Numerous laboratory studies have demonstrated the long-term memory benefits of studying material in multiple distributed sessions as opposed to one massed session, given an identical amount of overall study time (i.e., the spacing effect). The current study goes beyond the laboratory to investigate whether undergraduates know about the advantage of spaced study, to what extent they use it in their own studying, and what factors influence its utilization. Participants (n = 285) completed a web-based survey responding to questions about their study behaviors, metacognitive awareness of spacing, the factors that contribute to the distribution of their study time, and independent measures of metacognitive self-regulation and use of elaboration study strategies. Results indicate that participants are aware of the benefits of spaced study and use it more than massing when they study, but do not implement it frequently. Students also endorsed several factors as important in the decision to distribute their study time. Further, level of metacognitive self-regulation and use of elaboration techniques were associated with the tendency to space material. Additional research is needed to examine student study habits in a naturalistic setting, and to explore effective ways to encourage behavior change through motivational and teaching techniques.