Seventy students participated in an experiment to measure the effects of either providing explanations or listening during small group discussions on recall of related subject-matter studied after the discussion. They watched a video of a small group discussing a problem. In the first experimental condition, the video was stopped at various points in time, enabling the participants to verbally respond to the discussion. In the second condition, they listened to the same discussion, without contributing. In the control condition, they listened to a discussion that was not related to the subject-matter subsequently studied. After the discussion, all participants studied a text and answered questions that tested their recall of information from this text. No immediate differences in recall were found. One month later, participants who had actively engaged in explaining remembered more from the text. The conclusion appears justified that actively providing explanations during a discussion positively affects long-term memory.

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Instructional Science: an international journal of learning and cognition
Department of Psychology

van Blankenstein, F.M, Dolmans, D.H.J.M, van der Vleuten, C.P.M, & Schmidt, H.G. (2011). Which cognitive processes support learning during small-group discussion? The role of providing explanations and listening to others. Instructional Science: an international journal of learning and cognition, 39(2), 189–204. doi:10.1007/s11251-009-9124-7