Top tips for generating retrieval questions for revision
Top tips for generating retrieval questions for revision

Top tips for generating retrieval questions for revision

On the back of “Generate questions, testing or restudy” here are my top five tips for generating retrieval questions for revision.

Time efficiency –

When time to learn is limited, it matters a great deal how one puts to use the available amount of time.

de Jonge, (2014).

A few thing before we start. Generating questions is time expensive. Is this the best use of your revision time? Is this how you want to invest your revision time? Have you identified the gaps in your knowledge that you are targeting? Could generating questions be a collaboration?

What type of knowledge content are you repurposing or condensing as a question? Is generating questions the best new format for revision of this information?

The aim of test-enhanced learning is “successful retrieval.” Remember, the answer is as important as the question.

Top tips

  1. Do not think in terms of questions per se – think in terms of “Prompt-Response” stems (paired associates) or cards. What knowledge do you want the stems to nudge.
  1. If you are creating cards – image and text side-by-side (dual coding) offer a powerful nudge

Knowing three types of Q/A (paired associates) format may help. Fact. Cloze or fill in the blank or blanks. Finish the sentence. One significant benefit of a paired-associate is that they can be retrieved forwards (Q-A) and back (A-Q).

  1. Short – working memory is severely limited. Keep prompts and responses short.
  2. Two short Q-A cards are preferable to one long Q-As. Process or extended answers / knowledge can be tackled as a collection of #tagged single cards.

For factual monosemic knowledge – one card. When was the Battle of Hastings? The battle – 1066.

For convergent or polysemic knowledge – two or more cards. What factors led to the Battle of Hastings. Who wanted to be King of England – William of Normandy in France  AND What was the impact of Edward the Confessor remaining childless? No clear successor to the throne.

OTHERWISE the prompt and response need be short and precise. Name the two bones in the lower leg – Tibia and Fibula.

  1. Notes can be associated with a card. These can be hints or “How” / “Why” elaborative prompts.
  2. Categories and tags – both help build “categories” or “collections” of knowledge. Tags which also encourage shorter, more precise stems. Shorter stems, reduce error rates and raise efficiency. These tags can be used to focus or interleave knowledge.

Now you have generated questions. Spaced, personalised retrieval practice is one key strategy to adopt.

Question types (paired associated): Fact, Fill and Finish.

Facts

Technically known as a paired associate: Confidant (n) con·​fi·​dant – Someone trusted with private matters.

Mote: Exemplify the word.

Tag: May show where this word may be located, or with which character it is associated.

Fill in the blanks

Fill in the blanks require careful construction. Here a cue (the first letter) and a double blank is used.

The staging is used to emphasise the separation of s__________ c__________? – The __________ is used to emphasise the separation of social class.

The __________ is used to emphasise the separation of social class. – The staging is used to emphasise the separation of s__________ c__________?

Note: How might this impact on your enjoyment of the play?

Finish the sentence

Finish the sentence is very popular with learners and works particularly well for textual references. Here we have a prompt from The Play of Oliver Twist.

“But there’s something in that boy’s face… – where have I seen something like that look before?”

“where have I seen something like that look before? – “But there’s something in that boy’s face…

Note: What has dawned on Mr Brownlow?

Tag: help locate and connect that knowledge. Scene 11, Plot, Family, Brownlow

One final card – still very much being explored: 3️⃣ Three key words

Set three keywords for learners to build a response. The card response: An exemplified answer. Or selecting the key words.

3️⃣ Mount Vesuvius, Pompeii, erupted – Mount Vesuvius erupted killing the locals of Pompeii in the times of ancient Rome (79 AD).

Mount Vesuvius erupted killing the locals of Pompeii in the times of ancient Rome (79 AD). – Mount Vesuvius, Pompeii, erupted.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.