Drill procedures have been used to increase the retention of various types of information, but little is known about the causal mechanisms of these techniques. The current study compared the effect of two key features of drill procedures, a large number of opportunities to respond (OTR) and a drill ratio that maintains a high percentage of known to unknown items (90% known). Using a factorial design, 27 4th graders were taught the pronunciation and meaning of Esperanto words using four versions of incremental rehearsal that varied on two factors, percentage of known words (high - 90% vs. moderate - 50%) and the number of OTR (high vs. low). A within-subject ANOVA revealed a significant main effect for OTR and non-significant effects for drill ratio and the interaction between the two variables. Moreover, it was found that increasing OTR from low to high yielded a large effect size (d = 2.46), but increasing the percentage of known material from moderate (50%) to high (90%) yielded a small effect (d = 0.16). These results suggest that a high number of OTR may be a key feature of flashcard drill techniques in promoting learning and retention.
- Drill ratios
- Opportunities to respond