Typically, there is a greater emphasis amongst educators towards learning activities that encourage elaborative studying in comparison to activities that require students to practice retrieving and reconstructing knowledge. However, this study found that practicing retrieval produces greater gains in meaningful learning amongst students, compared to elaborative studying. This supports the theory that retrieval practice enhances learning by retrieval-specific mechanisms rather than by elaborative study processes. The implications of these findings indicate that the process of retrieval is important in assisting educators in developing advantageous teaching techniques to help improve their students' content retrieval, and in turn, their success.
Karpicke, J. D. & Blunt, J. R. (2011). Retrieval practice produces more learning than elaborative studying with concept mapping. Science, 331(6018), 772-775. https://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1199327