Judging Credibility: Can Spaced Lessons Help Students Think More Critically Online?
Foot, Vanessa Lauren
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Despite its prevalence in the psychological literature, the spacing effect has not yet been fully explored in real-world classroom settings using curriculum-based material. The current study investigated whether laboratory effects of spacing can also be seen in the classroom, and if the spacing effect is still robust when extending from fact learning to critical thinking. Students were taught direct instruction in critical thinking where they judged the credibility of online sources as part of either a three-day consecutive or one per week set of lessons. Thirty-five days after the final lesson, students were tested in order to see how much of the material they retained and could apply to evaluating a new website. Results demonstrated that there were significant effects of spacing on the final test after 35 days. Students in the spacing condition were better able to explain their website ratings and remembered more of the facts from the lessons than students in the massed group. However, the website ratings did not differ significantly between the two groups at final test.