We-20: Using Interleaved Practice to Teach Statistics

By Paulina Silva (University of California, Irvine)


Interleaved practice (e.g., shuffling questions of different topics together) is widely accepted as an effective instructional method for learning in a variety of domains. It is typically contrasted with blocked practice (e.g., presenting questions of the same topic together). We expanded these findings by testing whether interleaved practice is more effective than blocked practice for learning and applying introductory-level statistics concepts (e.g., central tendency, measures of dispersion) using educationally-relevant materials in an online, randomized and controlled experiment with undergraduate students at a large public research university (n=67, first gen=58%, under-represented minority=56%, female=86%, modal stats experience=2-3 courses). Participants completed two phases: a practice phase and a test phase. Unexpectedly, interleaved practice did not lead to better overall performance, nor did it lead to better performance on either basic recall or applied problems. Comparable Bayesian analyses support the conclusion that there was a weak effect to no effect of interleaving.


We-20 - Using Interleaved Practice to Teach Statistics.pdf