Combining Generative Learning and Retrieval Practice in Learning Declarative Concepts

Project Information


How to combine generative learning and retrieval practice in fostering the acquisition of declarative concepts?


10/2021 – 09/2024


German Research Foundation (DFG)


Prof. Dr. Julian RoelleProf. Dr. Alexander RenklProf. Dr. Matthias Nückles


M.Sc. Niklas Obergassel


Dr. Tino EndresProf. Dr. Shana Carpenter

Project Description

The learning of declarative concepts (i.e., the learning of key terms and corresponding definitions of abstract concepts) constitutes a common learning objective in almost every learning domain. In view of this common and cross-domain learning objective, the question on how to effectively foster the learning of declarative concepts has been widely addressed in educational psychological research. As a main result of the numerous studies conducted, tasks that mainly engage learners in knowledge construction by encouraging them to organize and elaborate on the learning materials (i.e., generative learning tasks) and tasks that mainly engage learners in retrieval practice by encouraging them to retrieve the introduced declarative concepts from memory (i.e., retrieval practice tasks) have emerged as being particularly helpful in supporting the acquisition of declarative concepts. However, although both types of tasks are not only evidently effective in fostering the learning of declarative concepts but also fulfill theoretically complementary functions for learning (i.e., generative learning tasks predominantly improve the structure of mental representations, whereas retrieval practice tasks predominantly consolidate existing mental representations), to date, very little research has dealt with the question of how the two types of learning task can be combined in the learning of declarative concepts such that the potential of knowledge construction and retrieval practice can be jointly exploited. Against this background, the aim of this project is to investigate in three experiments, whether, how, and depending on which conditional factors generative learning tasks and retrieval practice tasks can be effectively combined in learning declarative concepts.

Further information about this project can be found here.