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Taming Instructional Complexity

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Published on Nov 21, 2013

From using concrete or abstract materials to giving immediate or delayed feedback, there are rampant debates over the best teaching strategies to use. But, in reality, improving education is not as simple as choosing one technique over another.

Carnegie Mellon University and Temple University researchers scoured the educational research landscape and found that because improved learning depends on many different factors, there are actually more than 205 trillion instructional options available.

In the Nov. 22 issue of "Science," the researchers break down exactly how complicated improving education really is when considering the combination of different dimensions — spacing of practice, studying examples or practicing procedures, to name a few — with variations in ideal dosage and in student needs as they learn. The researchers offer a fresh perspective on educational research by focusing on conclusive approaches that truly impact classroom learning.

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