Delaying Access to a Problem-Skipping Option Increases Effortful Practice: Application of an A/B Test in Large-Scale Online Learning

Contributors:
  1. Nienke Ruijs
  2. Gunter Maris
  3. Han van der Maas

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Description: We report on an online double-blind randomized controlled field experiment (A/B test) in Math Garden, a computer adaptive practice system with over 150,000 active primary school children. The experiment was designed to eliminate an unforeseen opportunity to practice with minimal effort. Some children tend to skip problems that require deliberate effort, and only attempt problems that they can spontaneously answer. The intervention delayed the option to skip a problem, thereby promoting effortful practice. The results reveal an increase in the exerted effort, without being at the expense of engagement. Whether the additional effort positively affected the children's learning gains could not be concluded. Finally, in addition to these substantial results, the experiment demonstrates some of the advantages of A/B tests, such as the unique opportunity to apply truly blind randomized field experiments in educational science.

License: CC-By Attribution 4.0 International

This project represents an accepted paper submitted to SocArXiv . Learn more about how to work with paper files. View paper

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Preprint is available for download, in case the published version cannot be accessed. R scripts are available for inspection (.html) or reproduction (.Rmd). Data are available, both the practice set and test set. Anything else? Get in touch! Regards, Alexander Savi

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