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Excited student pumps her fist as she takes a quiz on her phone

Studies show that many students do a poor job of studying (Miller, 2017). Quite a few just scan the readings again or cram the night before a test in hopes that the information will last until the next day. But neither strategy is especially effective. The best strategy for preparing for a test is to use spaced retrieval practice which involves answering questions about the course content at intervals. This forces the student to draw the information out of their long-term memory. Not only does this reinforce the information—essentially hardening it to make it easier to produce in the future—but it also mimics the exam experience where the student needs it. Retrieval practice is analogous to a batter practicing by hitting balls in a batting cage, while rereading is a bit analogous to watching another batter practice.

Faculty can help students study effectively by giving them games that reinforce course information. There are a number of apps and websites with free game templates that can be used to build study aids.

Below are some of the best games and sites for making educational games:

Games are an excellent way for students to study using retrieval practice. Faculty who do not want to be burdened with creating these games can offload the duty onto students by assigning game creation as an assessment. Students can be put into groups, assigned a class topic, and given the job of creating a game that fellow students—including future students—can use as a study aid. Each student should be assigned to create a certain number of questions for each game and to evaluate the questions that others create to ensure that they make sense and are accurate. The instructor then evaluates the outcome for clarity and accuracy and makes it available to the rest of the class and future classes. This way, students not only learn the content themselves in creating the game and learn from the games created by other groups but also get the pride of knowing that they are helping future students succeed. Consider how you can use games in your courses.


Miller, M. D. (2017, June). Retrieval practice in online teaching. Online Classroom, 17(6), 1, 6.

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