Self-Regulated Learning of Important Information Under Sequential and Simultaneous Encoding Conditions

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Learners make a number of decisions when attempting to study efficiently: they must choose which information to study, for how long to study it, and whether to restudy it later. The current experiments examine whether documented impairments to self-regulated learning when studying information sequentially, as opposed to simultaneously, extend to the learning of and memory for valuable information. In Experiment 1, participants studied lists of words ranging in value from 1–10 points sequentially or simultaneously at a preset presentation rate; in Experiment 2, study was self-paced and participants could choose to restudy. Although participants prioritized high-value over low-value information, irrespective of presentation, those who studied the items simultaneously demonstrated superior value-based prioritization with respect to recall, study selections, and self-pacing. The results of the present experiments support the theory that devising, maintaining, and executing efficient study agendas is inherently different under sequential formatting than simultaneous.

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