People sometimes ask us why memorizing information is useful. At Blank Slate, we believe that knowledge is the foundation of everything we do. We rely on our memories when we make decisions, think critically about a topic, and communicate our ideas to other people.
And when we memorize information, there’s something else we take for granted: the ability to use that knowledge to solve new problems. In cognitive science, the ability to take existing knowledge and apply it to a new situation is called a transfer effect, and it’s something researchers historically have had a hard time demonstrating.
During the first quarter of 2023, one of our clients cleverly put Blank Slate to the test to see if it could help facilitate a transfer effect.
For 10 weeks, 63 employees at a Fortune 500 company used Blank Slate to bolster their knowledge of facility maintenance work. At the end of their Blank Slate trial, the employees completed a 50-item multiple choice test consisting of:
- 23 questions that were unrelated to their Blank Slate questions
- 11 questions that were conceptually similar but not identical to their Blank Slate content
- 16 questions that were identical to some of their Blank Slate questions.
We ran a statistical analysis to determine if using Blank Slate helped improve employee performance on the 11 similar and 16 identical questions, relative to the 23 unrelated questions.
As shown in the bar chart, employees who used Blank Slate showed a beautiful transfer effect. Using Blank Slate resulted in significantly better performance on test questions that were related or identical to their Blank Slate content, relative to questions that were unrelated.
In short, the knowledge you learn through Blank Slate can help you answer new questions and solve new problems.
And for the cherry on top, employees also rated their satisfaction with using Blank Slate at the end of the trial period. Check out the graphs below for the results.
Pan, S. C., & Rickard, T. C. (2018). Transfer of test-enhanced learning: Meta-analytic review and synthesis. Psychological Bulletin, 144(7), 710–756. https://doi.org/10.1037/bul0000151