Educational Reflections Provoked by the Centennial of Ebbinghaus' Nonsense Syllables (1885-1985)

Year: 1985

Author: Arzi, Hanna J.

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

The roots of current research on retention trace back to 1885, when Ebbinghaus reported on the self-assessment of his own memory for nonsense syllables. This work, which was revolutionary in its time, set the research paradigm throughout the following century, and led to a host of studies with little ecological validity for school learning. In view of the cumulative nature of education, there is a need for long-term retention studies (rather than short-term studies) on meaningful learning of bodies of knowledge (rather than rote memorization of discrete entities of information) carried out in school settings (rather than psychological laboratories).