Increasing Retention and Motivation: Making a Case for Conscious Long-Term Repetition and Leveraging Peer Learning

Brian Edward Jarvis and John Peterson

In this article we share two strategies to address issues of retention and motivation in an inter-university, co-taught Form and Analysis course: (1) a cyclic quizzing strategy that fosters long-term retention and gradual accumulation of skill in a manner similar to how musicians learn new repertoire, and (2) a final project that leverages peer learning to maintain student motivation and participation throughout the semester. For their final projects, students became teachers by creating a video analysis of a piece. These videos were evaluated by students from a different institution’s Form and Analysis course which was taught using materials co-designed by the instructors of both courses. This peer-evaluation model motivated the students to master course content so they could positively represent themselves and their institutions. Quizzes deployed through our Learning Management Systems helped students continually practice key concepts. These quizzes allowed us to scaffold and repeat content, both aural and written, without consuming precious class time.