On SAGE Insight: Implications of the declarative/procedural model for improving second language learning: The role of memory enhancement techniques

From Second Language Research

The declarative/procedural (DP) model posits that the learning, storage, and use of language critically depend on two learning and memory systems in the brain: declarative memory and procedural memory. A variety of learning and memory enhancement approaches have been investigated.

This research has discussed in some depth two approaches – spaced repetition (the spacing effect) and retrieval practice (the testing effect) – since both of these item-level techniques are well studied and quite effective, and they can be combined. Authors have laid out the DP model’s specific predictions for both techniques for the enhancement of language learning, and summarized the evidence to date, with a focus on second language acquisition. Overall, the existing evidence suggests that, consistent with the DP model’s predictions, both spacing and retrieval practice can enhance language learning, in particular retention, for both L1 and L2. The findings provide at least preliminary support for the DP model’s predictions laid out above regarding the enhancement of language learning.

Abstract


The declarative/procedural (DP) model posits that the learning, storage, and use of language critically depend on two learning and memory systems in the brain: declarative memory and procedural memory. Thus, on the basis of independent research on the memory systems, the model can generate specific and often novel predictions for language. Till now most such predictions and ensuing empirical work have been motivated by research on the neurocognition of the two memory systems. However, there is also a large literature on techniques that enhance learning and memory. The DP model provides a theoretical framework for predicting which techniques should extend to language learning, and in what circumstances they should apply. In order to lay the neurocognitive groundwork for these predictions, here we first summarize the neurocognitive fundamentals of the two memory systems and briefly lay out the resulting claims of the DP model for both first and second language. We then provide an overview of learning and memory enhancement techniques before focusing on two techniques – spaced repetition and retrieval practice – that have been linked to the memory systems. Next, we present specific predictions for how these techniques should enhance language learning, and review existing evidence, which suggests that they do indeed improve the learning of both first and second language. Finally, we discuss areas of future research and implications for second language pedagogy.

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Article details
Implications of the declarative/procedural model for improving second language learning: The role of memory enhancement techniques
Michael T Ullman, Jarrett T Lovelett
First Published November 24, 2016 Research Article
DOI: 10.1177/0267658316675195
From Second Language Researchd

     
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