For example, the Earth is _____ planet from the sun. The student needs to put third (3rd) in the gap. Most of the blanks require a distinct answer.
The teachers can make students read the complete context. This activity makes students increase students reading ability, as they need to go to the material thoroughly. In this way, students get to know about the important and key words used in the context. More the students read, the more they improve their vocabulary. The teachers get to know about the student's that they take reading seriously or not.
The Fill in the blanks activity is also used in psyche testing. The psyche testing is commonly used when recruiting military persons. Fill in the blanks is used in psyche testing in such a way that the sentence is incomplete and the portion of the sentence has to complete by the student. This technique can easily being evaluated by psychiatrists as they can figure out the person personality and aptitude by looking the complete meaning which student has tried to deliver. This psychiatrist can judge that whether the person has a positive or negative thinking.
Fill in the blanks technique is friendly for both students and the teachers. The students do not need to answer the questions in paragraphs i.e. lengthy answers are avoided. For teachers it is easy for grading of the exam, as there are mostly absolute answers to be filled in the blanks, so they do not need to read long answers and grade them on relative basis.
However, there are many drawbacks of this technique. Few of them are discuss below:
It requires students to cram more rather then to comprehend the context. This technique does not help teachers a lot in finding the conceptual comprehension of the students. This activity is mostly dislike by students who emphasize more on conceptual studies.
The blank usually requires distinct answer to be filled gap i.e. Even a person knows what the question is about, but if he/she writes the synonym of the exact words, the blank is considered to be wrong.
This technique is no room of error from the student. If the Fill in the blanks is wrong, the student gets a zero directly whereas in subjective type the student can express their reasoning to the questions, own though even may be partially incorrect. They can at least score something than nothing.
Conflicts with CLT approach:
Communicative Learning Teaching is an approach that is mostly used in learning second or foreign language. This technique helps the students in learning more vocabulary of other languages. However, the Fill in the blank does not fits in CLT. The main reason behind that is the respondent only has to fill the exact word or phase, instead of using synonyms, which can be helpful in learning more words for the same meaning. The students remain confined in answering fill in the blanks. The above mentioned drawbacks have led to the downfall of gap filling activity, and there are other objective type testing techniques, which have taken its place, such as Multiple Choose Questions (MCQs), True-False, Match the columns etc.
Implicit learning is learning of knowledge that is not