Spaced Repetition - How to improve knowledge by 50%

Posted by Natalie Donalds,

February 23, 2016

Cramming is something that most people do at some stage in their lives. If you are lucky, though, cramming took place during your student days, which are now a distant memory. Back in those days being efficient wasn’t always at the top of the priority list, although “cramming” is a practise that takes inefficiency to embarrassing levels.

Cramming involves a short but intense period of time where you read and try to remember as much as possible. The problem is that it simply doesn’t work. Our brains don’t work like this. Instead, our brain remembers things better when we study them less frequently over longer time spans than repeatedly over a short period of time (cramming).

Psychologists call it the “spacing effect”.

Can you use this information to help improve your mobile learning lessons and courses? You can, by utilizing spaced repetition.

Spaced Repetition improves knowledge by up to 50%

Spaced Repetition improves knowledge by up to 50%.

What Is Spaced Repetition?

Spaced repetition is a learning technique that has been used for decades but which has become supercharged with mobile technology and apps.

The technique involves taking something that you need to remember and spacing out the intervals during which the information is presented to you. Things that you remember well get a longer interval, while things that you struggle with get a shorter interval.

Before technology changed the game, spaced repetition was done with flash cards. Let’s use the example of learning words in a new language. You would get a few hundred flash cards and write the foreign word on the front and the English version of the word on the back. Each day you would then review the cards. If you were able to get the answer on a card quickly, that card would be moved to a section that you look at less frequently. If you don’t know the answer, you would move the flashcard to a more frequently looked at section.

This study technique improves knowledge by as much as 50 percent.

This is down to two things:

  1. The repetition and the changing frequency of the repetition – as your brain remembers something better, it is asked to recall it from a longer distance. This further reinforces the memory.
  2. The active nature of the learning – spaced repetition doesn’t simply involve reading information and hoping that you will remember it. Instead it is a type of active learning where you are constantly asked to recall information you have learned. Your ability to recall it determines how soon it will be presented to you again in the future.

Supercharge Your Courses and Lessons

Spaced repetition and micro learning are made for each other. In fact without micro learning, spaced repetition would be almost impossible to implement.

Whilst many LMS’ advertise the capability to do so, we find Ed’s spaced repetition tool one of the most seamless and effective. By factoring in the importance of content (set by you when creating lessons) and the user’s lesson results, Ed determines what content is presented next without you having to lift a finger. With an automated spaced repetition tool, such as Ed’s, you will experience improved retention rates among your users.