Spacing EffectOpen Access

Spacing Effect

We remember things better when repeated over time and across environments

We forget quickly, but the greater the number of cognitive associations we develop with an idea, the more likely we’ll remember it forever…

Butler et. al., (2014). Integrating cognitive science and technology improves learning in a STEM classroom. Educational Psychology Review.

The study

Setup

40 students were taught a topic and either given the respective homework once instantly or 3 times over the next 3 weeks. They then had an exam a month later.

Results

Those who had the homework spaced out over time performed much better in the exam than those who were asked to do it immediately  after learning.

Study graph

Key Takeaways

Spread out the learning.

Research shows that spaced repetition is the most robust means of learning but is rarely used by companies. Most knowledge is delivered once and forgotten, wasting money and time. Develop shorter learnings spread over time, using different tools, both digital and physical.

Takeaway image

Use it or lose it.

Knowledge only sticks when we use it. After reading a book chapter, summarize learnings into bullet points, a list of actions, or even better, become the teacher. Blinkist could send some simple interactive questions after readers have finished a book. Use Slack app QuickQuiz to follow up Lunch & Learns with a Tiny Habit of bite-size questions. 

Takeaway image

Make progress trackable.

Learnings apps like Duolingo and Memrise create powerful Feedback Loops through points systems, daily goals and leaderboards to create positive reinforcement. Tracking progress gives us a sense of growth and improvement.

Takeaway image
Takeaway image
Spacing Effect

Spacing Effect

We remember things better when repeated over time and across environments

We forget quickly, but the greater the number of cognitive associations we develop with an idea, the more likely we’ll remember it forever…

The study

Setup

40 students were taught a topic and either given the respective homework once instantly or 3 times over the next 3 weeks. They then had an exam a month later.

Results

Those who had the homework spaced out over time performed much better in the exam than those who were asked to do it immediately  after learning.

study graph
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In detail

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We don’t like uncertainty and generally stick to what we know

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Risk Aversion
We don’t like uncertainty and generally stick to what we know
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