Spaced repetition learning: What is it?

If you’ve read much about employee learning of late, you’ll likely have heard about spaced repetition. It’s something of an ‘in thing’ where professional development is concerned, but not without good reason. Indeed, at Wranx, we’re big fans of it!

The basis of spaced repetition is this: if we’re trying to learn something that is perhaps difficult or that we may not be interested in, it’s unlikely that we’ll be able to remember it in one go. We learn such information better if we are exposed to it repeatedly, with the need for exposure reducing over time until the information simply becomes retained knowledge.

You may actually have used a form of spaced repetition previously without realising. Using flashcards for exams uses the same principle of repeated exposure to information, with learners needing to run through cards fewer and fewer times as they commit the information to memory.

Of course, with today’s technology, we can use the technique in a much more sophisticated way. It is well complemented by mobile learning, with notifications alerting users that it’s time to take a lesson delivered via emails or push notifications in a mobile app. Coupling the process with gamification, can also make it more fun and keep individuals engaged with the process, while digital platforms can crunch an individual’s data to show how effectively spaced repetition is helping them to learn.

For businesses, this all means more effective employee learning and better insights into how employees are progressing. Spaced repetition can improve the retention of knowledge for things like induction learning or sales training and can be spread over time instead of having to be done all in one go.

Written by: Persia Shahkarami

Published: 10 Mar, 2017