March 7, 2019
Whether in primary school, studying at university, or in a professional working environment, we’ve all undoubtedly experienced the need to absorb information in a short period of time. Repetition and reflection are the two most effective forms of memory, which is why it’s common to forget the details of that book you just read or the name of an acquaintance you just met.
It’s proven that the human brain doesn’t retain information unless it is reinforced by reflection or practice. Hermann Ebbinghaus’ forgetting curve supports this notion based on a mathematical formula that suggests learning information deteriorates over time, and the steepest fall of memory happens during the first 24 hours after learning something new. This study also notes that the drastic drop in remembering can be opposed if the information is repeated at predetermined intervals.
In our modern world of short attention spans and incredibly high turnover of new information, how do you implement theory into action? Enter, spaced repetition and Brain Boost, a learning method hosted on the EdApp platform and ready to incorporate with your learning material.
Spaced repetition, also known as distributed practice, is a highly effective method of learning. To combat the steep ‘forgetting curve’, lessons are retaken at increasing intervals until knowledge is fully embedded in long-term memory. The more frequently a lesson is retaken, the better the knowledge retention is and the less frequently the repeated learning needs to occur.
This repetition of information is a fine balance, where revision too frequent is just as ineffective as when revision that is too sparse. To combat this, a scientifically-based spaced repetition schedule should be followed, ensuring learners have the best chance to learn and absorb the material at hand.
With many eLearning courses being long and tedious with completion rates struggling to surpass 20 per cent, it’s downright impractical to expect learners to retake the course many times over. However, with microlearning courses only taking minutes to complete, the potential for simply retaking one (which typically gives an instant completion rate boost to around 90 per cent) means spaced repetition becomes instantly accessible.
To take this notion further, EdApp’s Brain Boost spaced repetition app feature has improved and automated spaced repetition right from within the learning platform. Rather than simply repeating the same course, Brain Boost spaced repetition app uses an adaptive, dynamic algorithm that’s based upon SM-2. This asks different questions to establish what a learner remembers and what they don’t. The more they get right, the less frequently they’ll need to be tested. However, if questioning shows that a learner is struggling with the retention of some topics more than others, they will be asked more frequently about those topics than ones they are comfortable with.
Sean Kang’s paper delves more into the science of spaced repletion learning, but the following quote is illustrative, “Hundreds of studies in cognitive and educational psychology have demonstrated that spacing out repeated encounters with the material over time produces superior long-term learning, compared with repetitions that are massed together. Also, incorporating tests into spaced practice amplifies the benefits.”
Brain Boost spaced repetition app automatically creates interactive lessons based upon core, previously-learned content. Any course material that a learner has not completed successfully is repeated more frequently to encourage retention until it is locked into long-term memory. It glosses over content areas where the learner has already demonstrated retention in order to enhance learning efficiency and avoid distracting the user with content they already know. It uses the highly-regarded Supermemo SM-2 interval algorithm.
Due to the nature of spaced repetition and its strategic approach to the delivery (and re-delivery) of information, this methodology is made for mobile-based microlearning. Unlike traditional eLearning courses, microlearning breaks down information into topical, bite-sized chunks. By interacting with these highly-targeted learning bursts, lessons are much easier to digest, as a result. Microlearning paired with spaced repetition
Spaced repetition fits perfectly with EdApp’s microlearning format, as any concepts that learners find difficult can be easily repeated or revised at a later date. This further sets EdApp apart from traditional eLearning courses which are long, unengaging and typically see completion rates drop below 20 per cent. EdApp’s interactive, gamified and template-optimised courses are much more engaging and effective plus much quicker to produce and complete. Without microlearning, spaced repetition would be almost impossible to implement as courses are too long.
A blended learning journey with EdApp
Brain Boost works behind the scenes to know when to reiterate your content. It scans how users are doing within lessons, as well as factoring in the weighted importance of your content to decide what comes next. Your learners will automatically receive the optimal learning tailored to their individual needs, so you don’t have to worry about the details. To learn more about our Brain Boost spaced repetition implementation, check out our blog post, here.
Ultimately, spaced repetition learning, when used with mobile learning, repeatedly transfers knowledge in an interactive and engaging way until it is embedded and permanent. You can also try one of our courses on our content library to see how interactive microlearning can be. Check out our popular course on dealing with office politics here https://www.edapp.com/course/dealing-with-office-politics.
Daniel Brown is a senior technical editor and writer that has worked in the education and technology sectors for two decades. Their background experience includes curriculum development and course book creation.