December 13, 2018
Spaced Repetition is one of the most powerful forms of learning. It’s useful in educational and corporate training environments alike. It has ancient roots but has come to the fore in recent times as advancements in delivery have improved usability and effectiveness. As we move into 2019, arguably the best form of delivery is via an app. So what should you look for in a spaced repetition app?
A spaced repetition app is an eLearning app that delivers lessons and courses on a mobile device. It can be a standalone app that only delivers spaced repetition-based lessons or it can be part of a broader training app which uses it with other learning methodologies such as microlearning. It constitutes mobile learning (aka mLearning) meaning that learning takes place on a smartphone or tablet.
Traditional eLearning courses are frequently long, uninspiring and typically see completion rates of barely 20 per cent. Consequently, it is impractical to keep repeating such courses to embed knowledge. Microlearning, however, provides short, easy-to-digest courses which take just minutes to complete. This makes repeating lessons much simpler and boosts retention.
It may sound awkward and complex but it works behind the scenes to make spaced repetition most effective. The SM-2 algorithm dictates which topics are repeated and how frequently they are repeated. It has proven highly effective and ensures that learners aren’t swamped with information that they already know: instead they are questioned about core content that they have struggled with. By dynamically changing the questions to favour the latter, a spaced repetition app can become incredibly effective at embedding knowledge.
Spaced repetition has always been grounded in rote learning whereby information is repeated ad nauseum until a learner can recite it in their sleep. But this is an inefficient system that does not suit all learners. A modern spaced repetition app allows for degrees of interactivity which makes learning more engaging and more effective.
When learning doesn’t feel like learning it becomes dramatically more effective. Gamification makes regular questions interactive, fun and, potentially, competitive. It’s far more effective than passive learning and should be core to any spaced repetition app.
A key issue with creating engaging content is that it can be complex and time consuming to deliver. However, by using ready-made templates, you can easily transform regular questions and answers into interactive lessons just by uploading the content. Check out these microlearning templates to see for yourself.
If you’d like to know more about how a spaced repetition app can help your learners, check out EdApp’s implementation of it – called Brain Boost. If you’d like to know more about how Ed’s mobile-focused LMS and integrated authoring tool can help with training at your company or institution get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also try EdApp’s Mobile LMS for free by signing up here or in the box below.
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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.