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For any educational experience, learning retention is essential. Ensuring that knowledge is remembered over the long term, though, can be difficult. Fortunately, there is a method that has been shown effective by science: spaced repetition. By returning to learnt content at regular intervals, spaced repetition improves the brain’s capacity for information storage and retrieval. In order to maximise retention, spaced repetition should be incorporated into learning designs. This article will examine the theory behind this technique.

The Science of Spaced Repetition

Spaced repetition is based on the spacing effect, which shows that learning improves when study sessions are spread out over time rather than being crammed together. The consolidation of memories in the brain is facilitated by the spacing effect, which has been demonstrated to enhance long-term retention of information. Spaced repetition has been shown to increase recall in a number of contexts, including language acquisition and medical education.

The secret to spaced repetition is to schedule review sessions in accordance with the forgetting curve, which illustrates the rate at which knowledge is lost over time. Learners can strengthen memories and lengthen the amount of time before forgetting by repeating material at the proper intervals. Learners can maximise their retention of the stuff they have learnt in this way.

Making Spaced Repetition a Part of the Learning Design

There are various ways to include spaced repetition into a learning system. Flashcards are a common technique that are reviewed with increasing frequency based on how well they are recalled. Another strategy is to sprinkle review sessions throughout the course at regular intervals to reinforce previously taught material while allowing for forgetting and subsequent refreshment.

Moreover, spaced repetition has become simpler to include into learning designs due to technology. While language learning programs like Duolingo and Babbel use spaced repetition to aid learners in remembering new vocabulary terms, apps like Anki and Memrise use algorithms to identify the best review intervals for flashcards.

The Greatest Ways to Use Spaced Repetition

There are some best practises to adhere to, to increase the efficiency of spaced repetition. First and foremost, it’s crucial to begin reviewing material as soon as it’s taught, while it’s still fresh in memory. Second, learners should review information at regular intervals, extending them over time. Lastly, learners should refrain from cramming or massing sessions together because it can hinder long-term retention. To strengthen memories, learners should employ active recall strategies like self-quizzing.


A powerful method for maximising learning retention is spaced repetition. Learners can strengthen memory and enhance their capacity to retain information over the long term by spacing out review sessions and going over previously taught content at suitable intervals. The effectiveness of educational experiences can be increased, resulting in more effective learning outcomes, by incorporating spaced repetition into the learning design.


Karpicke, J. D., & Roediger III, H. L. (2008). The critical importance of retrieval for learning. Science, 319(5865), 966-968.

Pashler, H., Rohrer, D., Cepeda, N. J., & Carpenter, S. K. (2007). Enhancing learning and retarding forgetting: choices and consequences. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 14(2), 187-193.

Rohrer, D., & Taylor, K. (2006). The effects of overlearning and distributed practice on the retention of mathematics knowledge. Applied Cognitive Psychology: The Official Journal of the Society for Applied Research in Memory and Cognition, 20(9), 1209-1224.

Toppino, T. C., & Bloom, L. C. (2002). The spacing effect in memory: A review of its neurobiological and behavioral moderators.

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