Spaced Learning

It has long been known that we learn facts better in a series of short chunks with gaps between them, rather than in a long teaching session such as a lecture. Recent research in neuroscience has uncovered the detail of how we produce long-term memories. This has led to a teaching method of spaced repetition that occurs in the following order: (1) a teacher gives information for 20 minutes; (2) students take a break of 10 minutes to participate in an unconnected practical activity such as aerobics or modelling; (3) students are asked to recall key information for 20 minutes, followed by a 10-minute break; and (4) students apply their new knowledge for a final 20 minutes. A study of spaced learning shows a significant increase in learning compared to a typical lesson. The method has been tested successfully in schools, but a larger-scale trial is needed to show whether it can be implemented at scale.

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