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How to Use Spatial Retrieval Practice to Boost Learning

What is spaced practice?

It involves studying for an amount of time arranged in multiple sessions spread over time. A.K.A the opposite of cramming.

☑️Why does it work?

When information is quickly acquired, it is quickly forgotten, what we call "illusion of knowing". This is more effective for long term memory.

It enhances understanding, not just memorization.

☑️How to implement spaced practice?

- Break up lessons into smaller sessions

Have a study schedule planned beforehand to break up your topics into different sessions. Ex. Instead of studying 6h for an exam in one day. Study 2h in 3 separate days with a day in between. You basically study the same amount of time but with more effectiveness.

*When you study try to recall information don’t just read it again.

- Include cumulative retrieval practice

Once you start spreading out your topics make sure to review concepts learned earlier before moving on to the next one. You can use flashcards, quizzes, review questions, or other techniques to quickly review the previous knowledge learned.


☑️Potential challenges with implementing spaced practice.

At first it may feel slow and ineffective.

When students retrieve information after time has passed, they will notice that they have forgotten some or most of it. This can be discouraging, however, information that once was learned can be re-learned with less effort. This boosts your mind to retrieve information and to see what needs to be re-learned and what is already learned.

Although you do need to invest some time in planning your studying ahead, it will save you a lot of time later on. This technique allows you to be flexible, you can spread the information out in different days and hours.

☑️How much spacing is enough?

Research shows that any spacing is better than no spacing, exactly how much time should occur between each session is not critical.

Most strive to space information across multiple days. Ex. You can complete 2 lessons with one day in between or with five days in between.



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