• How Spaced Learning Can Supercharge Your Memory


    The load of information that children receive in classrooms will no longer work. All can be easily forgotten. Research has shown that spaced learning is the best and most effective method of knowledge retention. However, scheduling and programming this method could be challenging for the people involved. However, some techniques could always be effective, efficient, and accessible.

    Online learning is one of the best and most practical methods, quickly leading instructors to run scheduled valuable programs.

    What is Spaced Learning:

    It is an approach to improve deep learning to keep and recall knowledge forever or for an extended period. Spaced learning was first presented by Hermann Ebbinghaus (24 January 1850 – 26 February 1909), a German psychologist named "Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve". If there is no effort to retain the information, the curve shows the rate of disappearing of details in the long term.



    The Forgetting Curve, or the Ebbinghaus Curve of Forgetting, is an influential memory model. It shows how learned information slips out of our memories over time – unless we take action to keep it there. (1)


    Based on a survey done by Work-Learning Research, Inc. Publication:

    Repetitions—if well designed—are very effective in supporting learning.

    Spaced repetitions are generally more effective than non-spaced repetitions.

    Both presentations of learning material and retrieval practice opportunities produce benefits when utilized as spaced repetitions.

    Spacing is particularly beneficial if long-term retention is the goal—as in most training situations. Spacing helps minimize forgetting.

    Wider spacings are generally more effective than narrower spacings. However, there may be a point where spacings that are too wide are counterproductive—a good heuristic aims to have the length of the spacing interval equal to the retention interval.

    Spacing repetitions over time can hurt retrieval during learning events while it generates better remembering in the future (after the learning events).

    Gradually expanding the length of spacings can create benefits, but these benefits generally do not outperform consistent spacing intervals.

    One way to utilize spacing is to change the definition of a learning event to include the connotation that learning takes place over time—real learning doesn't usually occur in one-time events. (2)


    How it works:

    First, you learn, and then the knowledge is repeated in certain intervals.


    How it can help:

    You can keep the knowledge for a lifetime and recall it quickly. By spaced learning, you can reduce the rate of forgetting curve effect by providing the first reinforcement session after 24 hours or later, depending on the complexity of the subject.

    You can use the knowledge in your daily activities, such as workshops and online learning sessions, to help you be more productive and capable in your roles.

    As the training is delivered quickly, it avoids fatigue and mental exhaustion and keeps the learners happy with the contents.


    Spaced Learning Technique:

    There are three steps to spaced learning. First, learning happens; second, you recall what you have learned by taking exams or quizzes; and finally, you use that knowledge to solve a problem or complete a related task. You may have a distracting physical activity between these three steps that creates the intervals. The sessions are divided by 10-minute break time. You are busy doing other distracting activities unrelated to the original subject you are trying to learn.

    Based on the complexity of the subject and the time available, it can be repeated for days, weeks, and months.

    Firstly, you must prepare a scheduled program for learners in routine sessions. As mentioned, you need a short-minute learning activity followed by a short break, which can be planned according to learners, content, and learning needs. You may have a 5-minute video training and a 10-minute break between sessions for simple subjects. For more complicated training, you need to spend more time on the subject, then longer breaks, and it needs to be repeated more often.




    Secondly, instead of making the learners stuffed with the entire lessons with countless materials in just one session, let them work on reviewing the concepts gradually at increasing intervals.

    For example, if you want to have a test next week, a one-day spaced time is enough, but if you want to keep the information for a year, a two-month spaced time between each learning session is optimal.

    Thirdly, try to make a relation between old and new topics, which will help the learners to create a pattern of knowledge between the old and further information. Instructors need to design stories and relations between two or more concepts or ideas. It could be a great way to remember and connect old subjects to new ones.

    Fourthly, try to use the knowledge in real-life opportunities. They can always be remembered as being used and practiced constantly. It will keep you motivated for future learning. 

    eLearning courses can be an excellent way to apply learners' knowledge through interactive videos, teamwork tasks, simulations, quizzes, etc.(3)


    Here are some case studies: 

    Language Learning:

    A study by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison found that students who used spaced learning techniques to study vocabulary in a foreign language showed significantly better retention and recall than those who used traditional cramming methods. The spaced learning group could remember and use more words in real-world conversations, demonstrating the practical benefits of this approach to language acquisition.


    Medical Education

    In a medical school setting, a trial conducted at a teaching hospital compared the performance of residents who participated in spaced learning sessions focused on complex medical procedures with those who received traditional lecture-based instruction. The residents who underwent spaced learning demonstrated superior skill retention and could better apply their knowledge in simulated patient scenarios, highlighting the effectiveness of spaced learning in medical education.


    Corporate Training

    A multinational corporation implemented a spaced learning program for employee training on new software systems. By spacing out the training sessions over several weeks and incorporating regular review and reinforcement activities, the company saw a significant increase in employees' proficiency with the software, leading to improved productivity and reduced error rates in day-to-day operations.




    What are the limitations of Spaced Learning:

    1. Time Constraints: Implementing spaced learning requires careful planning and coordination to ensure that the spacing of study sessions aligns with the natural forgetting curve. It can be challenging for educators with limited time and resources to design and implement a well-structured, spaced learning program.


    2. Curriculum Integration: Incorporating spaced learning into an already packed curriculum can be difficult. Educators may need help to balance covering all necessary material and allowing for spaced repetition of key concepts.


    3. Student Motivation and Engagement: Some students may find the spaced learning approach less engaging or need help to see the immediate benefits, mainly if they are accustomed to more traditional studying forms. Maintaining student motivation and buy-in for spaced learning activities can be a challenge.


    4. Resource Allocation: Implementing spaced learning effectively may require investment in technology, training, and additional instructional materials. Not all educational institutions may have the resources to support these needs.


    5. Teacher Training and Support: Educators may require training and support to implement spaced learning strategies effectively. Teachers can integrate spaced learning into their instructional practices with adequate professional development.


    6. Assessment and Evaluation: Traditional assessment methods, such as standardized tests, may need to fully capture the benefits of spaced learning, making it challenging to demonstrate the effectiveness of this approach within existing evaluation frameworks.


    7. Resistance to Change: Introducing a new approach to learning can face resistance from stakeholders, including teachers, administrators, and parents, who may be skeptical of deviating from traditional teaching methods.



    Nowadays, people are too busy and distracted by many problems surrounding them. Keeping knowledge in mind and recalling it is a big concern, as you forget things more efficiently and cannot concentrate enough. Formal education done through classroom sessions with a big load of information provided for a limited few classroom sessions can lead the learners to a disappointment phase. They will lose interest in learning, and there will be no more motivation for further learning. One method could be through learning by "Spaced learning," which happens in short, fruitful sessions and will last longer by keeping intervals in between. It will raise the incentive for education. Online learning is a good solution for "Spaced learning" as it will have more flexibility in adapting the time of your life with the time of your studying, as it can happen whenever you have time and can repeat more often, maybe as long as you need to.


    (1) - Ebbinghaus's Forgetting Curve, By the Mind Tools Content Team. Available here

    (2) - Spacing Learning Events Over Time: What the Research Says, Will Thalheimer, Ph.D. Available here

    (3) - The Spaced Learning Effect: The Key to Knowledge Retention (2024), by Disha Gupta. Available here