What Is It?
Spaced instruction is an approach to teaching and review that is based on memory research.
It alternates short learning sessions with breaks, repeated over increasingly longer periods of time (e.g. 1 day, 2 days, 4 days, 8 days, etc).
Each learning session includes some form of review of material from previous sessions in the form of questions or activities.
This spacing effect has been shown to improve retention and retrieval of information.
Why it Works
While there is not a definitive answer to why spacing works, most research points to the fact that the down time between learning sessions requires effort on the part of the learner to retrieve the information, and extending that time increases the challenge.
The belief is that this increased difficulty changes the way the brain encodes the information, planting it deeper into long-term memory.
How it Applies to the New Normal
The remote workplace, where much of workers’ time is spent alone on their computers, is an ideal environment for applying spaced repetition.
Research shows that, based on factors of attention-span and schedule availability, the optimal duration for an online learning session is between 15-30 minutes.
The spaced repetition model provides guidance on how to design and deploy short learning bursts that fit neatly within that window and maximize their learning impact.
Try Something New
The New Normal is driving the necessity to try something new in your training programs.
The research-based methods discussed in this series can give you the confidence that you are not only converting your program to an online learning format, but strengthening its impact on your learners.