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Instant Learning – Spaced Repetition: Remembering Not to Forget

November 30, 2018 Instant Learning

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Our Learning Experience Designers (aka the artist formerly known as 'Instructional Designers') have been instant messaging again. This time it’s Niamh and David talking about spaced repetition (aka spaced learning or spaced practice) – which is the simple microlearning principle that people learn better if they receive small chunks of learning over a longer period of time.

Speak to us today if you would like to discuss how our learning experience designers can help you practically apply microlearning in the workplace – and wherever else employees wish to learn.

 

 


 

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Spaced learning is an absolute gift to our designers who love outer space imagery, but what else do you think it has to recommend it?

11:28
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Well, unlike many 'shiny and new' things that appear on eLearning hot-topics lists, the idea of spaced repetition is at least grounded in learning science.

Also, it is very much not a new concept.

11:30
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How do you mean?

11:32
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Wikipedia tells me that Hermann Ebbinghaus plotted the Forgetting Curve in 1885.

11:36
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Ah, yes, slipped my mind. Clearly I need an app to keep reminding me of the fact.

11:37
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Anyway we've known for a long time that 'one and done' learning doesn't lead to long-term retention of information. Learning needs to be kept active if it's to be remembered.

11:38
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I'm interested in this focus on remembering, though. This is an age of forgetting, since we can access information so easily. Why are we now elevating this principle above all others?

11:38
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Until now and the advent of AI algorithms, the mechanisms haven't been there to automate spaced repetition.

11:39
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But how much of what we need to learn at work has to be stored in long-term memory?

11:41
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The age of having to remember everything related to your job is gone. The critical thing, I think, is to decipher what information needs to be retained long-term and what information we just need to reference. Do people need to do something/act differently after this training (in which case, spaced rep is probably appropriate and necessary). Or is this just something they need to refer to as and when they need it (in which case, don't make them have to read irrelevant information; let them access what they need when they need it, like they do in real life).

11:44
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I do think there's loads of potential in it, but I'm also wary of the mechanicalness of it all. Have you tried any spaced repetition apps? I'm a recent convert to Duolingo.

11:47
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I've dabbled in them, yes. I approve of the principle though have to admit to being a little uncomfortable with the idea of an algorithm determining what and when I should learn.

11:49
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I missed my rendezvous with Duolingo the other night, and then I missed another night, and the guilt is building. Now I'm into the territory of aversion.

11:51
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That's interesting. I hadn't really considered the fear factor.

That will be the next thing they need an algorithm for; determining how many missed sessions will put people off entirely.

11:53
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By the way, it's Spanish I'm learning, and I only used 'rendezvous' there because I don't know the Spanish word for it. Yet.

11:59
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The idea of micro-learning is that it can be squeezed into any snippets of time you've got available and that's great. Time and attention need to be given to workplace transfer too, though. Some topics need that sort of discussion between colleagues... like this sort of thing. Social learning.

12:10
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Whatever makes it feel less mechanical. I think we can assume that the algorithms will grow in sophistication and complexity, just as Google's has done. We've both been looking at microlearning tools that use spaced repetition. Potentially hugely exciting. But yes, you'd want to link it to other sorts of learning experiences or to real-life practice. It's fine to have two minutes of Duolingo a day, but not instead of going to France or Spain.

12:17
 

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