Spaced Learning and its Value in Teaching

Eleanor Kennedy Blog

What is Spaced Learning? Spaced Learning is a pretty new learning method. It was first developed in 2008 by Dr Paul Kelley, a neuroscientist who was at the time investigating methods for long-term memory retention. In theory, spaced learning is when you condense learning content and repeat it three times, with two 10-minute breaks during which distractor activities (such as physical activities) are performed by the students. While this methodology is very unique, its ending is a common goal shared by teachers throughout the world – that is for students to retain knowledge long-term. So does Spaced Learning have a place in classrooms and workplaces? That’s something we will explore throughout this article. One thing we do know as educators is that effective long-term learning is rarely achieved by a one-off event, but according to the Association for Talent Development (ATD), designers all too often think about one-off events when building training solutions. This means that it is very likely for students to forget a lesson as soon as it ends. This problem isn’t new. In fact, it was first spotted by Hermann Ebbinghaus in 1885. He discovered that we as people do not only have a learning curve, but a forgetting curve where we lose what we learn if the information is not used regularly. So let’s try an experiment. If I give you a list of nonsense three letter words right now, how long do you think you will remember them? Ebbinghaus did this exact experiment more than …