October 17, 2011
Help Your Learners Remember Everything Through Spaced Repetition
I was introduced to the concept of spaced repetition in a 2008 Wired magazine article about Piotr Wozniak, a memory expert. Spaced repetition is a technique where a learner reviews learning content at specific intervals. This learning practice is based on research that indicates that the best time to review information is just when you're about to forget it. Review information too soon and you're wasting your time. Review the information too late and it's like you're learning it for the first time since it has already been forgotten. Spaced repetition is an immensely powerful method to learn anything that needs to be memorized. It's a highly effective way, for example, to learn languages. Consider using this technique for any subject where the learner can't easily access performance support material on the job. The bottom line is that if it needs to be memorized, use spaced repetition. The Absorb LMS has a feature that automates spaced repetition. It's called the Post Enrolment Trigger. The Post Enrollment Trigger is available for any learning event in the Absorb learning management system; whether it be a course, a video, a classroom-based event, a Webinar, etc. This feature provides an automatic way to have content to review presented to a learner at a specific time. In the example illustrated above, a learner will automatically be enrolled into a new learning event—ideally a short review—ten days after completion of a course. The learning event into which the learner is automatically enrolled, can, in turn, have its own Post Enrollment Trigger that enrols the learner into a third learning event 20 days later. (Spaced repetition best practices indicate that the interval between learning events should increase with time.) Spaced repetition is a very powerful learning technique. With the Absorb LMS, you can automate the entire process, helping learners to remember the information they want and need to know.