Spaced learning


In an hour you can learn 30+ new pieces of information - words, dates etc. Facts.

This is a good one for the sceptics and the sneerers to jump on - from both sides of the edu-divide...

The progressivists may dislike my pouring facts into children.

The traditionalists will deride yet another new technique to make learning easier - another Brain Gym?! 

Well, I have been trying this out and really like it.

Spaced Learning is a relative newcomer to the education world, although it does appear to be grounded in research that goes back a good number of years. It links to the idea of spaced repetition which Ebbinghaus explained over a century ago.

The process and some case studies are presented here, in a document produced by the Innovation Unit. 

Basically, the important part is the spaces between the input sessions - I have been working in one hour lessons using the following structure:

10 mins - Blitz through 75 words in French - saying the French and then the English.

10 min break - using an A4 piece of paper, make an animal.

12 mins - work through the list of words again, going a little slower and offering hooks to remember words (e.g. "trop" = too much, St.Tropez is just too much)

10 min break - yoga simple standing positions, breathing exercises and relaxation

10 mins - show French words and get the class to say the English words together.

And that's it...

I have found it very useful for revising, for introducing a new topic or to finish a topic.

My next project is to combine it with spaced repetition to make a super-duper way of learning lots of stuff really easily.

Watch this space!

Author Profile

Rory Gallagher

Rory Gallagher

Teacher of French and Japanese. Deputy ITEC and CPD

31 stories


Jules Daulby Jules Daulby @jules 2 years ago
I'm a progressive and a like :-) good for SEN too - over learning and repetition - wi be interested in retaining and retrieval Rory?
Jennifer Hart Jennifer Hart @jenniferhart 2 years ago
Oh! I've tried something like this too with chemistry revision a couple of years ago. It worked really well... You've inspired me to give it another whirl. Thanks.
Dave Stacey Dave Stacey @davestacey 2 years ago
Did this with some lessons introducing key concepts with Yr 12 History class and it worked well. One of the key things for me was having that mini lecture at the start made me think really hard to make sure I was focussing on the key points and explaining them as clearly as possible.
I also linked each slide to a key image which we used in later parts of the lesson, and future lessons for revision - something that worked so well I really should have done more of it.
Abigail Mann Abigail Mann @abster 2 years ago
I'm definitely going to try this with my law class. Tons of facts to remember. Thanks for sharing
Stephen Joel Stephen Joel @stephenj 2 years ago
Had some discussions over on twitter regarding the new Linear A level specs. This seems a good way of delivering the spec so students are best prepared for exams at the end of the 2nd year.
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