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We forget more easily than we remember

In most traditional situations, learning is delivered in a single session with little or no follow through. As a result, no matter how good the learning experience was, we quickly forget most of it.

By introducing repeated exposure to the learning content experienced in the session, spaced over time, then we see a dramatic improvement in memory recall.

This model of learning design builds in repetition and is increasingly known as Spaced Learning. The name draws on the spacing effect, a well researched cognitive phenomenon.

The research

Retenda allows you to exploit a well researched psychological principle - the spacing effect. Ever since Herman Ebbinghaus conducted his pioneering experiments on memory (summarised in his ground breaking research published in 1885 - Memory. A Contribution to Experimental Psychology), establishing the concepts of both the learning curve and forgetting curve, it has been observed that spacing learning over time positively affects the long term retention of the learning content and therefore its eventual application.

George Miller built on this earlier work in his famous 1956 paper "The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two: Some Limits on Our Capacity for Processing Information" describing the limits of our short term memory to accommodate on average just seven "chunks" of new information at any one time.

Atkinson & Shriffrin (1968) then developed one of the first models of memory that proposed how short term memory and long term memory operate.

Since this time, there has been a growing body of research to support spaced learning practices as a potentially superior model for enhancing learning effectiveness. Indeed, Dempster in 1989 and more recently Cepeda et al in 2008 have demonstrated through their own practical research that traditional learning models are seriously flawed in comparison. To quote Dempster:

"There is considerable evidence, gathered in a variety of settings and across many different types of materials and procedures, that spaced repetitions regardless of whether they are in the form of additional study opportunities or successful tests are a highly effective means of promoting learning...spaced repetitions have considerable potential for improving classroom learning."

Retenda has drawn on these and our own findings to develop a highly flexible and practical web-based application that automates the cycle of exposure to key learning content that delivers the benefits of the spacing effect.

This is just the beginning of a revolution in learning effectiveness. The implications are enormous for the way we conduct education and training in the future. Retenda aims to be the leading service provider and innovator.


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Blog: latest posts

Spaced learning - a better way to remember

More research proving the power of the spaced learning. In a time of economic and social uncertainty, we should be making sure our education and training practices are as potent as possible. The relatively simple integration of spaced exposure and practice will make a big difference at a relatively modest cost.

Government report highlights ineffectual 275m training spend - poor transfer to blame

The National Audit Office (PDF link) has published a report on the government's skills requirements which criticise the heavy waste of investment and lack of data on both the costs and benefits of training and development.

Memory Works Differently in the Age of Google

The rise of Internet search engines like Google has changed the way our brain remembers information, according to research by Columbia University psychologist Betsy Sparrow.