This is my second blog post about learning strategies in what will be a series of seven. Previously I gave an overview of six effective learning strategies.
Spaced practice or spaced repetition is one of the more powerful, and simple tools to equip students with. Spaced practice involves spreading out your study time in order to more effectively retain the material.
A way to understand spaced practice would be to compare it with healthy eating habits. Eating consistently throughout the day is healthier than eating one large meal during the day. Likewise, studying consistently before a quiz or test is more effective than cramming before a quiz or test.
In order for spaced repetition to be effective, your students must schedule their study times out in advance. As a teacher, one way you can force this to happen would be to give homework several nights a week. The homework does not need to be intensive or particularly difficult to be effective. To make it effective, your homework can lead students to incorporate other learning strategies as well.
One way to accomplish this would be to give students a worksheet with space for key words and definitions, diagrams, and connections. Other than this, the worksheet should be blank in order to encourage students to use retrieval practice and elaboration.
In order for this to be effective, you can require students to fill out the worksheet in two colors. One color for their first attempt that uses only their memory. And then another color for an attempt that uses their notes/book.
You need to model this in order for it to be effective. As I said in an earlier blog post, I am still new to learning strategies and this is what I have thought out so far. I am sure that my deployment of the strategies will change over time.
How do you encourage students to space out their practice?