How to Study and Not Forget: Spaced Learning and Its Application in Medical Education

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Atipong Pathanasethpong


Forgetting is a paramount problem for learners and
teachers in health sciences. Studies in the past decades
have shown that spending a lot of time to learn in one
session does not promote long-term retention, and that
learners will quickly forget. On the contrary, one way to
slow down forgetting and improve knowledge retention is
to spend less time for each study session and to wait for
some time to pass before reviewing the same materials.
This is the basis of spaced learning. Numerous studies
have demonstrated spaced learning to be a highly effective
learning technique, and that it is widely applicable to
various age ranges and content domains. This learning
technique can also be adapted in both systematic and
personal ways, for example, by designing instructions as
spiral curricula, and by taking practice tests to identify
strengths and weaknesses of a person and using the info
to craft an efficient learning plan.

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