Spaced Repetition Revisited
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Let’s talk about our next technique and that is hey we’ve seen this before.
It’s spaced repetition revisited.
That’s because spaced repetition is a proven technique in the sciences to help with learning.
And if we remember spaced repetition was all about repeating and practicing something over and over
not doing everything in one go.
Instead spreading it out over days over months over years.
And by now at this point in the course we should know that over learning is not good.
It’s a poor strategy for somebody who just over learns and spends twelve hours a day focusing on a topic
and getting burnt out.
You’re not being efficient right.
So we learn that repetitive over learning in the same session is not a good idea.
This idea of hammering away at a subject until you get it.
That’s not how it works.
You need to take breaks which is good news for people like myself who value taking breaks who wants
to do something that is enjoyable and learning has to be enjoyable not a painful process.
And this idea of spaced repetition also helps with the idea of not doing the same thing over and over
not using just one technique to learn a subject.
You use spaced repetition with different techniques.
Now we’re going to learn to retain a subject maybe testing yourself one day maybe teaching the topic
to somebody else another day doing different techniques.
Remember we learned that the scientists Barbara Oakley mentioned this idea right.
This idea of the neural patterns in our brain related to that memory and how we have to keep firing
them so that the neurons connected to each other understand that this is a strong memory.
This is a long term memory that we want to hold and space repetition is the only way that you’re going
to create long term memories.
You have to have those neurons fire for more than just one day.
They need to fire over days or weeks over months for example learning to ride a bike at the beginning.
It’s really hard.
You’re not going to learn how to ride a bike in one day but you do it over and over and over each day
getting a little bit better.
Taking breaks in between and then finally one day you get in those neurons have fired so many times
that they now understand how to ride a bike.
And because you’ve used space repetition so much you can take a break for two years three years from
riding a bike and you’ll probably still be able to ride a bike because those neuron connections are
so strong which is actually a good news you don’t have to do space to repetition over and over and over
after a certain point those neuron connections get strong enough that you don’t have to repeat as often
only once in a while.
Now this idea of the spaced repetition it’s called the spacing effect it’s the reason that most self
learners and learning experts recommend that you space your learning because your brain needs time to
process that information as well.
Now when we talk about space repetition we also have to talk about the forgetting curve and if we go
to Wikipedia guess what.
There’s a topic about forgetting curve.
Now I really like this diagram over here because it shows a really interesting aspect of the forgetting
curve the forgetting curve explains why cramming is the worst strategy ever before a test and how it
doesn’t contribute to your long term professional growth.
Now the forgetting curve if we look at the red line over here is what happens.
So after one day you see that our knowledge of what we had the day prior drops a lot.
And then so on and so forth and so on and so forth by the sixth day we’ve almost forgotten what we crammed
during an exam or a test.
But by using spaced repetition which is what these green lines are we actually decrease the slope of
the forgetting curve.
So if we repeat that topic on the second day you see that the drop off is actually smaller and in the
third day we repeat that learning Well again it’s now a slower forgetting curve.
And then by the third day you see that are dropping off of knowledge are forgetting curve is a lot flatter
start to think of your brain in this way in systems and this idea that we lose information so how can
we retain it to be efficient with our brain.
Because at the end of the day lots of practice works but only if it is paced practicing just one day
we’ll make you a professional soccer player now.
By this point we know that this idea of mass repetition relies on our short term memory but it relies
on the short term memory by using recall to recall information and use our long term memory to remember
what we had learned the day prior.
This effort required to recall and retrieve that information after forgetting it a little bit is what
we call in the brain consolidation.
It’s a way for the brain to say hey hey hold on.
This human over here keeps firing these neurons.
So we should probably strengthen it because we’re gonna be asked to remember this a lot and the brain
wants to be efficient.
So it says Okay okay we need this information so I’m going to consolidate and strengthen those neural
Our brains are just trying to be efficient and we give that little hint to the brain saying that hey
this is important and it’s gonna come up throughout our life.
So you better remember it and this is why the Fineman technique works so well.
One of our pillars because we’re using recall to teach somebody information and we use different chunks
of knowledge to connect the dots.
Now in the next lesson I’ll show you one of my favorite ways to enhance recall and it’s by using diagrams
but we’ll get to that shortly.
For now space repetition.
I think I’ve repeated it enough times that you should be confident who space repetition and explaining
get somebody as well as applying it in your own efficient learning practices.
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