Christopher Gannon/Iowa State University
Does anybody have problem with memorizing new things? Forgetting is natural, but how can we slow it down and let the memory stick? Iowa State Psychology Professor Shana Carpenter says combining two strategies – spacing and retrieval practice – is key to success.
Retrieval practice is a strategy that involves recalling what was learned previously. It can take many forms, including flash cards, practice tests and open-ended writing prompts, and helps learners recognize what they do and don’t know. The paper’s authors emphasize that people who check their responses for errors or get feedback right away learn even better.
In the paper, Carpenter and her co-authors describe spacing as a strategy to learn in small doses over time. It’s the opposite of cram-ming the night before an exam. In one study, medical students who received repeated surgery training over three weeks performed better and faster on tests two weeks and one year later compared to medical students who had the same training all on one day.
If you have trouble memorizing your stories or new hobby, maybe you want to try the spacing and retrieval practice?