When we learn in classrooms, there is a built in sequence of events that helps us go from initially learning a topic to full mastery. Our mastery of each topic is reinforced multiple times: after learning about the topic, we do homework involving it, take a quiz the next day, then prepare for said topic to appear in the final exam.
After all of these check-ins, we should have effectively retained all the concepts we’ve learned.
What is spaced repetition?
Spaced repetition visual from Achievable
Spaced repetition works the same way—in fact, it is defined by Behzad Tabibian et al. (2019) as “a technique for efficient memorization which uses repeated review of content following a schedule determined by a spaced repetition algorithm to improve long-term retention.” In a spaced repetition system (SRS), you are continuously quizzed until you gain mastery of the topic over time.
But where it gets more interesting is having the ability to optimize when you study. Further research has proven that studying something right as you’re on the edge of forgetting it actually helps it stick in your memory more when you do recall that item.