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Spacing

Spacing

1.Spacing .

  • Imagine you have to choose between practicing something ten times in a row vs. ten times spaced out (over hours or days).
  • The first feels easier—you will perform better immediately after practice. The second is harder but results in more permanent memory.
  • Yet students avoid spacing, in part, because it feels like it doesn’t work as well as cramming.

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Contextual Interference and Noticing Contrasts

Contextual Interference and Noticing Contrasts

There’s another possible benefit to practice variability.

  • When you mix practice between two similar ideas or concepts, you’re better able to notice the difference between the two.

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Variability

2. Variability .

  • Say you’re learning tennis shots. Should you perfect your forehand swing before moving onto the backhand?
  • Or mix both up at the same time? Intuition argues for mastering one thing before moving onto the next, but research suggests other...

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Testing

3. Testing .

  • Should you re-read or do practice questions?
  • Students overwhelmingly favor re-reading as a learning strategy.
  • However, practice testing is one of the most effective learning methods...

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Desirable Difficulties

Psychologist Robert Bjork addresses this issue by calling for desirable difficulties : actions that appear to work worse in the short-term but work better in the long run. These include:

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What Makes Difficulties Desirable?

What Makes Difficulties Desirable?

The exact mechanisms behind the value of desirable difficulties are still being debated.

  • Bjork argues that the benefits come from the difference between storage strength and retrieval strength in memory.
  • In his theory, what we...

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Math : Difficult

  • Math problems are often taught in a blocked fashion.
  • You learn some problem type and do it repeatedly until you’re good at it.
  • Then, you move onto a different type of problem and repeat the same process.

The issue with this blocked approach is ...

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Hill Climbing : A Trap?

A key strategy for getting better at things is hill-climbing : try different things, keep doing the things that work, stop doing those that don’t.

It likely explains how we get better at many things simply by doing them repeatedly. Where this strategy

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Desirable difficulties ?

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7 Habits to study better

7 Habits to study better

The most successful people in the world are lifelong student.

  1. Active recall. Review what you are studying. Shut the book & write down or say what you remember. Look again. What did you miss?
  2. Spaced repetition. Review the materi...

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