Make training sticky with spaced repetition

One-time exposure to training content is not enough to make it stick. Learners need repeated exposure over time — spaced repetition — to learn, remember, and be able to apply new knowledge and skills.

Research on humans' short- and long-term memory shows that spaced repetition encourages the creation of connections among related pieces of information and transfer of that information from short-term to long-term memory. This is a critical component of learning and building retention. 

Spaced repetition builds the retention that maximizes training ROI

It’s not enough to show that learners have completed training. The learners have to remember the content and be able to apply it on the job.

If learners don’t retain the knowledge, then they can’t align their behaviors — therefore they won’t improve their performance and the training has no value!

It’s even better to have learners practice recalling information in different scenarios. This type of spaced repetition provides relevant context to learners that they can use to connect information and processes with tasks they do on the job.

What are you waiting for?

Talk to an OttoLearn® Agile Microlearning™ expert about using our spaced repetition platform to extend your learners’ knowledge retention! 

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Transform your training outcomes with spaced repetition and recall practice

Spaced repetition and recall practice are proven methods to build long-term training retention. And microlearning is an ideal delivery strategy.

With short lessons, focused content, and on-demand access, a continuous microlearning program naturally offers the spaced repetition learners need.
An adaptive microlearning platform delivers training content that is targeted to each learner’s knowledge gaps. It calculates the correct interval for spaced repetition to ensure knowledge retention.
The best microlearning platforms also provide performance support. Offering searchable, on-demand access to training content empowers learners to engage in their own spaced repetition practice — while solving problems and finding answers to questions without disrupting their workflow.

Spaced repetition works for learners 

Long text passages and comprehensive eLearning courses might seem efficient. But they can overload or fail to engage learners.

Delivering a fire hose of information all at once — and only a single time — makes it difficult for learners to absorb and retain the content.

Spaced repetition of small, digestible snippets of content is easier for learners to grasp — and remember.

Your microlearning platform can repeat the content as often as a learner needs — or make content available on demand.

Deliver training content in bite-sized nuggets. Use spaced repetition to expose learners to content over and over again, in different ways. Use activities, questions, and scenarios to add context that enhances knowledge retention.

Executives love how spaced repetition boosts KPIs

Learners are exposed to essential information, multiple times, so they will retain it longer.

Key concepts are presented in different ways, to help learners build connections among related ideas.

Learners repeatedly engage with the most essential content, retaining and applying it — with better results.

Your microlearning platform can calculate the ideal spacing interval and deliver timely repetitions of content.

Presenting information in multiple ways while also using spaced repetition improves learners’ understanding and ability to use the information on the job.

1 hour

Learners forget up to ½ of what they learn within one hour. Spaced repetition improves knowledge retention.

3 factors

3 factors influence learners’ ability to remember information:

1
Number of exposures
2
Length of time during which spaced repetition occurs
3
Amount of time since last repetition

Where spaced repetition excels in training

Customer service and sales
Front-line employees need to remember the features of dozens of products. Using spaced repetition to teach and drill your sales professionals or customer-facing staff builds retention and makes them more effective.They’ll confidently and accurately promote your products and services to customers — boosting your bottom line.
Compliance training
One-time or annual exposure does not ensure mastery. Rather than checking the box that workers did their compliance training, ensure that your compliance training is effective. Spaced repetition builds mastery and helps workers remember and apply what they’ve learned on the job.
Professional certifications
Obtaining professional credentials tells people you know your stuff. The best way to ensure that’s actually true is to learn it and build long-term retention with spaced repetition. Lock key information into long-term memory for peak performance.
Onboarding
New hires have a lot to learn! A fire hose of information makes it hard to sort out — and remember — the important information. Spaced repetition makes retaining and recalling key facts and processes easier.
Safety
On the manufacturing floor — or in your COVID-era shop or restaurant — remembering safety protocols is vital. Spaced repetition, as part of a continuous learning strategy — keeps worker and customers safe.
Students
Cramming for an exam pretty much guarantees forgetting everything right after the test. Whether studying for a midterm or final exam, students at all levels will remember more if they use spaced repetition, reviewing material in small chunks throughout the term.

We all learn differently and I struggle with most LMS systems because they want you to memorize and regurgitate. My brain doesn’t work that way! Finally a way to learn that helps you retain the material with the added bonus of being fun to use! Employee engagement at its finest.

Kimberly G.
Paychex

Spaced repetition of training content is effective

Spaced repetition of learning content, with breaks, has proven to be highly effective. It helps learners build long-term retention by enabling them to connect pieces of information together and put them into a work-relevant context.

Approaches that work include:

Using spaced repetition to provide retrieval practice, with breaks between sessions
Offering activities that ask learners to recall and use information in different ways
Using simulations and examples to provide work-related context for the information
Challenging learners with spaced repetition that asks them to apply information to a variety of realistic scenarios

The cognitive science behind spaced repetition

The human brain is built to forget most of what it learns. That’s because we encounter so much information every minute of every day — sensory impressions, facts, explanations, processes …  

When we encounter new information, the brain puts it into short-term memory. The brain needs a way to decide what is worth remembering and what it can let go.

Spaced repetition and interleaving related information signals the brain: This is important. Remember it.

The brain builds connections between the related bits of information — and stores them in long-term memory. This means that the information has been encoded. But that’s only half the battle!

Spaced repetition with activities, questions, and scenarios asks learners to retrieve or recall the encoded information and apply it to a work-related task or scenario.

As information becomes more firmly entrenched in the long-term memory, the time interval between repetitions can become longer.

Microlearning and spaced repetition are made for each other

A continuous microlearning platform is the ideal delivery medium for spaced repetition. It offers several advantages:

Short, focused content, along with learner control over when and where to train, makes it more likely that learners will complete the training sessions.
Algorithms calculate the optimal interval for spaced repetition delivery of content building knowledge retention.
The platform can interleave content, creating connections in learners’ brains that help them master all of the content.
Microlearning can use spaced repetition to deliver short activities that ask learners to recall and apply information in different ways.
Frequent spaced repetition of relevant microlearning develops a “learning habit” that continues as you introduce additional training content.

Use spaced repetition for training reinforcement and performance support

An adaptive microlearning platform like OttoLearn can provide spaced repetition of content for both training and performance support. Introduce and reinforce new material, refresh content covered in comprehensive training, or provide on-demand access to information employees need on the job.

Adaptive microlearning works for spaced repetition because it:

Reminds learners to engage at regular intervals
Offers mobile-first, on-demand access to content
Delivers targeted content to individual learners, eliminating their knowledge gaps
Calculates the ideal interval for spaced repetition of content on each topic and concept

OttoLearn gets spaced repetition just right!

Boost your training results with the spaced repetition platform that gets it right: OttoLearn!

“Drip” delivery times the spaced repetition intervals just right for long-term retention.
Mobile lock screen showing the OttoLearn Mastery Moment notification, letting the learner know it's a good time to break for a quick session.
OttoLearn screen showing how many gaps in mastery the learner has, as well as indicating how the learner can improve and close the gaps.
OttoLearn's My Stats page, showing graphs depicting Mastery progress, total Activities completed in the last 30 days, and proficiency over the last 30 days.
OttoLearn screen showing the "You're making progress!" popup, detailing the learner's progress percentage towards mastery, as well as descriptions of what each icon means.
Adaptive algorithms target content to wipe out knowledge gaps.
Mobile-first design, gamification, and digital media content encourage learners to engage more often — voluntarily.
Otto exercises content from multiple perspectives and asks learners to apply knowledge in different ways, building mastery and solidifying retention.
Microlearning is ideal for time-crunched workers, dispersed teams, remote workers — and appeals to workers of all ages.
Flexibility and personalization allow learners to make choices about when, where, and how they learn — which means they are more engaged.

More questions?
Ready to get started?

Find out how spaced repetition with OttoLearn® Agile Microlearning™ can accelerate your learners’ progress. Contact an expert today!

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Learn more about spaced repetition

Ready to dig in deeper?

OttoLearn adaptive microlearning platform applies spaced repetition, along with several other proven cognitive science principles, to advancing adult learning. 

What Is Spaced Repetition in Learning?

Our explainer piece on spaced repetition summarizes some of the research on how people learn and remember new information and skills.

The Cognitive Science Behind OttoLearn

OttoLearn Agile Microlearning is firmly based in cognitive science principles. Learn what these are — and why they work.

Microlearning in Action

Download our Microlearning Success Stories and discover how clients are solving their greatest training challenges with OttoLearn Agile Microlearning.