Distributed Practice | Enhance Your Memory

Distributed Practice Enhance Your Memory

Distributed practice is one of the easiest and most popular techniques used to enhance the memory of human brain. This particular practice is well known because of the positive results it has shown in the research and because it is one of the easiest methods. There are other techniques which claim to make learning easier for the human brain but amongst all of these, spaced practice is the most effective and easiest method in the view. It doesnt require any additional equipment or any special skills, all it needs is spaced sessions of learning the subject. The technique was studied in depth in past few decades and the method has been developed to attain the best out of the technique, making the process even more effective. Science has focused on distributed practice to make learning and remembering anything new, easier for the brain. The spaced practice has gained a lot of fame and is being adopted by many institutions around the world.

Distributed practice, spaced practice and spaced repetition are all the names of one single method of learning which claims that if the sessions of learning something are distributed in a pattern over a certain time period, then a human brain can remember much more of that data than that from a single long sitting. A single sitting is a traditional and popularly opted way of learning something. But psychologists believe that this way is not very effective when it comes to learning something for a long time. Single stressful sessions wont help retain any of the knowledge in the long-term memory of your brain. On the other hand, distributed sessions and practice does exactly the opposite. When it comes to distributed practice, one must divide the sessions of learning and be reactive over a span of time. The gradual and continuous exposure to the same information helps to commit it to the long-term memory of a person and help improve the skill set as well. This is why distributed practices are the new hype of this age. While traditional methods are still very popular amongst people due to the fact that they are less time consuming and easier to maintain, the awareness of the distributed practice and its various benefits is spreading around the world as well. Students are searching for the methods that would decrease their stress and applying distributed practice to do so.

The process is time-consuming and requires full dedication. If a person is not fully dedicated to the method and doesnt follow up with the required sessions then the outcome will be unsuccessful. This is the reason why not many people can apply distributed practice to their subject matters. It requires various short sessions within a day and to continue them for sometimes even 4 weeks. This process can get hectic. But if you have something that you need to commit to your memory for a long duration, something that would come in handy if you remembered it the distributed practice is the way to go.

This practice has various theories and practical applications all around. The subject has been studied by many researchers and psychologists and various books have been written explaining how this process enables human brain to remember more and the pathways between information are clearer and it is easy to recall the information whenever needed.

The origins of this theory go back to a German psychologist who studied this agenda in depth and wrote a detailed book about it. This book was the first ever solid mention of distributed practice and since then the practice has only moved forward. There have been many advancements and revelations in the field over the years making the practice more effective. Usage of this practice has shown significant results, especially when compared to the old-school, traditional way of learning used by people across the globe. Which is why many institutions are lining up to apply this practice to better teaching process and better results from students without stressing them out.

Distributed Practice is an essential studying technique that has helped many students to increase their learning abilities and has helped students improve their grade and make it a lot better. When distributed practice is combined with a positive attitude and discipline in studying schedules, it does wonders to the students both in terms of learning as well as improvement of grades.

Distributed practice includes many theories and philosophies which help in making it more effective when applied in real life situations. Such theories are an integral part of the whole process and without them, it would be impossible to make distributed practice work. These theories are the basis of working when it comes to spaced practice. Which is why knowledge of these theories are essential for anyone who is learning about distributed practice.

Distributed practice has helped so many students by helping them get over the fear of examination. Some students are very scared of exams and most of the times they go through this due to failure. Learning and remembering information using the studying technique of distributed learning has helped students with their anxiety and stress issues. There are so many students who go through so many illnesses that are caused by the pressure of the societies, schools, teachers and parents. Distributed practice just helps in easing the process of studying and makes it simpler for the students to follow.

There are so many courses that students need to take in one semester. This means that a balanced study schedule needs to be created so that the students can maintain and improve their grades. It must be understood that many students who did well in their school are also unable to score well in their college and university due to increase in difficulty level in the courses. For so many school students studying is one of the most difficult things to do and it creates a lot of pressure on the minds of the students.

Distributed practice is essentially needed by all the students to make sure that they understand, learn and remember the best of the knowledge gained in their school and university years.

Students who follow distributed practice throughout their lives are usually more disciplined, motivated and are able to adapt to new things quickly. They are determined and are very eager to fulfill their ambitions. Distributed practice helps in bringing logic and reason to the minds of people and are able to make essential and informed decisions.

  1. Introduction to Distributed Practice

A method where the sessions of the practice of a subject matter are distributed over the time to achieve a tighter and longer grip on the subject matter.

Distributed practice is a technique developed by experts which suggests that if revision or practice of a subject is distributed evenly through the time then the process of mastering skills or learning the information becomes easier as well as more efficient than the old school way which people generally use in their day to day lives.

Distributed practice is also known as spaced practice. It focuses on spacing the sessions of learning over the time in order to distribute the stress and workload. Which makes it easier for people to learn and it also achieves better results than that of continuous and stressful training and sessions.

It is proven by researchers that a kid is more likely to remember the information if he/she has learned it over time rather than learning all of it in one or two stressful and long sitting. A method is a scientific approach towards the process of learning. By studying the human mind and the way it works, it can easily be determined that under stressful conditions or under circumstances where the brain feels overloaded, it tends to work less efficiently and it retains less of the information that inserts the brain. Which is exactly why students are advised to divide the study load and revision sessions when it comes to exams. This is because the non-stop sessions of studying retain substantially less amount of information in the human brain.

The phenomenon has been tried and tested all over the world. And, it has not disappointed the mankind. The technique has shown many astounding results over the time when applied to different subject matters in different parts of the world. Distributed practice can change the way our brain holds information and turn the short-term memory into long-term memory through the distributed sessions. This is what makes the technique so special. It can alter the map of the human brain and help people remember more than average and perform way better than that they would with long sessions and practice. For better memory, this practice is used by many people. The authorities have become more aware of this way of learning things and they have promoted this technique all over the world. The initiatives to spread information about this agenda to the young generation has also been taken, to make sure that they learn faster, better and they keep that information in their minds for a long duration.

Though it has gained a lot of popularity in last few decades, the distributed practice is not a new discovery. It has been in the view of humanity for a long time. Various methods have been tested and their results compared to the traditional methods used by the people. And over the time, these techniques were perfected and made more effective.

The origin of distributed practice can be traced back to Germany. A German Psychologist named Hermann Ebbinghaus was the first one to mention the concept of distributed practice and discussed it in detail in his book Memory: A contribution to experimental psychology, which was entirely focused on the functioning and effects of distributed practice. He was the first person in the history to acknowledge the distributed practice and study it in depth. His book discussed various aspects of spaced practice. The book also had facts and researches to support everything that he claimed in it, he used himself as a subject to test out theories and recorded the result in order to determine the effects of various sectors related to this technique. This psychologist and his book are considered as a major stepping stone in the field of distributed practice studies since this is where the history of this technique was born.

The distributed practice works hand in hand with human psychology to draw more effective results in human. This is the secret behind the success of the distributed practice. It induces the human psychological functions in a way that benefits the memory of humans.

The three most important of these functions are:

  • Procedural learning
  • Priming
  • Expanding rehearsal

These three are the functions which help human mind retain information and distributed practice works with them in a way through which maximum results can be drawn.

Procedural Learning:

If a human is trying to learn a complicated activity, they need to perform that activity over and over again to make different senses and body parts work together. They need to repeat the same activity again and again to achieve competency. With distributed practice, the repetition of such an activity is distributed over a span of time for better and faster learning.

Priming:

When human brain is exposed to a new information for the first time, it tends to remember that information for a long time and if the duration of first exposure is expanded then the information will be stored for an even longer duration and the comprehension of that information will become easier as well. These are called the priming effects. This is another psychological function which works more efficiently with the help of distributed practice.

Expanding Rehearsal:

The subject matter must be revised after a certain time to freshen up the memory and commit to it for once and for all. Which is what expanding rehearsal means. Distributed practice help determine the duration in which the subject matter must be repeated to the recipient to commit it to long-term memory. Distributed practice helps in making this function more active and designs a map for things to be revised over a particular span of time for maximum success.

Distributed practice requires the full commitment of the recipient. The person applying this methodology to his/her learning process must be fully dedicated towards the rules of the method and also toward learning the subject.

The application of distributed practice is highly recommended by scientists and psychologists. It is suggested to use this method in every scenario possible because it unburdens people and the things you learn through spaced sessions stay with you for a long duration. Which is why it is recommended to replace the massive sessions of learning something with distributed practice in every scenario possible. Especially when it comes to students, it is advised to use this technique to lessen their burden because it is evident that students in this century have a lot of burden on their shoulders and instead of cramming if some advanced techniques are used, it would benefit students greatly.

Distributed practice is the solution to the forgetting habit that has been going around. Students nowadays save all their studies for the night before the examination and then a cramming session begins for preparations. This cramming session is not at all effective. The information gathered through this session would not last more than 24 hours. Which means that students lose a major part of what they have learned within 24 hours of the exam and rest they lose in a while. This is exactly why spaced practice is much needed in todays time. The information that students learn in college or school is vital for survival in the world and they should remember their studies which could help them further in the future or in their line of work.

It is seen that many schools and colleges all over the world are taking a keen interest in distributed practice and its working. They have been gathering information about it and many of them have also taken an initiative to apply it to the teaching process in their institutions. Some of them are also spreading this awareness to the students and teaching them how to apply spaced practice into their own study sessions. The results from all around the world have been positively astonishing. The practice seems to be getting popularity day by day and it very well deserves the fame if results are concerned.

This is the stepping stone towards a brand new era where learning becomes easier and permanent.

This method has been developed over the years after various research tools as well as experiments. This wonderful studying technique understands the objective of a student as well as their mind. Education researchers have taken years to create as well as improve the study technique of distributed practice so that students can be benefitted from it at the most. Learning for a lot of students can get very difficult. However, constant efforts and breaking courses into smaller portions helps in achieving a level of knowledge that stays in the minds of students for a very long period of time. To make this study technique of distributed practice effective for every type of student, this technique follows many principles and theories. These principles and theories form the basis of this study technique of distributed practice. These keep in mind the struggles, needs and wants of a student and make sure that they all these are solved when they use the technique of distributed practice. Distributed practice is developed over the years by various psychologists, teachers and education researchers by using various means of philosophies and theories to perfect the studying technique of distributed practice. Many scientific theories were included to understand distributed practice

  1. Philosophies of Distributed Practice

Distributed practice includes many theories and philosophies which help make it more effective when applied in real life situations. Such theories are an integral part of the whole process and without them, it would be impossible to make distributed practice work. These theories are the basis of working when it comes to spaced practice. Which is why knowledge of these theories are essential for anyone who is learning about distributed practice.

There are 5 major theories that must be studied for proper working knowledge of the distributed practice. All of these theories are essential and have a severe effect on the process. Theories which need to be studied are as follows:

  • Semantic study and priming
  • Insinuation with nonsense stimuli
  • Study phase retrieval
  • Encoding variability
  • Free recall and cued memory tasks

Free recall and cued memory tasks:

Free recall means remembering an information with help of context. It means that an important piece of information is linked to memory or context. Human brain links information with some incident or context to help remember that information. If the same information is repeated again and again over a span of time, the brain will remember the context as well as add other contexts to the same information which will make it easier to remember that information. Through this technique, it becomes really easy and fast to remember a piece of knowledge. So whenever the context is brought up, the information will come back to you automatically without any special efforts or struggle. Sometimes tasks are invented which can be linked to the information for faster and better learning. Many activities are performed while learning something so that when you need to use that information you can recall performing a certain activity and associate the information with it. This technique is also called cued-memory tasks. Through this, a person can easily recall any piece of information without putting too much pressure on his/her mind. With this theory, a large amount of information can be retained for a long duration without confusing it with each other. When some piece of knowledge is associated with a context, a solid link is formed. Which means the probability of remembering such information is way higher than that of information which wasnt linked to any context. And the chances of confusing such information also decreases since the link provides a specific pathway to information in the human brain.

Semantic study and priming:

Semantic analysis means relating to language and logic. Through spaced practice, it can be enhanced by using it more under recall tasks. When the semantic analysis is included, the results are improved by a large margin which is why it is included when it comes to free recall or tasks performed in spaced practice to improve the outcome. The study and priming increase the exposure and make sure that the free recall process is exhausted to its maximum limits to make the whole process better for the recipient. It is a major and essential part of the method and it cannot be left out without failing the whole process. The semantics play an important part and keeps all the aspects together for a better outcome of the practice for the recipient.

Insinuations with nonsense stimuli:

A portion of information cannot be comprehended through semantic and priming analysis. This gives birth to the need of an alternate theory which can cover the rest of information. The simple and not so meaningful tasks which are linked with the information that cannot be included in the semantic analysis. This theory solves a lot of problems and covers a huge area which is left behind by the semantic analysis.

Encoding variability:

Bird, Nicholas, and ringer, tested the theory of encoding variability linking it with the distributed and spaced practice sessions. The theory was tried and tested in many events and the results were quite different from what was expected, the encoding variability was not found to be important to the other factors in general.

Study phase retrieval:

This one is new to the field and gaining a lot of popularity already. A continuous and long session would not help retrieve the earlier exposure to the information. This means that whenever you space your exposure to the information, each new one will remind you the earlier exposures you have had. And when you study or learn that information in one sitting, such phenomenon is not possible since the first session would still be active. These continuous and spaced learning methods help remember the earlier encounters with the information, making links and paths between the same information and making the grip stronger. This helps you remember better without any extra efforts or struggle. It also decreases the stress and chances of forgetting or confusing information with one another.

  1. Effectiveness of Distributed Practice

Distributed Practice is an essential studying technique that has helped many students cope up with their learning abilities and has helped students improve their grade a lot better. When distributed practice is combined with a positive attitude and discipline in studying schedules, it does wonders to the students, both in terms of learning as well as improvement of grades. There are many benefits to students who incorporate the technique of distributed practice in their regular studying regime.

  • Improves learning

It is a known a fact that a student can easily learn difficult facts and figures if the information is provided to them over a small period of time. If all the important information has to be learned all together, there are very high chances that a student will not remember anything at the time of an exam. The easiest and most effective way to make sure that all the important and necessary pieces of information are learned one by one after small duration gaps which means by following the distributed practice studying technique to ensure that students can learn more pieces of information.

  • Sharpens the memory

Most students study a lot during their exams and end up not remembering the majority of the learned text during the exam. This is not the students fault because every student has a different memory level. With the help of distributed practice, a student can reduce learning a lot of information at one point in time which means that they can memorize and remember more at once. Learning another set of important information after some time can help in retaining all the important questions and also remember the important pieces of information during the exam.

  • Distributed Practice works on all types of students.

Not all students have the same level of learning abilities and memory. When the studying technique of distributed practice is taken into consideration on a regular basis in the studying regime of a student, the learning ability and memory of the students is scientifically proven to increase. Following the distributed practice has improved the grades of so many students who were unable to remember and recall facts and figures and other important bit and pieces of information during an exam.

  • Technology makes Distributed Practice even more effective.

Distributed technology is used often by students as well as teachers when they are learning and preparing for a particular topic. It becomes very easy to learn information when it is spread over a smaller session. It is highly likely that the students will remember all these important bits and pieces of information if learned via the method of distributed practice. However, most teachers and students tend to forget to revise those topics time and again and hence do not remember all the information at the end of the semester. If regular practice tests are sent to the students related to old topics time and again then the distributed practice becomes even more effective.

  • Say no to cramming

Cramming is one of the worst techniques used by some students that does not benefit or increase the knowledge of students in any which way whatsoever. Many students might be able to achieve good grades through the method of cramming but it is in no sense a part of good education. There are so many students who are unable to cram all the information which in a way is a very good thing. Following the studying techniques of distributed practice, students get to learn and understand all the concepts and information which makes them remember those important bits and pieces of information in a better way. This can help the students in letting go of cramming so many things at once.

  • Relaxes the brain

The brain is a wonderful organ in our body that is working all day long. Making it learn all the important things at once or cramming the information can cause a lot of pressure on the brain of students. This is because students have to prepare for so many different types of subjects which increases a lot of pressure on the brain and reduces the memory and learning capacity of the brain. The brain needs to be relaxed if a student wants to grasp the largest amount of information. This means that distributed learning keeps the mind active and gives it a small relaxing break so that it can learn better and memorize the most.

  • Makes heavy learning easier

There are certain important subjects that have a lot of theoretical subjects. This means that most of the students are unable to remember all the heavy information all at once. This is when distributed learning comes to play. Heavy pieces of learning can be spread across in different learning and studying hours so that they can be memorized size by size to make sure that they are stored in the memory and can be recalled even if it is huge and difficult.

  • Increases concentration powers

To make sure that students learn to the best of their capabilities and are able to memorize all of it, the most important tool is the concentration power of the brain. If the brain is unable to concentrate, no source of information will get into the brain of the students. This is where we understand that learning in small study sessions and spreading it across different time slots can help in grasping a lot of information and this can only be achieved with good concentration powers. When the brain is instilled with small bits and a piece of information at one time or the other, it starts learning information quickly. This is due to the great concentration powers received by using and incorporating the studying technique of distributed practice in the everyday studying regime of the students and even with the help of students.

  1. How to make Distributed Practice work?

There are so many courses that students need to take in one semester. This means that a balanced study schedule needs to be created so that the students can maintain and improve their grades. It must be understood that many students who did well in their school are also unable to score well in their college and university due to increase in difficulty level in the courses. For so many school students studying is one of the most difficult things to do and it creates a lot of pressure on the minds of the students.

There is no particular way to incorporate the studying technique of distributed practice in the everyday studying regime of students. It is scientifically proven that more and more students who follow the distributed technique are able to improve their grades and hence this technique is encouraged and also followed by a lot of teachers and parents to make sure that the students have a balanced studying schedule so that it helps in overall development of the students. Students who are in schools as well as university or college or are preparing for a certain exam can effectively incorporate the studying technique of distributed learning to make sure that they do well on their tests and exams and also to make sure that their hard work bears a sweet fruit. It also increases the knowledge of the students and makes sure that they remember all the important pieces of information for a long time and also gain a lot of knowledge during the process. Distributed practice reduces the stress and pressure caused on the students when they have to study for an exam and makes the exam days smooth, peaceful and most importantly successful.

The ideal way to incorporate distributed learning in our studying regime is to first of all stay motivated and determined to make sure that the studying process becomes faster and smooth and most importantly easy. One of the best studying schedules for the week can be created this way. Create a studying schedule for the whole week. Dont laze around and start studying from the beginning of the semester. This way you will be able to make sure that you get the hang of studying very early and are not pressured into cramming everything at the last minute. Distributed Learning is not a technique that can be followed at the last minute. It needs to be spread across gradually over the whole course of the semester. From the very beginning, make sure to include the all the subjects to be studied throughout the week. The focus needs to remain on all the subjects at the beginning of the semester. Give 50 minutes of your day to each subject at the beginning of the semester from Monday to Saturday. Keep Sunday as a rest day to spend time with your friends and family. As you keep progressing in the semester, you will get to understand that some subjects do not need as long as 50 minutes or even need to be studied every day. Similarly, some of the subjects need more time every day. Over the course of the semester, you will understand how important which subject is and even during exams Sundays will get occupied. This is one of the ideal ways to start a semester and then continue as per requirement. One thing must be noted that if you are unable to incorporate all the subjects in your university study schedule, it is recommended to let go of a few classes as they might create problems in the future.

The best way to make sure that your distributed practice study schedule is effective for you, the most important step is to stick to your schedule. There is no point in creating a schedule and not following it. This will not help in improving your grades and you will end up in a huge pressure to of last-minute cramming and a lot of stress which is unhealthy for both the brain and the body. Do not let the interruptions around you spoil your study schedule. If something important comes up make sure that the study schedule is adjusted in a way that everything is covered no matter what. Stick to your study schedule like it is your work schedule and cannot be avoided at any cost. It has to be followed no matter what. If you keep getting interrupted by the distractions, there is no way that you will manage to improve your grades. Distributed practice only works with a combination of discipline, motivation, positivity and dedication. It is not going to work with a lazy attitude and with no ambition. It works best on students who are ready to work on their academic process in a very determined way.

It is best to find a good and silent spot which does not have any distractions to make sure that you can follow your study schedule in the best way possible. A silent corner at the library or a peaceful set up at the study table will help you get the best of learning possible. Do not opt for a loud environment or a lazy setup at the bed because it is not let you concentrate on the best of your abilities. A good surrounding is extremely necessary to make the studying technique of distributed learning work the best.

It is advised to take a 5-10 minutes breather after every 50-minute study session which gives the brain to relax and retain what all you have learned so that the brain can unwind. A break is also necessary for the brain to cool down after a study session. This is the time to get in touch with your friends on social media and not while you are studying. After that, it is best to come back to study preferably for a different subject. Try to not keep similar subjects in the schedule with each other.

To get the best results from the studying technique of distributed practice, make sure to make a good study schedule and follow it with dedication and motivation.

  1. Conclusion

Distributed practice is essentially needed by all the students to make sure that they understand, learn and remember the best of the knowledge gained in their school and university years. It is not just a technique to make sure that the students gain knowledge just for the sake of getting good grades but also to ensure that they remember everything that they have learned throughout the years.

Learning is a gradual process and not all students can learn at the same speed and in the same manner. Every student needs to adjust the methods in which they learn so that they can get the best of knowledge. This is where the studying techniques come in handy and make learning simpler and easier for the students. Distributed practice when combined with other tried and tested techniques can make the students do wonders. It is also essential for the brain to study throughout the semester to stay active and not just at the end of the semester to pressurize the brain.

The brain tends to remain active and the memory becomes share while the learning capabilities and concentration powers of the students increase. It is an essential process that keeps the students involved in studies throughout the whole semester. Without this, the students would generally wait until last minute and depend on their brain to just cram all the information that was supposed to learn during the entire course of the semester. The habit of incorporating distributed learning should be instilled in the students from the very beginning of their study years so that it is easier for the students to cope up with the studies.

Distributed learning is a very old technique which is the reason why almost all textbooks are divided into chapters and subheadings. This ensures that students understand the text easily and also are able to learn and remember it easily. Another main reason is that no one can learn and remember the entire textbook in one chapter. The division of chapters, topics and headings is done on the principles, philosophies and theories of the studying technique of distributed practice. It has been followed by many teachers, parents and students since the beginning of time for understanding and learning the text easily.

Distributed practice has helped so many students by helping them get over the fear of examination. Some students are very scared of exams and most of the times they go through this due to failure. Learning and remembering information using the studying technique of distributed learning has helped students with their anxiety and stress issues. There are so many students who go through so many illnesses that are caused by the pressure of the societies, schools, teachers and parents. Distributed practice just helps in easing the process of studying and makes it simpler for the students to follow.

Students who follow distributed practice throughout their lives are usually more disciplined, motivated and are able to adapt to new things quickly. They are determined and are very eager to fulfil their ambitions. Distributed practice helps in bringing logic and reason to the minds of people and are able to make essential and informed decisions. Once a student starts incorporating distributed practice in their regular studying regime, it automatically becomes a part of their lifestyle and their brain starts working in a structured way. The study technique of distributed practice makes a person organized and focussed in studies as well as in their lives.