Mix it up! Interleaved practice

Basic idea:

Another technique for improving recall without requiring any extra effort is interleaving – mixing up the order of tasks rather than doing one big block of the same type of task. Clearly, this practice ties in very well with the idea of ‘spaced learning’. For example, a Geography unit could be divided into case studies, and then studies from different units interleaved with each other.

As with other practice effects on memory that we have looked at (such as spaced practice and the retrieval effect), Interleaved practice seems to work because it forces us to work a bit harder, and this extra effort is what is crucial to the improved recall.

Suggestions for practice:

  • Breaking modules up into smaller chunks which are taught at different points in the year

Further reading:

http://blog.questionmark.com/professor-roddy-roediger-on-applying-the-retrieval-practice-effect-to-creating-and-administering-assessments

http://www.learningscientists.org/blog/2016/3/28/weekly-digest-3

http://www.learningscientists.org/blog/2016/4/12-1

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Mix it up! Interleaved practice

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