Building Curriculum for an Incarcerated Audience: How to effectively use spaced learning
Spaced repetition is the strategic repetition of past lessons in predetermined intervals after the learners learned it the first time. This helps combat the dreaded Forgetting Curve (it’s a real thing!) Think about trying to learn a new language. If you learned a new phrase and didn’t see it again for months, would you remember it? Likely not. The brain needs consistent repetition over time to master content.
If you choose to design your course with spacing in mind, you will present learners with a concept or learning objective, allow a few lessons to pass, and then present the same concept again through different modalities.
Modalities to Review Content
Knowledge Checks are assessment-style questions that help the learner practice, reflect on, or demonstrate knowledge of learned content. They typically don’t factor in towards the final score, but rather, they help the learner gain confidence in their knowledge of the content.
2-3 Minute Videos
Depending on how complex your content is, you may review content every other lesson, every 3-4 lessons, or more! The goal is to bring back important concepts consistently throughout your course to help learners internalize and recall that information better in the future. The repetition does not have to be as comprehensive as the original lesson so as to avoid taking away too much time from the new lesson. In fact, it is much better to show the repeated lesson with different modalities. For example, if the original lesson is in video format, the repeated lesson can be a simple text and illustration. Tips for Incorporating Spaced Repetition
Include a review based on previous lessons at the start of a new lesson.
Use different modalities throughout the course to address different learning styles.
If using a Knowledge Check, provide an explanation as to why the correct answer is correct so learners can reinforce their knowledge or learn from their mistakes.
Use different types of Knowledge Checks so learners can think about the same information in different ways. (Ex: true/false, fill-in-the-blank, open-ended, scenario-based, self-reflection)
Below is a diagram that lays out how you could incorporate spaced learning into your existing content. As you can see, each new lesson loops in content that was previously taught through different modalities. Then, the new content is provided and the lesson concludes with a modality to review the newly presented content.