Microlearning

MaxLearn Tips: How to Make ‘Spaced Repetition’ in Microlearning Effective!

spaced repetition

Mindless repetition of the same information can get boring for anyone. If the content is simply being repeated, learners can be quick to switch off.

That’s why it’s critical to get spaced repetition right for a sustainable Training ROI through Microlearning.

It’s not just about the frequency of reinforcing information.

You need to repeat content by making it:

  1. Relevant and contextual
  2. Build upon existing knowledge.

3 other important questions are:

  1. How often should we repeat content in microlearning?
  2. How much is too much?
  3. How to reiterate or repeat content without becoming boring?

While a robust microlearning may be enabled with excellent ‘spaced repetition’ capabilities/functionalities, YOU have an active role in making it work!

Let’s deep-dive into ‘spaced repetition’ to understand this better…  

How Often Should Content be Repeated?

Good microlearning platforms like MaxLearn give you the flexibility and functionalities to determine spaced repetition strategically to reinforce information.

Reinforcement must happen just at the point when it is about to be forgotten by the learners.

After that, you can gradually extend the interval as memory retention goes up.

The spacing of repetition in microlearning depends on 3 things: 

  1. the complexity of the content.
  2. the learning styles of your learners.
  3. the learning goals of your microlearning module.

Once you determine these, you can stitch it all together by using a robust microlearning platform.

Danger of over-exposure:

Remember to avoid over-exposing your learners to the information. No one wants mindless repetitions of the same lesson with a ‘one size fits all’ approach!

Once a baseline is set, microlearning technology comes to your rescue. Platforms like MaxLearn enable you with in-built complex algorithms that can effectively & efficiently administer spaced repetition based on each individual learner’s needs.

How it works:

A good microlearning platform implements spaced repetition for each learner based on his or her department, job role, and hiring date (which indicates how old the employee has been in the company).

For instance- 

  • MaxLearn’s microlearning spaced repetition algorithm takes these data-points to baseline the type and frequency of spaced repetition while reiterating the information. 
  • MaxLearn’s robust algorithm-based tracking system works to keep pace with each individual learner.  
  • It not only monitors the learning progress of the learner through the Key Learning Points (KLPs), but also adjusts the intervals between repetitions, based on the user’s performance.

Should You Cut Down on Repeating Content if it Gets Boring?

Certainly NOT!

The most important thing to remember is that repetition doesn’t hurt, but lack of it does!

Not repeating business processes/ procedures, policies, and performance outcomes can be risky.

What you need to do is to make repetition engaging and fun, and so avoid boring the learners.

Microlearning & Spaced Repetition: an Example

Let’s take the example of a Code of Conduct training that includes a section on ‘Conflict of Interest’. The first step is to identify the Key Learning Points (KLPs).

If you identify 6 KLPs in this training, your spaced repetition strategy will look like this: 

  • Week 1 to 3: Send out two reinforcement messages each week, each covering two KLPs. All KLPs must be covered, with the more important ones covered twice. 
  • Week 4 to 8: Reduce the frequency to one message per week. 
  • Week 9 onwards: Reduce frequency to one message per month.

This takes care of your learners’ forgetting curve as shown below.

How Much is Too Much?

As a Training professional, It is your prerogative to determine how much is too much.

You will obviously know when your repetition is turning into noise. Excessive repetition becomes irritating, and that’s when learners start ignoring it.

It’s like the notes (with to-dos, instructions) parents stick on a refrigerator for their kids. What happens? The  kids start ignoring them after a week!

The same happens with your learners at workplace! Too much, too frequently gets irritating. This information is filtered out as noise.

How to Repeat Content Without Becoming Boring?

As mentioned earlier, the frequency of spaced repetition must be based on the complexity of the information, the ability of the learner, and the learning goals.

How do you make sure that the message or information is not filtered out as noise? How do you ensure that information sticks?

The answer lies in this maxim:Scholars don’t do different things; they do things differently.

You need to do things differently. So:

  • Present the information differently in different contexts.  
  • Give your learner something new to do with the information.

Let’s see an example of this:

According to the company’s Code of Conduct, ‘conflicts of interest’ arise when an employee’s personal interests clash with the company’s interests, compromising his/her judgment, integrity, and decisions.

TimingActivityResult
Learning Activity Provide a microlearning snippet to the employee with this information.
1 or 2 days later Check through microlearning tests if the learner can identify and recall the information. If NO, repeat! If YES, move on.
1 week laterShow a microlearning video with a situational scenario, where an HR representative is interviewing a close relation (or friend) for a job position, and not excusing oneself as should be done. Ask 3 retrieval practice questions on the video. The video demonstrates why knowing the information is important for the learner in his or her job.
1 - 2 Weeks later Provide scenario-based microlearning videos or gameplay (gamification), where the concept of ‘conflict of interest’ is presented in a gaming format (interactive choices to be made by the learner) This shows the same information in different contexts, deepening the learner’s understanding and grasp (memory).
1 Month laterBroadcast a microlearning podcast by a subject matter expert or senior business leader who shares interesting examples of difficult situations on this concept. The podcast also guides learners on ‘how to act with integrity’ in such situations. This microlearning podcast gives a learner something to do with that information.

This is an indicative example that demonstrates how you can bring a lot of variety in spaced repetition by presenting different contexts to motivate learners.

To conclude, you must have a sound understanding, involvement, and the tact to make ‘spaced repetition’ work for you! 

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