The Benefits Of Spaced Repetition for Language Learning
By Geralde Vincent-Bancroft
Have you ever tried to learn a new language, only to find yourself forgetting most of what you learned a few weeks later? If so, you’re not alone.
Learning a new language is tough, and one of the biggest challenges is simply retaining all of the new information. But there’s hope!
Spaced repetition is a powerful tool that can help you commit new vocabulary and phrases to memory and keep it there for the long haul. Here’s how it works.
How Spaced Repetition Works
Spaced repetition is a technique where you review information at increasingly longer intervals.
Spaced-repetition works by breaking down material into small chunks and then gradually increasing the interval of time between review sessions.
For example, let’s say you’re trying to learn the French words for “dog,” “cat,” and “bird.” You would first be shown the word “dog” and then given the opportunity to recall it from memory. If you correctly remember the word, you’ll be shown it again after a longer interval of time. If you don’t correctly remember the word, you’ll be shown it again sooner.
This process continues until you can correctly recall the word from memory without any prompts.
By spacing out your reviews in this way, you’re more likely to remember the word in the long term. That’s because you’re Reviewing the word just before it’s about to be forgotten.
The Science Behind Spaced Repetition
There’s actually a scientific reason why spaced repetition works so well for learning new information. When we first encounter a piece of information, it exists in our short-term memory. In order for it to move into our long-term memory where we can recall it easily, we need to keep repeating it. This process is known as “encoding.”
Spaced repetition helps with encoding by controlling the amount of time between each review. If we wait too long to review the information, we forget it and have to start from scratch.
Spacing out our reviews strikes that perfect balance between forgetting and boredom, making spaced repetition an incredibly effective tool for Commitment new information to memory.
How to use spaced-repetition for language learning
Spend some time at the end of each day reviewing what you learned that same morning. You can either write it down or speak aloud, whichever is more effective for your learning style – but make sure to do this!
This simple act will help ensure maximum knowledge retention from all these new materials and information.
Maintaining good study habits requires regular review of all recently- acquired knowledge, whether written down or spoken aloud while alone in order for it to remain engaged with us longer.
Break the information down
You will have a much easier time learning new material when it’s broken down into digestible pieces. For instance, if your goal is to learn about numbers and verb conjugations in Spanish then break that task down by focusing on just those. Make a list but also pay attention to how they’re used in sentences too!
Pay attention to the information you are unfamiliar to
Know your weaknesses, and focus on those. The area where you feel uncomfortable and unfamiliar is exactly the sweet spot for growth. This means that your attention needs to be in this zone, which we call “the proximal development.” which is a combination of what we already know and can do on our own and what we don’t know and can’t do if we do not receive new Knowledge.
For example if you’re not confident with numbers then try to include more vocabulary relating them in the new language so that when someone speaks about their family’s finances you understand what is being said.
Revise less frequently
Repetition is the key to learning, and this works for everyone. You can spend less time on concepts that are already understood or mastered because they will be fully imprinted into your brain by drilling in those lessons over again at spaced intervals .
How often should you revise?
Here is how often according to a study by P.A. Wozniak
|After First Exposure||20-24 hrs|
|2nd Revision||24-36 hrs|
|3rd Revision||24-36 hrs|
|4th Revision||24-36 hrs|
|5th revision||2-3 days later|
|6th Revision||2-3 days later|
|Thereafter||every few weeks||*P.A. Wozniak|
Continue until confident that you will not forget the concept.
There are many language-learning apps that use spaced-repetition, such as Brainscape Quizlet and Anki. Learning with spaced-repetition is more efficient than traditional methods, like attending a language class once a week. With spaced-repetition, you can actively recall what you’ve learned and then immediately get feedback on your progress. This immediate feedback loop helps your brain better learn and remember the material.
If you’re looking for a more efficient way to learn a new language, consider using spaced-repetition. It is a powerful tool that can help you retain new vocabulary and commit it to memory for the long term. With this technique, you can actively recall what you’ve learned.
The spacing effect helps your brain better learn and remember material when it’s reviewed at increasingly longer intervals. So next time you sit down to study, try using this technique and see how much progress you can make!