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The Corporate Learning Guide to Spaced Repetition and Feedback Loops (Free Download)

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There are many causes for ineffective training, but one of L&D’s greatest enemies is forgetting. If learners fail to embed new knowledge into their long-term memory, they will be unable to apply it on the job. When training is treated as a one-time event, tangible results will be limited.

You know there’s a problem. But what can you do about it?

We’ve put together a free guide highlighting the research-based approaches of spaced repetition and immediate feedback. Research has repeatedly shown that using these techniques can increase retention of new knowledge and skills. By basing your own learning designs off of these principles or using a solution that already has the learning principles built in, you can greatly increase what your learners will remember.

What’s in a name?

Spaced repetition goes by several names in the L&D world. You might have heard this technique referred to as spaced learning and repetition, interval reinforcement, distributed practice, the spacing effect, or something else entirely. We have chosen to use the term “spaced repetition” for the purpose of this guide.

Who’s this guide for?

Any business professional looking for one of the following outcomes through a corporate learning program:

  • Less accidents
  • More sales
  • Better customer service
  • Faster new hire on-boarding
  • Fewer mistakes

What’s in the guide:

  • The five corporate learning content areas (accounting for 55% of total training) that benefit the most from spaced repetition approaches.
  • Five common learning solutions that fail to help learners retain knowledge.
  • The real story behind the forgetting curve, and what the latest research has to say about Herman Ebbinghaus’ theory.
  • An introduction to spaced repetition, including “micro spacings” and “macro spacings.”
  • The difference between feedback that helps learners remember and feedback that doesn’t.
  • A case study of an organization that used a spaced repetition solution and achieved tangible business results.

 

The Learning Design Behind Knowledge Guru Games


Interested in spaced learning and distributed practice? Then download our free Primer on Spaced Repetition and Feedback Loops. This guide will teach you everything you need to know about these concepts so you can incorporate them in your own training.


Many of our customers are first drawn to Knowledge Guru because they are looking for a serious game. They want their training to be more game-like and fun for learners. But as much as we are believers in the power of games to improve learning outcomes, the fact that Knowledge Guru is a game is not as important to the learning value as the learning principles we built into the game’s design.

Any game becomes useless for learning unless learning is carefully built into the game mechanics and game elements. In the case of Knowledge Guru, we use three research-based learning principles within the game to help players acquire knowledge. These principles are at work in every Knowledge Guru game, no matter what content you put into the tool (as long as you write your question sets correctly!).

Here’s a brief overview:

Repetition

Repetition

It’s intuitive, really. We need to repeatedly study material in order to remember it. In Knowledge Guru, game questions are grouped into question sets, which are groups of three questions. Each question set is linked to a learning objective in the game. Each question set teaches one piece of information, but the three questions each approach it in a different way. Question A might be fact recall, Question B a true or false question, and Question C a scenario question where learners apply the information in context. More about creating question sets here.

Another way to think of repetition is practice testing. A 2013 report by the Association for Psychological Science rated Practice Testing as a “highly effective learning tactic.” Giving learners more evaluations aids in further learning… and each path in the Knowledge Guru game is another mini “evaluation” or challenge learners must complete. Because the information is brought to mind multiple times, it is easier to remember. This is similar to the learning benefit found from using flash cards.

Spaced learning

GrabBag

Sometimes referred to as distributed practice, spaced learning happens when we space our learning out into small chunks over time. The same Association for Psychological Science report referenced above found that intentionally breaking learning into smaller bits and spacing the practice out builds long-term memory better than other study methods.

We use spaced learning in a “macro” and “micro” way within Knowledge Guru. The most obvious is the Guru Grab Bag mode, which contains all of the questions from the normal game mode, but is only unlocked when learners complete the regular game. By returning to the game days or weeks after completing it, the learning is reinforced.

Spaced learning can even be beneficial if the repetitions are spaced only a few minutes apart. Since the three questions in a set are placed on paths A, B, and C, learners are exposed to the same information after short breaks (if they complete the topic in one sitting).

Immediate Feedback

Feedback

When learners get a question right in Knowledge Guru, three things happen:

  1. They move on to the next question.
  2. Points are awarded.
  3. Depending on where they are in the game, achievements are earned.

In this way, the game is providing feedback to players for the performance. It’s saying “Good job! You’re getting it!” When players get a question wrong, they receive immediate feedback explaining their misstep, and the following things happen:

  1. Points are deducted.
  2. The game provides an explanation of the mistake.
  3. The learner returns to the same question and must try again.

Instead of merely letting players get the answer wrong, the game immediately corrects them and helps them learn why they answered incorrectly. This is how Knowledge Guru helps people learn content, rather than simply evaluating them on how much they already know.

It’s More Than Just a Game

While gaming is central to Knowledge Guru, we see the learning principles behind the game as the most valuable element of the product. We’ve aligned our efforts so each enhancement and iteration uses the principles of spaced learning, repetition, and immediate feedback to help people acquire knowledge faster.