Through a combination of research and trial and error, educators have learned a lot about how people learn. A couple of years ago I mentioned the idea of spaced repetition. This is a technique where learners review material after some time. It makes learning more efficient both in terms of time to learn something and the length of time knowledge of the material is retained.
Spaced repetition began with the use of flashcards. Users use the cards as a sort of test. In learning a natural language, for instance, the card might have a term in the new language on one side and the meaning on the other. The learner then looks at the new word and the goal is to remember the meaning (or vice versa). One way to use the cards is to go through them over and over at once. It turns out to be more effective to go through them once or twice, then wait and go over them again at a later time. That is the “spaced” part of spaced repetition.
When I teach a Learning Tree course such as our Introduction to Cyber Security, I suggest that participants use the review questions at the ends of the chapters as a spacing tool. I ask them to wait to go through those questions until a day or two after the class is over. This helps them to recall the course content longer.
Here are some resources for exploring the research and practice of spaced repetition:
Spaced repetition is a valuable tool to accelerate learning and increase retention. Not all learning materials deploy it as part of the content. If not, the resources I shared above should help you implement it yourself in a way that works for you. Choose the way that suits you: flashcards, sticky notes, software, or some other method. I hope it helps you retain material as it has helped me.