Avoid Massed Practice

Share Cognitive Science Implications for Teaching Mathematics
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• Faith in focused, repetitive practice of one thing at a time until we’ve got it nailed is pervasive among classroom teachers, athletes, corporate trainers, and students. This is called massed practice. It is the least effective of all study strategies.
• Cramming for exams is a form of massed practice. It feels like a productive strategy, and it may get you through the next day’s midterm, but most of the material will be long forgotten by the time you sit down for the final.
• Working many problems of the same type at the end of a section is massed practice and is quite ineffective. It is more like training than learning.
• Massed practice does not produce meaningful learning.
• Whatever learning is produced by massed practice is short lived.
As early as 1885, Ebbinghaus showed that massed practice was less effective that distributed never been refuted in that time.
It has always baffled me that for 130 years we have known the disadvantage of massed practice and the advantage of spaced practice and yet all math textbooks and other study materials are based on massed practice.

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