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Spaced vs. mass practice

Overview

  • Influence: Spaced vs. mass practice
  • Domain: Student Learning Strategies
  • Sub-Domain: Learning strategies
  • Potential to Accelerate Student Achievement: Potential to considerably accelerate
  • Influence Definition: The claim is that students are better able to commit information to memory when they study that information in spaced (or distributed) intervals rather than all at once in a “massed” interval. Spaced practices involve practice broken up into a number of shorter sessions, over a longer period of time. Massed practice consists of fewer, longer training sessions.

Evidence

  • Number of meta-analyses: 5
  • Number of studies: 510
  • Number of students: 167,763
  • Number of effects: 1,115
  • Effect size: 0.65

Meta-Analyses

Meta-Analyses
Journal Title Author First Author's Country Article Name Year Published Variable Number of Studies Number of Students Number of Effects Effect Size
Research quarterly for exercise and sport Lee & Genovese Distribution of practice in motor skill acquisition: Learning and performance effects reconsidered 1988 Spaced vs. massed practice 52 0 52 0.96
Journal of Applied Psychology Donovan & Radosevich USA A meta-analytic review of the distribution of practice effect: Now you see it, now you don't 1999 Spaced vs. massed practice 63 0 112 0.46
Journal of Consumer Research Janiszewski, Noel & Sawyer USA A meta-analysis of the spacing effect in verbal learning: Implications for research on advertising repetition and consumer memory 2003 Spaced vs. massed practice 61 0 484 0.72
Nature: Science of Learning Donoghue & Hattie Australia Learning strategies: A synthesis and conceptual model. 2018 Distributed practice 150 152,952 150 0.85
Experimental Psychology (formerly Zeitschrift für Experimentelle Psychologie Cepeda, Pashler, Vul, Wixted & Rohrer USA Optimizing distributed practice 2009 Spaced vs. massed practice 184 14,811 317 0.27
TOTAL/AVERAGE 510 167,763 1,115 0.65

Confidence

The Confidence is the average of these four measures, each divided into five approximately equal groups and assigned a value from 1 to 5 based on the following criteria:

  • Number of Meta-analyses
    • 1 = 1
    • 2 = 2–3
    • 3 = 4–6
    • 4 = 7–9
    • 5 = 10+
  • Number of Studies
    • 1 = 1–10
    • 2 = 11–50
    • 3 = 51–200
    • 4 = 201–400
    • 5 = 400+
  • Number of Students
    • 1 = 1–2,500
    • 2 = 2,501–10,000
    • 3 = 10,000–20,000
    • 4 = 20,000–100,000
    • 5 = 100,001+
  • Number of Effects
    • 1 = 1–100
    • 2 = 101–300
    • 3 = 301–600
    • 4 = 601–1,200
    • 5 = 1,200+
Confidences
Number of Meta-Analyses Number of Studies Number of Students Number of Effects Overall Confidence
Confidence Factor 3 5 5 4 4
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