The spacing effect: A case study in the failure to apply the results of psychological research.

  title={The spacing effect: A case study in the failure to apply the results of psychological research.},
  author={Frank N. Dempster},
  journal={American Psychologist},
The spacing effect would appear to have considerable potential for improving classroom learning, yet there is no evidence of its widespread application. I consider nine possible impediments to the implementation of research findings in the classroom in an effort to determine which, i f any, apply to the spacing effect. I conclude that the apparent absence of systematic application may be due, in part, to the ahistorical character of research on the spacing effect and certain gaps in our… 
Evaluating the Theoretic Adequacy and Applied Potential of Computational Models of the Spacing Effect.
A novel computational model of the spacing effect called the Predictive Performance Equation (PPE) is evaluated, which combines elements of earlier models of learning and memory including the General performance Equation, Adaptive Control of Thought-Rational, and the New Theory of Disuse, giving rise to a novel computational account of the spaced effect.
From the lab to the dorm room: metacognitive awareness and use of spaced study
Laboratory studies have demonstrated the long-term memory benefits of studying material in multiple distributed sessions as opposed to one massed session, given an identical amount of overall study
Distributed and massed practice: from laboratory to classroom
The benefit to memory of spacing presentations of material is well established but lacks an adequate explanation and is rarely applied in education. This paper presents three experiments that
Mechanisms Underlying the Spacing Effect in Learning: A Comparison of Three Computational Models
Of the 3 models, only 1, the predictive performance equation (PPE), was consistent with the finding of spacing-accelerated relearning, which showed that spacing slowed learning during the acquisition phase, increased retention at the start of tests, and accelerated relearning during tests.
Untangling the benefits of multiple study opportunities and repeated testing for cued recall
Spacing multiple study opportunities apart from one another is known by psychologists to be a highly effective study method (see Dempster, 1996). This study examines whether including tests during
Using Spacing to Enhance Diverse Forms of Learning: Review of Recent Research and Implications for Instruction
Every day, students and instructors are faced with the decision of when to study information. The timing of study, and how it affects memory retention, has been explored for many years in research on
Effects of spacing and testing on learning Effects of Spacing and Testing on Inductive Learning
  • 2019
The current study aimed to replicate the results of previous studies examining the spacing and testing effect by showing a benefit of spaced practice and repeated testing on inductive learning.
An investigation of the effect of spacing of practice on the performance -efficacy relationship
An Investigation of the Effect of Spacing of Practice on the Performance–efficacy Relationship. (December 2007) Alok Bhupatkar, B.A., University of Poona; M.S., Emporia State University Chair of
Spacing Effects on Learning and Memory
This chapter reviews past and current research on the spacing effect with respect to theoretical explanations that have been offered to account for the phenomenon, recent research on optimal spacing
Spacing Effects in Learning
The interaction of gap and test delay implies that many educational practices are highly inefficient, and an increase in the interstudy gap at first increased, and then gradually reduced, final test performance.


Time and the Production of Classroom Learning: discerning Implications From Basic Research
In the wake of A Nation at Risk, considerable attention has been drawn to time variables in the classroom and their relation to learning, especially allocated time. Moreover, there have been a number
Studies in retention.
The importance of retention is shown by the fact that growth or improvement in skills, knowledges, and attitudes is dependent upon the learner's retention of the effects of previous experience. The
What is the role of affect in the spacing effect?
The data suggest that different study conditions can lead to different affective reactions, and the results are moot with regard to the relationship between affect and the magnitude of spacing effects.
Effects of spacing and embellishment on memory for the main points of a text
Three studies are presented that help to establish the cause of the summary advantage, and both possible causes, spaced practice and the absence of details, have significant, independent, and positive effects on retention of the central ideas of a passage.
Effects of variable encoding and spaced presentations on vocabulary learning.
] examined the applicability of the encoding variability hypothesis and the spacing phenomenon to vocabulary learning in five experiments. I manipulated encoding variability by varying the number of
The spacing effect in free recall emerges with development
This finding that the spacing effect in free recall emerges with development suggests that the phenomenon cannot be explained solely in terms of a primitive encoding mechanism that is hard-wired into the memory system.
Surface form and the spacing effect
It was assumed that memory for surface structure of sentences decays rapidly, and hence can contribute to initial identification of repetitions only at short spacings, and this prediction was supported.
The Relative Effectiveness of Massed Versus Spaced Film Presentation. Rapid Mass Learning. Technical Report.
  • P. Ash
  • Psychology, Computer Science
  • 1949
The general conclusion may be stated as follows: that a few hour-long film training sessions result in learning about as efficient as that achieved by many short training sessions.
Contextual Enrichment and Distribution of Practice in the Classroom
Small scale experiments have led us to believe that teaching a lot in a short time is inefficient, perhaps because it overtaxes student resources. This principle, however, has not been adequately
Component-levels theory of the effects of spacing of repetitions on recall and recognition
A theory of spacing effects is described that uses the same principles to account for both facilitatory and inhibitory effects of spacing in a number of memory paradigms.