Resources and References



Quiz. When it comes to the first question, see the forgetting curve, which shows pretty clearly the fast rate of forgetting. Note that the curve is based on learning brand new words. Forgetting is slower for material that's already been learned.

Regarding evidence backing up the answers to the second and third quiz questions, see Kornell, Nate. “Optimizing Learning Using Flashcards: Spacing Is More Effective than Cramming.” Applied Cognitive Psychology 23, no. 9 (December 2009): 1297–1317.

Resources. There a lot of programs that support forgetting--and relearning like SuperMemo and DuoLingo. Anki is one of the most flexible. There are also many pre-made stacks, which make it easy to learn a new field from organic chemistry to introductory Icelandic.

For a more in-depth look at the forgetting curve, see Will Thalheimer's How Much Do People Forget?. Also see Gary Wolf, “Want to Remember Everything You’ll Ever Learn? Surrender to This Algorithm,” WIRED, November 20, 2011, which is the article that kick off Roger Craig's efforts.

I also profiled Craig in the Awl; see Ulrich Boser, Forget to Remember.

References. For the material on Roger Craig, I relied on “How One Man Played ‘Moneyball’ With ‘Jeopardy!,’” NPR, November 20, 2011 (accessed September 19, 2016). Also see Gary Wolf's piece.

On forgetting, see D’Eon, Marcel F. “Knowledge Loss of Medical Students on First Year Basic Science Courses at the University of Saskatchewan.” BMC Medical Education 6 (2006): and Thalheimer, W. (2010, April). How Much Do People Forget? Retrieved October 19, 2011, from Also helpful was Paul Smolen, Yili Zhang, and John H. Byrne, “The Right Time to Learn: Mechanisms and Optimization of Spaced Learning,” Nature Reviews Neuroscience 17, no. 2 (February 2016): 77–88. doi:10.1038/nrn.2015.18.

For details on Verizon using spacing, see Staff, “Top 10 Hall of Fame Outstanding Training Initiatives,” Training Magazine, February 4, 2016. (accessed October 7, 2016). Also see M. A. McDaniel, Fadler, C. L., and H. Pashler, “Effects of Spaced Versus Massed Training in Function Learning,” Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition., Advance online publication, (2013). doi: 10.1037/a0032184.

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