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Spaced Learning for Physiotherapy Students: A Guide to Enhancing Education and Success

As a physiotherapy student, it is important to have an effective learning strategy that can help you retain information, apply it in real clinical situations, and prepare for success in your future career. One such strategy is spaced learning, a technique that has been shown to improve memory retention and long-term learning. In this blog post, we will explore the benefits of spaced learning for physiotherapy students and provide high-yield tips for incorporating this technique into your education.

Figure 1: This image shows Ebbinghaus' forgetting curve and how spaced learning reduces the rate of the forgetting process. In other words, spaced learning increases memory retention.

What is Spaced Learning?

Spaced learning is a learning strategy that involves spacing out the repetition of information you learn over time. For example, learning about airway clearance techniques on day 0, re-learning the same topic on day 3, and again on day 7. The idea is that by spreading out your learning over a longer period of time, you are more likely to retain the information in your long-term memory. In contrast, traditional learning methods, such as cramming, involve studying large amounts of information in a short period of time, typically just before an assessment, which can lead to short-term memory retention and quickly forgetting the information over time.

Advantages of Spaced Learning for Physiotherapy Students:

There are many benefits of spaced learning for physiotherapy students as well as recent Physiotherapy graduates. One of the main benefits is significantly improved long-term memory retention. By spacing out your learning, you are giving your brain more time to process the information and consolidate it into your long-term memory. This means that you are more likely to recall the information when you need it in the future. Additionally, spaced learning can help you better apply your knowledge in real-world clinical situations. This benefit is absolutely crucial for a Physiotherapy student as you will be able to recognise conditions, devise effective treatment plans and reduce the risk of errors in patient care whilst on placement and as you transition into a junior Physiotherapist. By spacing out your learning and repeating information over time, you are more likely to understand the information in a deeper and more meaningful way, which can improve your ability to use that information in practical situations.

How do I Incorporate Spaced Learning into my Education?

There are many ways to incorporate spaced learning into your education. One approach is to use the intelligent AcePhysio spaced learning question bank which automatically allocates questions for you to attempt based on your areas of development at the correct time without you needing to spend time worrying about a detailed revision schedule. Another strategy is to use spaced learning in study groups, where you can review and discuss information with your peers at regular intervals. This is also a great way to add variety to your learning as you can socialise with others and gather new knowledge through discussion with your peers. Additionally, you can use spaced learning as part of your independent study by reviewing information on a regular basis and practising problem-solving and critical thinking skills.

Challenges and Solutions in Implementing Spaced Learning:

One of the main challenges in implementing spaced learning is finding the time to review information regularly. To overcome this challenge, it is important to set aside specific times in your schedule for spaced learning and to stick to this schedule. Setting aside just 1 or 2 hours for spaced learning daily can lead to an exponential improvement in your recall and understanding of multiple topics in the future. Another challenge is ensuring that you are reviewing information in a way that is meaningful and effective for you. To overcome this challenge, it is important to find learning activities and techniques that are engaging and effective for you, such as using question banks, flashcards, and clinical simulations.

Final words

Spaced learning is a powerful tool for physiotherapy students who want to enhance their education and prepare for success in their future careers. By incorporating spaced learning into your education, you can improve your memory retention, better apply your knowledge in real-world clinical situations, and prepare for success in your future career. The key to success with spaced learning is to be consistent, engage in meaningful and effective learning activities, and evaluate and improve your strategies over time.

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