Spaced Repetition


We talk about Spaced Learning a lot at Synap, the algorithms have been at the heart of our system since the beginning and has helped thousands of people learn more in less time. This documentation aims to provide some clarity around the terms we use, how spaced learning works, who it works for and when to use it.


What is Spaced Learning?


Simply Spaced Learning is a system developed by Synap to help individuals learn information and recall it in the long term. It is based on the neurological principle of Spaced Repetition. Spaced Learning personalises learning based on Spaced Repetition.


Spaced Repetition: An established method for mitigating the effects of short term memory loss following learning new information, by reviewing and recalling that information at distinct time intervals to optimise knowledge retention.


Can Spaced Learning help all users?


No. With learning there is no one size fits all, so Spaced Learning doesn’t work for everyone. We have identified two broad use cases for Synap and we will advise you on whether Spaced Learning will work with your system and goals.

Case 1: Softer skills and subjective content

  • Spaced learning is not suitable for organisations wanting to implement softer skills training, this is because in order to assess areas of strengths and weakness the system needs data which comes from answering multiple choice questions. Not using multiple choice questions or testing users cannot take advantage of Spaced Repetition as the goals and individual learning experience for that content is much more subjective


Case 1: Exams, MCQs, Auditing and pass marks 

  • Spaced Learning works really well when users have many MCQs to practice from, and acts as the perfect compliment to self studying, and can get users to a required pass mark either for exams or auditing purposes. In this environment Spaced Learning has demonstrated a 30% score improvement compared to users who were self studying and ignoring the system recommendations. For organisations that follow this case auditing and providing a paper trail of training is also very important, Synap provides detailed reports and logs in individuals, groups and cohorts on what training they have completed, how many times they have practiced it, their average score, improvements and engagement with content.


How does Spaced Learning work?

On Synap each user has a study bank, which defines the material the user is currently trying to learn. This can be filled manually by the student collecting multiple choice questions (MCQs) from quizzes or collections that they want to study. A study bank more often than not is filled automatically as the users do assignments where spaced learning is set as an assignment passing requirement.


As the bank fills up, users are told which questions they’ve never seen before and which questions they’re on the path to mastering. This path is where spaced learning comes in. Synap automatically decides which questions a student needs to see on a particular day, and creates a personalised quiz based on those questions. That quiz is then sent to the user via email or push notification depending on the preferences the user has selected. The number of questions in the quiz also varies depending on preferences, typically quizzes are designed to take somewhere between 5 and 10 minutes. As a user gets questions right they will begin to see those questions less and less frequently with an emphasis on weak or yet to be seen material. The aim of this is for the user to prove that they can recall information into the long term until it is mastered. At any time a user can logon and self study their study.


Spaced Learning Boxes:


Weak = Frequently

Moderate = mildly frequently

Strong = infrequently

Mastered = never (reset?)


Spaced Learning Preferences:

Light  = 5-10 qs

Moderate = 15-20 qs

Heavy = 25-30 qs

Spaced Learning is a powerful knowledge retention tool. We tend to forget around 90% of what we've learned only 24 hours after we were taught it, this is a huge problem for businesses. As todays market place grows more complicated with regulations, consumer expectations and competition employees must learn new things in a short amount of time whilst still retaining things they have learned in the past. Synap lets users learn on the go and continuously recap their knowledge and test their understanding of key concepts in order to commit things into long term memory. The system is designed to facilitate a 'loading dose' of information whether this is in the form of face to face training, questions banks, linear courses, videos or documents. Once that initial piece of training is completed users can begin their Spaced Learning study plan that aims to send them a few questions a day based on what their strengths and weaknesses are. The more questions users answer correctly right the less frequently they will see similar questions, until they prove that they can answer them in the long term without having to be continuously reminded.

You can try Synap's Spaced Learning system completely free for 14 days with no card details required, by setting up your very own portal. It takes just a few seconds to get up and running, or you can get in touch with a member of the team who will be happy to tell you more about what we do and how we could help you.