Interleaving Practice

Michael Allen provides a nice reminder in his book Designing Successful e-Learning: Forget What You Know About Instructional Design and Do Something Interesting that spaced practice provides us the opportunity to have interwoven practice, where we return in a course to topics learned earlier in that course (or the curriculum) not to expand or review those topics, but to practice them.

The spacing of the practice should grow gradually father apart, Allen points out.

I think instructional designers feel pressure that if they are going to revisit a topic, they need to put a new spin on it. I know one of the barriers I’ve run into is participants who feel that some of these practice was redundant (even when they needed it) so a crucial piece is being able to make the case to participants as to why the course was designed a specific way, what you are trying to achieve, and making clear the evidence of why lots of practice is beneficial.


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