The Benefits of Interleaved Practice for Learning
Practice is critical to successful learning. Teachers assign homework to give students additional experience with concepts taught in class, students know that they need to review their notes and other course material before an exam, and athletes put in many hours of training to improve and be at the top of their game. Indeed, a single exposure to a fact, concept, or activity will typically not yield effective and long-lasting knowledge or skill acquisition, no matter how attentive or well-intentioned a learner is. The importance of practice is supported by a wealth of anecdotal and scientific evidence (e.g. Ackerman, 2014; Ericsson et al., 2007), and is probably intuitive to most people. What is less obvious, however, is how the practice should be organized or scheduled.