9 Benefits of Repetition for Learning (Read This First!)
Repetition is a crucial learning tool because it facilitates knowledge transfer from the conscious to intuitive or deeper recollection levels.
The most profound “aha” moments result from interaction with text, followed by another encounter. Repeating an encounter cements it in your memory.
Learning is a gradual process where you interact with ideas and progressively amass concepts. Repetition matters because it speeds up and deepens the engagement process.
You remember better when you learn through repetition, and the information stays in your mind longer. Redoing a task allows the brain to make new connections, improving performance.
College students, teachers, and anyone looking to learn or teach a new skill or language will find that repetition boosts retention.
This post gives a detailed account of the benefits of repetition for learning.
1. Repetition fosters learning
Repeated review of previously learned material enhances connections in the brain and aids in the retention of content longer. The brain forms more neuron connections and links new knowledge to relevant old information.
Teachers have long applied repetition in early childhood development classes and during teaching languages because it’s the first and most critical principle of learning.
One experience is insufficient for the brain to form and sustain a neuron connection. It may seem like you’re learning the same thing with each encounter, but when you re-read something, you get new insights.
Eventually, students master new concepts and remember them without struggling.
Spaced-out learning is an even better learning strategy, where you gather and review new knowledge in increased intervals. Say 24 hours later, seven days, 16, or 36 days later to boost your memory.
You can also foster learning as a teacher through discussions, questioning, quizzing, simulations, homework, writing reflections, or guided practice.
For instance, simulations help embed skills and show learners how different skills may work together to solve a challenge. You achieve learners’ knowledge retention by combining skills in this manner.
These alternatives are better than repeated teaching because while repeating may appear easy, it demands patience. Saying or reading the same material to a pupil is tiresome, although necessary.
2. Repeated tasks become second to nature and strengthen the brain
Aristotle once said that repeating things makes them second to nature. They become things you do without much thought.
When you do something, like play tennis, the neurons involved in that action send out electrical signals called action potentials. These action potentials make a network of active cells.
As you do the action repeatedly, myelin builds up around the network. That means the brain processes cell signals faster and more efficiently, leading to better performance.
That’s because repetition helps to reinforce neural connections associated with that information.
3. Repetition builds confidence
Practice makes perfect and asserts to your inner self that you can do it.
Remember how difficult it was to learn to ride your bike for the first time? Anxiety, fear of falling, and self-doubt. But with more practice, you grew adept and confident enough to ride hands-free; you could even carry someone in the back seat.
That’s because repeating an activity builds confidence.
The benefits of repetition to students extend beyond strengthening the brain. Preschool children and students enjoy the classroom experience because of the satisfaction, excitement, and sense of accomplishment they get from remembering things learned.
Remembering a skill or concept you learned boosts your confidence in your ability to recall and master the skill or concept.
4. Repetition reduces stress
Repetition can foster positive feelings of pleasure and satisfaction in students.
You’ll feel good when you can remember most of what you read. That positive feeling stimulates the production of serotonin, the body’s antidepressant, relieving you of any tension.
Exam-related stress or failing to understand new skills can be disheartening.
5. Repetition improves focus
Repeated actions become a habit and program the brain to stay alert.
Spaced repetition is a way to remember things by following a set schedule. After using spaced repetition progressively, the brain becomes accustomed to predetermined timings, allowing for better understanding and faster recall. It automatically sharpens focus and increases attentiveness.
Additionally, when you progressively follow a predictable spaced repetition schedule, it is easier for the brain to store information in long-term memory.
You transfer information from the conscious to the subconscious.
Since your brain can calculate when it will next meet the information, it may respond with heightened alertness (hyperactivity) and focus when you need to remember or understand something.
6. Repetition can double your learning speed
Repeating concepts or activities may quickly teach you new information or a new skill.
Spaced-out repetition helps combat the forgetting curve. Ebbinghaus demonstrated that the number of times one studies a given piece of material correlates positively with the degree to which a person retains that information.
However, simply re-reading text is not as effective as spaced-out repetition accompanied by questions.
When you quiz yourself, you’re forcing the brain to remember what you read, and you’ll go over your answers to see if you remembered right. You must be intentional and strategic when applying repetition for learning.
Say, for instance, when you want to learn speed reading. You’ll first learn the strategies or techniques of speed reading, like skimming, reading in chunks, and so forth. Then you’ll practice every day to kill anxiety and boost confidence.
After a while, you can double or triple your reading speed. Speed and mastery of the skill come after repeating the activity many times.
7. Repetition fosters predictability
Rituals and routines are the building blocks upon which our feelings of security and understanding of the world rest. We forge routines via the power of repetition.
Routines provide a sense of security and control of the environment because you learn to anticipate what will come next.
Just like at home, where we prize predictability and warmth, repetition should be an integral part of the learning process.
Prime your brain for learning and new experiences by providing a consistent schedule and a secure environment.
8. Repetition helps you to get to the level of teaching a skill
All educators and experts were once students. Bakers, chefs, and professors didn’t get to their positions by chance. Professors repeatedly went over books to understand concepts and apply them, and bakers and chefs went over recipes, tweaking them to their style or their clients’ needs.
Human resource managers ask for people with experience in a profession. That’s because they’ve performed their duties repeatedly and correctly, they can go over them eyes closed.
9. Repeating topics in learning improves time management
Time management is another advantage of learning through repetition.
Students and professionals must plan the teaching or learning process by allotting time for review using spaced repetition.
Organizing your reading material into bite-sized sections makes it easier to divide more demanding tasks into smaller, manageable chunks that students or teachers can finish at spaced-out times throughout the day.
This way, you prioritize which materials to examine first and allocate time to review everything.
Repetition tweaked with quizzing and spacing out reinforces learning, deepens comprehension, boosts memory and confidence, and amplifies recall.
Learn how to boost your memory with the Iris Reading Maximizing Memory course, so you remember most of what you learned via repetition.