This project was part of the Education and Neuroscience scheme, which was jointly funded by the Wellcome Trust and Education Endowment Foundation and launched in January 2014.
‘Spaced learning’ involves repeating material at defined intervals, with unrelated activity in between (for our trial the unrelated activity was students juggling!), and has been shown in the lab to improve memory and retention. Neurological research also supports the use of repetition in this way to improve memory and retention.
The purpose of the project was to investigate whether the lab results could be replicated in the classroom. To this end, Hallam TSA worked with Queen’s University Belfast to develop SMART Spaces (a spaced learning programme for the classroom environment). Hallam TSA then ran the trial of SMART Spaces across 16 English schools.
The project was independently evaluated with the final report being published in spring 2017. The main findings were that:
- SMART Spaces is a feasible programme in terms of delivery in a classroom context.
- The use of a combination of both 10 minute and 24 hour intervals showed most promise.
- SMART Spaces is ready for a larger randomised control trial to evaluate its impact on GCSE attainment.
More research is needed to establish definitively whether or not SMART Spaces will have a positive impact on GCSE attainment, but we are thrilled that at this stage, the early signs are good.
Watch this space!