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by Kingsley Hopking

Using spacing for learning

Ensuring that users retain information over long periods of time and save them to long term memory has the potential to be useful within game spaces as it will all players to compare their previous knowledge in context.

It has been observed that there is an effective learning methodology ‘Spaced Repetition’, this method re-teaches users information at set intervals, this is done to best insure that the information such as words are archived to long term memory (Ebbinghaus, 1885). Building on these findings, Pavlov (1927) observed that there is possibility to save other types of information into the users memory such as associations. This was done by creating an associations between a ringing of a bell expressing that there is food for the dog. The spaced repetition methodology could now be seen as one that was more dynamic than what was initially presented.
From this it could be argued that there is possibility to teach humans information that is not inline with the initial methodology.

Spaced repetition has the potential allow the player to minimise the amount of playing the user has to do to maximise the amount of increased skill that will occur.

This has been observed within a controlled study where five groups of participants were assigned varying amounts of spacing repetition amounts to follow between play sessions. This study was taken out on the video game Super Hexagon, a two-dimensional survival action game, where time survived is logged. It was found that the amount of time the players survived was greater on the participants that had been employing any of the spacing effects in comparison to the ones who where playing for continued amounts of time (Johanson et al., 2019).

From this it can be argued that games could employ the methodology of spaced learning within games, in an attempt to get allow the player to spend less time on the game and gain in skill in the least amount-of in game time.
Abstracting from this it could be argued that there is potential for to use this methodology in video games where there is reason for the users to remember information for long periods of time with a high retention rate.


Ebbinghaus, H. (1885). Memory: A contribution to experimental psychology.New York City: Teachers College, Columbia University

Johanson, C., Gutwin, C., Bowey, J. and Mandryk, R. (2019). Press Pause when you Play. Proceedings of the Annual Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play - CHI PLAY ’19.

Pavlov, I. (1927). Conditioned reflexes: An investigation of the physiological activity of the cerebral cortex. 1st ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press.