Science of Learning Strategy Series: Article 1, Distributed Practice

Journal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions (10/09/20) Van Hoof, Thomas J.; Sumeracki, Megan A.; Madan, Christopher R.

New research deems distributed practice to be relevant to the planning and implementation of continuing professional development (CPD). The authors observe that staggering out study or practice over time offers the brain multiple opportunities to process new and complex information efficiently, boosting the likelihood of mastery and memory. Research from cognitive psychology and neuroscience supply a motivation for distributed practice, and examples of its implementation in health professions education have begun to appear in the literature. The authors conclude that greater understanding enables CPD planners to benefit from distributed practice in initiatives to improve educational activities, while CPD participants can benefit by making more informed educational decisions.

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