Membean works best when training sessions are short and spaced throughout the week. This ensures they truly remember the words they learn and that they stay engaged for the entirety of their session. This article will provide information on exactly the kind of sessions we recommend to ensure long-term retention.
Total Training Time Each Week
Membean recommends a minimum of 30 training minutes and a maximum of 60 training minutes per week, a range that is manageable for students and effective for memory. This ensures the students train consistently but don't become burned out on training.
Sample Membean training schedules include the following:
- 3 days, 15 minutes , 45 minutes total (recommended)
- 2 days, 20 minutes, 40 minutes total
- 2 days, 15 minutes, 30 minutes total (minimum)
Length of Sessions
Avoid long training sessions. Training more than 25 minutes in a single session or completing closely-spaced, same-day sessions is detrimental to memory and long-term learning. Students will lose focus and experience memory interference. Memory interference is when new memories actively interfere with older memories, making them difficult to get to. This occurs when information that is similar in format gets in the way of the information someone is trying to recall. A natural consequence of long sessions is that you study more items. When you have many items that need to be encoded in memory, you'll see more interference.
Likewise, you'll want to avoid having students train for fewer than 10 minutes at a time. When you have students do fewer than 10 minutes in a single session, they’re not likely to receive new words. Instead, they could remain in review mode. The engine has students review all the words in the reinforcement queue before introducing new ones. It also takes a bit for students to settle down and get focused, and fewer than 10 minutes is often not a sufficient amount of time for that to occur.
Spacing Sessions Out
Training should occur on at least two different days and up to four different days per week. It's best for students to train on non-consecutive days, as this is better for long-term retention. The Spacing Effect shows that if two practices of a word are close together, the second practice is practically pointless. We can recall information easier when we learn in multiple, spaced-out sessions. Cramming may work for the test, but it doesn’t work for long-term retention.
Aim to train for at least 30 weeks of the year. If you train consistently and commit to at least 30 weeks, you’ll be proud of your students' progress. You should avoid gaps in training or intermittent training. Don’t push Membean to the side because testing season hits or it’s spring break soon; commit to consistent training throughout the year. Also, keep in mind that Membean is available to students over all of their breaks, even summer break.
Accommodating Learning Needs
Some students in intervention, ESL, or special education programs may need to train more frequently but for shorter sessions each time. You'll want to keep the total minutes requirement the same, but perhaps split the required sessions into 5-10 minutes at a time to help these students maintain focus. For example, if your class requirement is to complete two 20-minute sessions, you could have these students complete four 10-minute sessions.
We also encourage you to consider differentiated homework. This is especially important if you have a wide variation of student ability levels. Try organizing your classes by ability level to assign different goals. Check out this article to learn more about accommodating unique learners.