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The secret to better learning that most people don't know is mixing up your learning through interleaving.

Stashed in: Learn!, Math!, Learn to program., Life Hacks, Talent Code, Learn a language.

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Interleaving means practicing or learning different skills in quick succession.

When interleaving, tennis players might practice forehands, backhands and volleys altogether.

Interleaving for musicians could mean practising scales, arpeggios and chords all in the same session.

It’s quite a different method to how people normally learn.


For the research some kids were taught math the usual way.

They learned one mathematical technique in a lesson and then practised it.

A second group, however, were given assignments which included questions requiring different techniques.

The results were impressive.

On a test one day later, the students who’d been using the interleaving method did 25% better.

But, when tested a month later, the interleaving method did 76% better.

Interleaving is useful in practicing sports.

It could also be useful in learning programming or learning a language.

One of the potential drawbacks of the technique is that it can feel harder at first.

Instead of concentrating on one skill at a time, you have to work on two or more.

But interleaving probably works because it forces the mind to work harder.

Instead of relying on learning a system and sticking with it, the mind has to keep searching and reaching for solutions.

The research was published in the Journal of Educational Psychology(Rohrer et al., 2015).

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