Spaced Repetition (SR) for Long-term Vocabulary Retention: When Exactly to Repeat?

Conference: The European Conference on Language Learning (ECLL2020)
Title: Spaced Repetition (SR) for Long-term Vocabulary Retention: When Exactly to Repeat?
Stream: Applied linguistics research
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation
Miguel Varela, Academic Bridge Program, Qatar


One of the most recurrent topics in education is the fact that learners tend to forget what they have learned rather quickly. Previous research studies have found that SR can indeed contribute to long-term retention of vocabulary. However, considering there are many variables involved, and since there is a lack of agreement among scholars of when to repeat exactly, SR has yet to be formally applied into educational programs. In this presentation, I will introduce a thirteen-month longitudinal study in which learners used SR to enhance their retention levels up to seventy days since the materials had last been rehearsed. Participants learned 100 Spanish words in eleven sessions every thirty days using flashcards for learning and were tested 30, 60, and 70 days after their last learning session to test retention. Results showed that participants obtained higher retention rates at the 30-day interval, with slightly lower levels at 60 days, dropping towards the 70 days. This suggests that repeating every thirty days could foster retention levels (at least) thirty days after the last learning session. This study took place in a L2 Spanish class in an international high school in Qatar, and its findings agree with the literature and seem to be applicable to any age range and any subject class.

Virtual Presentation