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Spaced Effect Learning and Blunting the Forgetfulness Curve.

Medical education requires learners to absorb, retain, and apply vast amounts of information at every level of training. This process is constrained by the limitations of human memory, which were described by psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus as a "forgetfulness curve." As he explained, material encountered during a lecture or study session is typically lost rapidly over the ensuing days. Ebbinghaus' solution to this problem-spaced repetition-involves revisiting studied content at multiple, specifically selected time intervals to reinforce learning and facilitate long-term retention. Using question-based repetition, as opposed to passive reading/listening modalities, can help optimize this process. Spaced learning has been used for training in multiple fields including finance, management and technology development. It has also been utilized by medical students preparing for exams and by select residency training programs. This article examines the range of ways spaced repetition has been employed in medical education, with a focus on applications in Otolaryngology training. It also discusses possible future avenues for use of this system to improve long-term retention in Otolaryngology residency and beyond.

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