Spaced Repetition of Practice

Codecademy Team
In this article we break down the science of spaced repetition of practice

Maximize your progress with spaced repetition of practice

Here at Codecademy, our aim is to help you reach your goals. Whether you’re learning a new skill — or landing a new job — we’ll teach you the concepts, ideas, and languages you need. But practicing on your own is important too, so you can retain everything you’re learning. That’s where personalized practice packs come in, based on the science of spaced repetition.

How does spaced repetition work?

Have you ever crammed for an exam? If so, you likely forgot what you learned not long after the test. That’s because you aren’t taking advantage of the spacing effect — a finding that study sessions are more effective when they’re spaced out over time.

Spaced repetition is a learning technique that uses the spacing effect to help you retain more of what you’re learning. It involves reintroducing concepts at intervals, based on how well you’re retaining the information.

Instead of cramming a ton of concepts all at once, it’s more effective long-term to resurface topics over time. This effect was discovered by German psychologist Dr. Ebbinghaus who documented how we forget things like languages over time and theorized that we can reset this process through repeated active recall. If we actively interrupt this forgetting process at the right time in the right way, we retain knowledge longer and flatten the “forgetting curve“.

Spaced repetition

What are personalized practice packs?

Spaced repetition has had a great deal of scientific study since the 1970s, spawning many techniques. You may be familiar with one simple study method from school - the Leitner system - where you would order flashcards based on your performance. If you got something right, you moved it back in the deck to see less often, but if you got it wrong, you brought it to the front.

The Leitner system for flash cards

Personalized practice packs help you get the most out of your practice sessions in a similar way. We use your learning data and the spaced repetition technique to algorithmically figure out what you need to practice and when. Then, we curate practice questions based on your individual progress.

You’ll find your personalized practice at the top of your path or course syllabus page. Once you’ve learned a new concept and our algorithm judges that it’s a good time to practice, you’ll be able to start. The more you practice, the smarter the recommendations become.

How do personalized practice packs work?

Personalized practice packs for Codecademy Pro learners are designed to make your practice more efficient, using a modified version of the Leitner system. We’ll save you time by weaving what you need to learn into your journey so you can remember what you’re learning long term. The things you need more work on, you’ll see more often in your practice. As you become more knowledgeable about specific topics, we’ll surface them less often. No need to try to remember what you might be forgetting, we’ve got you covered.

Leitner system animated

We keep track of your learning progress, even tracking individual facts you encounter for extreme precision, and bring them back to you based on your chronological, correctness, and completeness data. Every time you load up a smart practice session, you’ll see exactly why we’ve generated that pack for you.

Now, get out there and start practicing!