The Importance of Interleaving

It’s been great to see more practice around interleaving during the last series of lesson visits. Interleaving refers to the sequencing learning tasks so that learning concepts are interspersed rather than being consecutive. This results in a more variable and challenging experience but is associated with benefits in terms of memory and transfer (Kang, 2016). 

A good way to visualise interleaving is below (ref. Impact):

Interleaving seems to be especially effective when differences between items are subtle (Carvalho and Goldstone, 2014). Bjork (2011) sees interleaving strategies as ‘desirable difficulties’, i.e. strategies that make learning more difficult, but in a way that is beneficial to learners.

We have seen some great practice in and around our college. The history team are using their KS4 homework system in Year 11 as a way to interleave learning from content covered in Year 10. A similar system is used in science, with their skills assessment tasks. Use of regular review every three lessons or so in RE and geography is causing students retrace and recall their understanding.

Our next round of CPL hubs (below), starting in December, will allow staff to develop sequences of learning that allow for interleaving and retrieval.

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