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Retention and Transference Statistics

The module specified that for information to be retained and transferred to long term memory, students must repeat the procedure 45 times and/or for 30 consecutive days. I would like to know what specific research supports these figures. I have heard variations on this and would like to be able to document the validity of these numbers by referring to the professional research source. Thanks.

Hi Sandra,
There are many different bodies of work in this area as well as my own research in changing behavior. I have been a professor and researcher in the area of human resource development for 30 years.
A general source we have used is Stephen Covey's "Seven Habits of Highly Effective People".
Some other sources we have used in our research are:
# Benefit, Ariane, M.S.Ed. "Mythbusting: Are New Habits Established in 21 Days?" Neat & Simple Living. June 20, 2007.
# Delude, Cathryn M. "Brain researchers explain why old habits die hard." MIT News. Oct. 19, 2005.
# Discipline: 30 Days to Form a New Habit. The Secret.
# The Essence Of Habit Formation. Self Improvement Mentor.
# Graybiel, AM. "Habits, rituals and the evaluative brain." Annu Rev Neurosci. 2008;31:359-87. PubMed.
# Ludington, Aileen, MD. "Habit formation: How to change." The Quiet Hour.
You make a good point about hearing different lengths of time to either add or eliminate a habit. Some researchers mention 21 days others talk about the 30 + 30 rule. Thirty days to acquire the new behavior and 30 days to reinforce it. The key is to find a span of time that is sufficient to acquire the desired behavior and to claim ownership of it. I have found that the 30 day time frame gives the most positive results with the people we work with.

I am not sure about the number but repitition does help. It does not have to be monotonous and bland. The repition of the skills and knowledge learnt in class can be repeted in a fun and varied ways so thye students don't even realize they are repeting it again and again. Viewing the same info from varied perspectives also makes it exciting and gives thenm the relevance of the topic.

Hi Asha,
Good point about how to deliver repetition opportunities. These opportunities can be done as games, groups, or competitions. No matter the fact is that the students are learning and/or demonstrating what they have learned and this is what it is all about.

Isn't it more important that the intensity or quality of the experience enables the learner to change habits or remember better, rather than just the number of repetitions of information?

Hi William,
It is dependent on the type of content and skill set that is being taught and learned. With the intensity and quality comes application which is acquired through repetition. So they all work together in combination for maximum student success.

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