The SecEd Podcast: A teacher’s guide to retrieval practice

Written by: Pete Henshaw | Published:

This podcast considers how teachers can use test-enhanced learning – commonly known as retrieval practice – as well as spaced learning and interleaving techniques to help students remember and recall the information they are taught.

Retrieval practice uses strategies to test and boost students’ recall of information from memory; spaced learning involves distributing learning and retrieval opportunities over periods of time; interleaving involves switching between different ideas or problems within the same lesson.

Our experts define what these approaches looks like in the classroom and discuss the evidence and reasoning behind them.

We consider what kinds of activities work best, what to avoid, and offer tips on getting started. We look at key aspects like test difficulty, effective feedback, and addressing misconceptions.

We discuss how we can create the gaps required for spaced learning (it’s easier than you think!), how memory works, how many times students should encounter and recall information, and the “value-added” of interleaving (including which subjects or teaching objectives it best supports).

The podcast coincides with a new nine-article SecEd series focused on the key elements of test-enhanced learning and the implications for teaching practice. The first of these articles can be found via

The podcast is hosted by Pete Henshaw, editor, SecEd and our guests are:

  • Dr Tom Perry is Assistant Professor in the Education Studies Department at the University of Warwick. Dr Perry’s research and teaching are focused on the use of research and evidence to improve education policy and practice. He led the EEF’s July 2021 Cognitive Science Approaches in the Classroom Review:
  • Helen Webb works at Orchard Mead Academy in Leicester as a science teacher and professional coach. She has often written for us on themes relating to retrieval practice:
  • Kristian Still is deputy head academic at Boundary Oak School in Southampton. He is the author of SecEd's new series of nine articles looking at the nine elements of test-enhanced learning:

To hear other SecEd podcasts, or to subscribe for free to new editions, search for 'The SecEd Podcast' in your podcast streaming application of choice. Or visit

For details about The SecEd Podcast, or to suggest future topics, email editor Pete Henshaw at


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