Research by Storm and Stone of UCSD, summarized by Science Daily (See full citation below) suggests that the process can be improved significantly by the learner employing an optimal filing system, one that allows "offloading" work done but with clear pathways back for future reference. What they found was that as long as subjects had confidence that the material learned remained accessible, their ability to go on learn new material was significantly better. If not, performance was equal to that of the control group.
Just for fun, ask your students to show you their pronunciation notes sometime . . .
There are on the market several language learning-specific apps for learning vocabulary, etc., but our experience is that most any word processor with companion filing system will work. As long as students are trained in how to practice, how much and when--and how to file it--the "savings" should be substantial! Nothing complicated, just hierarchically organized folders with "memorable" names!
A forthcoming blogpost will detail some of the alternatives that we have found productive. In the meantime, keep in touch--and clean up all that useless clutter on your hard drive!
Association for Psychological Science. (2014, December 10). Saving old information can boost memory for new information. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 14, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/12/141210080740.htm