Tag Archives: Spaced repetition

A new spaced repetition app

16 Aug

Benny Lewis at Fluent in Three Months announces a new spaced repetition app for language learning, MosaLingua. I am a big fan of spaced repetition for memory improvement and I use Anki and Memrise everyday.

Unfortunately, MosaLingua is not available yet in my target languages so I am unable to provide a review, but if you are trying to learn English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Russian, or Portuguese you should check it out.

Spaced repetition at the Quantified Self

21 Sep

The most important technique for improving your learning and memory is spaced repetition. Here is a link to a series of videos about  spaced repetition at The Quantified Self.

1 Aug

In this video from The Quantified Self,  Steven Jonas does a good job of explaining spaced repetition software. Spaced repetition software represents the single greatest advance in memory improvement technology.

Spaced repetition at the Quantified Self

6 Jun

The Quantified Self has a post with many videos and links from the the Spaced Repetition breakout session at the 2014 Quantified Self Europe Conference.

Although the basic science date back to Hermman Ebbinghaus, modern spaced repetition technology now empowers a new generation of memory improvement techniques.



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Jeopardy! champions use Anki

15 Feb

Readers of this blog know that I am enthusiastic about spaced repetition software, such as Anki and Memrise, as a memory improvement technique.

In an interview with Mental Floss, Jeopardy Champion Arthur Chu describes his use of Anki:

“I used a program called Anki which uses a method called “spaced repetition.” It keeps track of where you’re doing well or poorly, and pushes you to study the flashcards you don’t know as well, until you develop an even knowledge base about a particular subject, and I just made flashcards for those specific things. I memorized all the world capitals, it wasn’t that hard once I had the flashcards and was using them every day. I memorized the US State Nicknames (they’re on Wikipedia), memorized the basic important facts about the 44 US Presidents.”

Here Chu describes his overall Jeopardy! strategy:

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Bjork on memory and the spacing effect

16 Nov

From GoCognitive, psychologist Robert Bjork explains the spacing effect on memory


How spaced repetition teaching works

7 Nov

Yesterday, I blogged about a study that compared spaced repetition teaching to standard instruction. Here is a pdf that describes, in detail, the teaching methods used in the study.

Here is brief overview from that document:

“A Spaced Learning session consists of three ‘inputs’ divided by 10-minute breaks, which students spend doing a simple activity such as dribbling a basketball or playing with modelling clay.

The first input is a lecture in which the teacher presents a large body of information, usually supported by a PowerPoint presentation. The second input focuses on recall, so students might be presented with the same PowerPoint presentation,now missing many key words, or they might carry out simple maths problems using the formulae presented in the first input. The final input focuses on understanding, so students should carry out a task that applies the knowledge or skills they have
just acquired.

This process of rapid structured repetition, separated by short breaks, embeds the information in the long- term memory.”

The pdf included links to videos of a spaced repetition instruction. After watching, I wondered if the instruction could be made even more effective by the use of guided notes.

Spaced repetition in education: Students learn four months worth of material in one hour

6 Nov

“The data suggest Spaced Learning is more efficient in comparison to standard teaching.”

That is the major finding of an important  paper by Kelley and Whatson that compares space repetition instruction to standard teaching.

Here is a chart presenting the dramatic results:


This chart shows that in their randomized experiment there was no significant difference between students who received standard teaching for four months and students who studied the same material for an hour using spaced repetition.

Here is their description of their results:

“The test data allowed a comparison of control group scores after four months teaching and experimental group scores after an hour of Spaced Learning. In Condition 1 there were a number of restrictions intended to limit the impact of prior learning in experimental groups. These groups were in an earlier academic year, tested nine months earlier than controls, and had not studied the first Biology course. The five day gap between learning through Spaced Learning and the test in effect eliminated STM accounting for test scores. Surprisingly, the experimental groups’ high-stakes test scores after an hour’s Spaced Learning were not significantly different from controls’ test scores after four months teaching”

I can not emphasize enough the importance of this work and suggest that you read the paper in its entirety.

For more on spaced repetition learning, and a chance to try it yourself, see my post about Memrise.

An overview of Memrise

8 Jul

I am going to make a bold prediction: spaced repetition software will revolutionize education. Merging the principles of memory first discovered by Hermann Ebbinghaus with sophisticated software now allows us to make difficult memory tasks and make them both easier and more efficient.

Let’s take the example of learning a foreign language vocabulary. Vocabulary learning may be the biggest hurdle for people learning a new language. Spaced repetition software allows you to master vocabulary with small amounts of daily practice. The most persuasive argument I can make here is experiential. I invite you to try Memrise.

Memrise is the brain child of memory grand master Ed Cooke. It is a well designed  online spaced repetition flashcard program.

To use Memrise first visit the homepage:


Click start and create a free account.

mem-log in

After you have created your account you can choose flash cards  from an astonishingly large list of languages and other topics.

mem languages available

Here is my dashboard page showing two of the  languages I am studying

my dashboard

Memrise use a garden metaphor to describe learning. “Planting” means adding words to the list you want to learn, while, “watering” refers to your daily review. To get the most out of Memrise you should plan to water everyday (a process that usually takes just a few minutes) and to plant when you feel ready to move onto to new material.

Everyday, Memrise will test you on some subset of your chosen words. It will do this either by fill in the blank questions or multiple choice.

question answer

The software will evaluate how well you know each word and decide when to ask you again. If you do not know a word it will schedule to ask you again very soon. If you do know a word it increases the interval before it repeats that question. This spaced repetition procedure is known to counteract forgetting.

Memrise also provides you with user generated mnemonics to help you lean words. At the end of each session it gives you a summary of your work for that day. There is a point system that serves as a motivator.

Since this is a web based service you can access Memrise from anywhere. Memrise now has smartphone apps available. Start building a better memory today!


Roger Craig explains Anki

1 Jul

Over at the Quantifies Self, Jeopardy champion Roger Craig describes Anki a spaced repetition flashcard program.

Anki is a powerful tool for committing large amounts of information to memory with very brief daily practice. I use Anki everyday and strongly recommend it.

Roger Craig – Spaced Repetition: A Cognitive QS Method for Knowledge Acquisition from Steven Dean on Vimeo.

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