School is been shown to be a little… slow… at teaching people how to do things, and part of why is because things are not repeated when they need to be.
A great example of this is learning languages. The best reason to take a language in school is if you already speak it and need the credits for free, because simply taking the language at school is guaranteed to be a waste of your hours. Most people walk out of a 5 year language class unable to speak what they just spent 5 years “learning”.
One of the best things to come out to fix that, although it is not being used in schools, is Spaced Repetition Systems. By using those, you are given the information once, then again a few days later, then again a few days later after that. Studies have shown exactly which paces the human brain ‘likes’ the most to be able to learn the fastest.
The top four systems are Anki, Mnemosyne, Skritter, and SuperMemo.
1. Anki is an open source program that is free on your computer and on an Android. Unfortunately, the iPhone version is $25.00.
Anki will let you study all kinds of things, from memorizing long poems to learning your geography to learning people’s names and faces to studying for exams to languages, either ‘natural’ languages or computer languages, to just about anything else.
The word comes from the Japanese word for “memorizing” and it wokrs on the droid, online, and if you pay for it, iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.
2. Mnemosyne is free on everything, open source.
It is a program that lets you design your own flash cars, and then flicks them out for you at the right times, according to research on the way the human long-term memory works, so you remember them for longer than you would otherwise.
It is based on early versions of SuperMemo’s algorithm, with a few tweaks.
3. SuperMemo is the original, and it still really useful, but only if you are using it on Windows. If you want to use it on some other platform, you’re out of luck. It can be run on freeware.
There are two reasons why Spaced Repetition software might not work very well. One of them is disuse. You need to actually go out and use it. You can’t just set it up, do it once or twice, and then forget about your process.
The other is not setting up the flash cards the right way. If they are all about the same in difficulty, that can work really well. If they aren’t, especially with SuperMemo, then it will not work as well.
Anki and Mnemosyne both use the SM-2 algorithm because it has been shown to be a little more lenient if your cards are not all exactly uniform in difficulty–which is good, because you might have a reason to attach one concept from your studies but not another, throwing off the card “difficulty” before you really know that one card is “harder” than another.
Author Bio: Edwin is an avid writer and marketer currently writing on behalf of onlinerobotics.com – A top robotics education distance learning course. Edwin has a passion for finding great life hacks to improve productivity.