This is really exciting stuff. In my own little way, I’ve been trying to spread the word about SRS (spaced repetition systems) as tools since a man named Chris Houser first told me about SuperMemo way back in 2004. As one quite aptly titled psychology paper put it, the fact that not every student with access to a computer uses an SRS in her learning is a massive “Failure to Apply the Results of Psychological Research”.
There are a lot of gems in that Wired article. Like this one:
We associate intelligence with pure talent, and academic learning with educational experiences dating far back in life. To master a difficult language, to become expert in a technical field, to make a scientific contribution in a new area — these seem like rare things. And so they are, but perhaps not for the reason we assume.
And this one:
Extreme knowledge is not something for which he programs a computer but for which his computer is programming him.
And this one that so succinctly captures the beauty of the SRS:
provably linking the distant future — when we will know so much — to the few minutes we devote to studying today
And, finally, this one, for all you serial crammers out there. You know who you are.
He wasn’t just trying to pass his exams; he was trying to learn.
The SRS offers a way to actually remember all that stuff you learn, while doing less work than you’re now doing. Sounds like snake oil, I know, but it’s not…it’s just…a more efficient way of doing things.
So to all of you still sitting on the SRS fence — let go of your “talent” fetish/superstition and come play!