How Online Flashcards Use Science To Improve Revision and Learning
At one point or other, the majority of people will have to study for a test or learn a relatively large volume of information in a relatively short space of time. Whilst everybody has their own distinctive learning strategies, memory and education experts have discovered that some strategies of learning work better than others. The use of flashcards is just one of the strategies which industry learning experts have found to be successful. But why are flashcards successful, and how can we build on this success to create a useful educational tool in the eLearning environment.
Flashcards are usually designed to promote active recall. By using flashcards with a question on one side and the answer on the other, learners force themselves to try to recall the information. If they fail to do so, they are still able to review the necessary material. Scientists believe that attempting to recall information helps to build memory pathways and strengthen the memory. This will make it easier to recall the information at a later date. Some brands of online flashcards can build on this, by allowing learners to rate their understanding and recall of each individual card, meaning that they will be presented with the cards which they don’t understand more frequently, and they will review the cards which they do understand less frequently. This can help users to get a broader understanding of all aspects of a large topic rather than letting them focus on the areas which they find easiest.
One of the other reasons that flashcards are effective is that they utilize spaced repetition learning techniques. Memory studies have shown that spaced repetition is one of the best ways to build up memory and increase recall rates. By studying information again and again, at spaced intervals, learners are able to recall the information more readily when they are asked to. In order for spaced repetition to be most effective, learners should review material at increasing intervals. These studies have also shown that spaced repetition will help to build permanent memories; whereas mass information strategies, such as cramming, will result in most of the information being forgotten after a short period of time. eLearning (or online) flashcards are able to take better advantage of spaced repetition theories than handmade flashcards are, because online flashcards can be programmed using algorithms. These algorithms help to ensure that the learner is shown the flashcard at the opportune moment, allowing them to “top up” their memory at just the right time.
What more can online flashcards add to learning?
Online flashcards offer learners the chance to collaborate with their fellow students and share their resources. Whilst some flashcard users may feel nervous about lending their personal, handmade flashcards to a friend, online users can actually instantly send their flashcards to someone on the other side of the world, without having to worry about their flashcards getting broken, damaged or lost. Collaborative learning resources such as this can help to save students time and effort, whilst also helping to offer them a new perspective on the material at hand.
Using an online flashcard system also allows learners the chance to safely store their learning resources for use at a later date, for example retaining cards from a module exam for the end of year exam. Storing your resources safely online will prevent them from going missing, or getting mixed up with other sets of flashcards. Keeping your resources safe in this manner can really help you to achieve peace of mind regarding your learning.
Online flashcard systems take a successful learning strategy and build upon that strategy by utilizing the power of technology. Creating your own set of online flashcards may allow you to see for yourself how beneficial they could be for you or your students. Did you know that you can create online flashcards for free. You are more than welcome to check Cardkiwi.
Last but not least, I highly encourage you to check the following YouTube video where you will be to find out How to improve study results by 50% using spaced repetition and flashcards!