The Science

7spell is scientifically designed, and utilizes principles based on decades of research in learning, retention, and psychology. Here is a summary of the theory and research behind 7spell's effectiveness.

Craik, F., and Tulving, E. "Depth of processing and the retention of words in episodic memory." Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, Vol 104(3) (1975): 268-294. Print and PDF. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0096-3445.104.3.268

In this seminal study performed at the University of Toronto, Canada, the authors performed a series of tests in which they gave the study participants a sequence of words to learn, with information related to each word as it appeared in order. They discovered that when the information provided stimulated the participant's brain to process the word on a more involved level (referred to as "deep encoding" or "degree of elaboration" in the study), that word was more effectively learned and remembered. With 7spell, the user is given a wide range of additional information about each spelling word, including the word's definition - one of the key factors in enhanced memory, according to this study - as well as usage examples, synonyms, and antonyms.

Garcia, S.M., Tor, A., and Schiff, T.M. "The Psychology of Competition: A Social Comparison Perspective." Perspectives on Psychological Science, November 2013, 8(6):634-650. Print and web. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1745691613504114

Each person is influenced by a unique set of factors related to their own status and progress towards goals, but is also affected to a greater or lesser degree by the achievements and perceived standards of the people around them. This analysis of past and current studies looks at the way people view and are motivated by individual goals as well as societal achievement (competition). The authors conclude that effective use of motivational strategies must take both into account. This is something that 7spell accomplishes by providing each user with the ability to set personal goals, earn reward points, and view their own progress tracking reports, and also to publish all of those results on public social media platforms.

Kivetz, R., Urminsky, O., and Zheng, Y. "The Goal-Gradient Hypothesis Resurrected: Purchase Acceleration, Illusionary Goal Progress, and Customer Retention." Journal of Marketing Research, February 2006, 43(1):39-58. Web. http://dx.doi.org/10.1509/jmkr.43.1.39

In a study focusing on the influence of reward-scheme programs on behavior, the authors found that when people see visible progress towards their goals they are more likely to increase the activity required to reach those goals. The study also confirms that most people are also motivated by receiving rewards for completing specific activities, even if those rewards are not immediately transferable to actual material or monetary benefits. Status points, rewards, and real-time progress tracking are all methods used in 7spell to encourage frequent spelling practice by awarding points for the completion of exercises and activities. Because the user can access their progress charts at any time, they will always be able to see how close they are to achieving their personal spelling goals.

Buton, M., Winterbauer, N., and Todd, T. "Relapse processes after the extinction of instrumental learning: Renewal, resurgence, and reacquisition." Behavioural Processes, May 2012, 90(1): 130–141. Print and web. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.beproc.2012.03.004

Instrumental learning, also called "operant conditioning," is a method by which behaviors are learned in connection with a stimulus, a reward, or both. In this research done at the University of Vermont, the authors studied the ways in which the information connected to a specific behavior is retained when the stimulus is removed, and how subsequent repetition or reward reinforces information recall and a resumption of previously learned behaviors. They conclude that there are two primary methods of reinforcing active memory and behavior: by creating a different way to test the subject's memory, and by providing the opportunity for intensive focused repetition of that stimulus-behavior response. These two methods are widely used in the 7spell activities and games to create the link between instruction and memory that is so crucial in effective spelling learning on the student's part.

Xue, G., Mei, L., Chen, C., Lu, Z-L., Poldrack, R., Dong, Q. "Spaced Learning Enhances Subsequent Recognition Memory by Reducing Neural Repetition Suppression." Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 2011;23(7):1624-1633. Print and web. http://doi:10.1162/jocn.2010.21532

In this study comparing long-term and short-term memory, the study authors tested the neural activity of participants as they memorized a set of images. Half of the study participants used massed learning techniques, in which each new image was presented multiple times in a row; the other half were given the images in a spaced repetition mode, where the images were shown in alternating order. Although each participant saw each image the same number of times, the people in the spaced-repetition exercise were able to accurately remember more images, and for a longer period of time. Repetition is a key technique in learning spelling, and 7spell incorporates spaced repetition in two ways. First, the system uses randomized selection of spelling words from the user's current list to populate the activities and exercises, ensuring an interval between word reviews. Second, the system's Word Discover feature provides pop-up instant review of the words on that list, again in random order. By providing users with multiple opportunities throughout the day to read and review their words, 7spell provides all of the benefits of the spaced repetition methodology in its spelling instruction.

Blocki, J., Cranor, L., Datta, A., and Komanduri, S. "Spaced Repetition and Mnemonics Enable Recall of Multiple Strong Passwords." Cornell University Library, January 3, 2015. PDF. http://arxiv.org/abs/1410.1490v2

Spaced repetition is a memory training tool that relies on frequent and consistent review of information; mnemonics is a memory technique that involves multiple ways of looking at that information, such as the incorporation of images or story lines. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University focused on the combination of spaced repetition and mnemonics in evaluating how best to train people to remember specific pieces of information: computer passwords. They found that by combining the two methodologies, the results in both ease of learning and retention were increased. 7spell uses each method separately and together to help users learn and remember new spelling words by using the same words in multiple exercises, presenting spelling words in a variety of formats, and encouraging users to add information related to each word to make a personal connection that helps them to remember that word and its correct spelling.

Jun
16th

10 Useful Websites For A Smarter You

Categories: Spelling Resources |

Do you think you know everything? If you answered “yes,” then you can stop reading! But if like most people you answered “no,” here are 10 websites you should bookmark.

These websites are brimming with fascinating facts, motivating articles to improve your skills, and lots of ideas on how to channel your creativity and innovative thinking into your work and personal life. Yes, it’s high time you stopped looking at cat videos all day long.

Freerice

How often do you get a chance to improve upon a crucial life skill and at the same time contribute to society as a whole? Freerice lets you have your cake and eat it too. Freerice lets you improve your vocabulary, and for each correct answer you get, the company donates 10 rice grains through the World Food Programme. Cool, right?

Gibbon

Forget YouTube hits playlists. Gibbon is the self-learning playlist many people swear by. With Gibbon you can collect various articles, videos, and other types of content under a particular theme or category. Think of it as the Pinterest for self-improvement. You can learn virtually anything under the sun, from how to code to getting into the basics of 3D printing.

Lumosity

Ever think your memory could use a boost? Lumosity is the site you want to head to. It’s a science-based game website that exercises your brain. From memory and verbal fluency to spatial skills and attention performance, Lumosity ensures you don’t lose your edge.

Khan Academy

This is your chance to master a subject you were too sleepy to wake up in college in order to attend. Khan Academy offers a multitude of courses, including Math, Science, Computing and Microeconomics, just to name a few.

Nerd’s Fitness

A CrossFit junkie goes to the gym, but where does a nerd go to? Nerd’s Fitness. This website is for the geek in every one of us. There’s no such thing as being too devoted about your body and your health,  and that’s why Nerd’s Fitness exists. It gives you informative articles and how-to’s on getting fitter and stronger – and always from a nerdy viewpoint. Their number one rule: We don’t care where you’re coming from, only where you’re going.

Information is Beautiful

This website uses the magic of visuals to represent interesting information. We must agree, information never looked so appealing before. You can get data visualized on everything, from who rules the world,to figuring out the potential tax revenue if drugs were legally sold.

Elite Daily

Self-proclaimed as “The Voice of Generation Y,” Elite Daily should be your browser home page. You can read anything about and for Generation Y, or find great tips on how to improve your skills and master new qualifications. Plenty of cute, inspirational content is always available too.

TED

Attending star-studded seminars doesn’t need to cost you a fortune. TED brings them all to you for free. TED shares  the best stories and ventures right on your screen; you can watch inspiring videos on initiatives that seek to change our thinking, our world, and our future.

Unplug the TV

This website lets you shun the urge to sit on your couch passively watching whatever’s on TV. “Unplug the TV” recommends interesting videos you can seek out and watch on your computer or device. Once you start using these links, we can confidently say there will be no more NCIS reruns for you!

The World FactBook

Get mind-blowing facts about your own and other countries, and you will have ample conversation starters for the next office cocktail party!

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