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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


Hashtags: A Revolution In Trending Topics

Categories: Spelling Resources, Tips and Tricks |

People love – and hate – hashtags. These linkable words in your tweets are the best way to lead people to your posts by using concepts and words you’re playing with in your Tweets and posts.

By putting a hashtag in front of a word, as in #summerfestivals, you’ll make it easy for people to click on this hashtag to quickly access a newsfeed of tweets that pertain to summer festivals – including your own posts and tweets.

Once they started to be widely used, it soon became evident how crucial hashtags are for brands and companies. Social media professionals learned to use hashtags’ searchability to boost brand awareness and create trending topics around their products and services. This technique is especially useful when it’s done in combination with something called “newsjacking.”

Take for example Germany’s recent World Cup victory. Adidas Football tweeted this message after Germany’s victory: “There’s only one way to win a #WorldCup: #allin”. By using this breaking news to link to the company’s website and news feed, Adidas Football made sure they were keeping the corporate brand in everyone’s mind, with a simple tweet that looks like a timely message of support and congratulations to the German national football team, rather than the advertising and brand messaging that it actually is.

Marketing moves like this are frequently applied by social media professionals, because they generate more followers and build wider recognition for brands.

Getting your timing right and linking to intriguing content are two important ingredients to make hashtags work for you. Needless to say, hashtags need to be properly spelled. Despite the lack of space between words, the spelling of those words needs to be correct in order for your hashtag to actually participate in the trending topic you’re trying to be part of.

If you accidentally write #greatful instead of #grateful, don’t expect much of an engagement with it, at least not connected to the topic you were aiming for.

Twitter is meant to be a place for witty, interesting ideas and conversations, and if you bring your corporate, serious voice to it, you are likely to drive new fans and existing clients away. Speak in your target demographics’ voice; speak in a language they use and understand. On the other hand, you need to avoid sounding  like you’re trying to be too hip or too urban, as it might sound exaggerated and fake. Keep the conversations casual with simple, direct language.

A/B Testing With Hashtags

The great thing about hashtags is that they allow you to try out different key concepts related to your brand. See what the most important and relevant keywords for your company are and play around with them on Twitter through hashtags.

Next, see how much and how frequently people are responding and engaging with each version, how many new followers you get thanks to them, and how your overall community reacts to them. If a keyword has too much competition, try out a different one with a different focus. Once you find the ones that engage your followers and create conversation, ensure you also integrate them in other social media related activities, including your landing page, your blogs, and your website.

Hashtags are a great way to take advantage of trending topics or create your very own viral topic that everyone will talk about on social media.

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