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.


Learning Spelling In A Fun Way To Promote Long-Term Memory

Categories: Spelling Resources, Tips and Tricks |

Can spelling improve your long-term memory? Perhaps. Spelling is a complex cognitive learning activity that brings together many brain functions. The speller has to be able to store information about a word in both short- and long-term memory; they have to know how to read and write the words; and they have to be able to learn to spell words correctly using phonological and etymological clues. Spelling is not just for children, obviously! Adults who are learning to spell new words can in fact boost their memory performance as this process exercises the brain.

Many people believe that since computers and other devices can spell or spellcheck for us then spelling should become less of a priority in schools. If an online app can trace and auto-correct your misspellings, why waste so many hours learning the difference between words such as “principle” and “principal”, or “effect” and “affect”? And do you really have to learn how to spell “lachrymose” to be successful?

7spell™, a software developed by self-development software company eReflect, helps people of all ages learn how to spell. The system is especially attractive to younger spellers because the software helps users to learn how to spell through a series of fun and learning-oriented games and activities. Spelling can improve long-term memory in children as well as adults, since in the process of learning how to spell a word the speller puts to work various cognitive processes, including those associated with language processing and information storing.

When a speller is learning to write down a word with its proper spelling, they are utilizing their kinesthetic and cognitive faculties to do so. Learning to spell is a demanding cognitive exercise, because the speller has to coordinate the senses of sight and sound as well as motor skills in order to learn how a word is pronounced, spelled, and written.

Making the connection between how the concept of a house is spelled “house” and pronounced “/hous/” and connecting that to the fact that spelling out the word means that the pen-holding hand has to go through the same motor sequence every time involves multiple areas of the brain. However, even this complex process is something that we start to master at a young age and at a fairly impressive rate. When we move onto more complex words, it’s even easier to understand the true role of long-term memory in developing spelling skills.

Which is the correct spelling?

“airloom” – “heirloom”

“alegance” –  “allegiance”

“crusifixion” –  “crucifiction”

“Leprecan” – “leprechaun”

You can practice these and many other words many times but unless you effectively store their orthography into your long-term memory, you will always be in doubt whether there’s a silent “h” in “rhyme” or not.

Spelling cements words into our long-term memory, and it allows us to store thousands of words in a photographic-like manner, so that when we chat or write these words down, we instantly understand how the sounds corresponds to letters and the letters to meaning.

Many parents fear that their children will find spelling difficult to learn, and that it can never be truly mastered. This is far from the truth, however. Spelling can be both quickly and easily mastered given the right tools and guidance are available to the speller.

State-of-the-art programs like 7spell™, that are based on the latest research and spelling technology, ensure the student becomes a proficient speller that adeptly utilizes all of the various cognitive faculties involved to ensure that accurate spelling is a skill that will stay with them for the rest of their life.

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