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.


Overcoming Spelling Problems by Unexpected Means

Categories: About Spelling, Spelling Resources |

Peter Lee

People’s capacity of proper spelling is inversely proportional to the increased use of computers for typing purposes. You might think that MS Word’s spelling suggestions make you better, but the reality is different: it makes you a passive typist who doesn’t care too much about proper spelling. When you try writing an essay by hand, you’ll notice that big words are really challenging to write correctly.

Do not despair! English spelling is difficult and no one will judge you for relying on software suggestions. There are some unexpected practices that can help you master this skill, so you will become better in typing and writing by hand at the same time.

          1) Identify the parts of words you commonly misspell

When you realize that you’re constantly misspelling a particular word, you’ll notice that you are making the same mistake with other words that contain the same part you misspell. That’s especially true when you type on a computer keyboard, simply because your fingers have developed a habit.

Pay attention to this pattern and you’ll be able to fight against it.  

          2) Rely on your visual memory!

You can’t spell complex words? Open the dictionary or write it in a notebook. Stare at the particular word you usually misspell. Look at it and remember what it looks like. Don’t try to find logic in the way the words are arranged; just try to remember the appearance of the written word. Visual memory is very powerful! When you write the word yourself, you’ll immediately notice if something is wrong.

          3) Try pronouncing it!

The previous technique was purely visual, but let’s include your logic for this one. If you suspect that a word you wrote is spelled incorrectly, try reading it aloud. Pay attention to each section of the word and don’t pronounce it as you remember it, but as you spelled it. This will give you a clue if you got things right.    

          4) Keep a dictionary!

This may seem like a silly practice for kids, but you’ll notice its effectiveness as soon as you start relying on it. When you notice that you misspelled a certain word, include it in your list. Write it correctly, and then note the mistake you made. You can leave some space to include other mistakes you might make in future. Keep this personal dictionary as a reminder of your flaws, as well as the progress you make.

          5) Practice in color!

Here is another childish method that’s really effective: write the syllables in different colors. You’ll notice that the same syllables are spelled identically in different words. For example, the syllable ter is present in different words, such as water, waiter, writer, etc. The first syllables of these examples are also present in different words. When you identify them by color, you won’t have trouble memorizing the way they are spelled.  

          6) Do not write in capital letters! Use cursive script!

Have you noticed that you’re writing the word in capital letters when you want to remind yourself about its proper spelling? Don’t do that! When you write it in this way, it won’t have the form that your mind needs to stick to. If you’re writing complex words in your notebook, use cursive script. The letters will flow and you’ll soon start writing them automatically. Of course, it takes a lot of practice before you get to that state.  

          7) Play games!

Gaming could be a very powerful technique in education in general according to essay writing blog ScholarAdvisor. So Scrabble, Word Pin, Boggle… there are awesome word games that you can play with friends. If you are a loner, solve crossword puzzles; they are great for learning proper spelling. You can also install different apps on your phone, so you’ll be able to practice whenever you feel like it.   

Unexpected Means Do Not Exclude the Traditional Rule: Practice!                

Remember: spelling skills don’t come naturally. No matter how many techniques you implement, you won’t achieve success if you try them only once. Playing a game of Scrabble won’t make you a spelling expert, but a lot of practice and commitment certainly will.

If you write and type as much as you can, you’ll be able to spot the most common mistakes and fix the patterns in your brain that are causing you to repeat them. Reading is also important! Instead of learning new words by using the dictionary, you’ll boost your vocabulary much more effectively by reading books, magazines, and newspapers.      

Author’s Bio

Peter Lee is a web-developer and freelance writer for essay writing service ScholarAdvisor. He’s very keen on researching writing, digital tools, modern education issues

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