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.

Gelman, B.D., Gruber, M.J., and Ranganath, C. "States of Curiosity Modulate Hippocampus-Dependent Learning via the Dopaminergic Circuit." Neuron, 22 October 2014, 84(2): 486-496. Web. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuron.2014.08.060

Students who are eager to learn are more likely to remember what they have learned, something that the authors of this study demonstrate. They used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to show real-time connections between a person's curiosity about a specific topic, and the production of dopamine, the neurotransmitter associated with pleasure and the brain's reward system. The authors also concluded that a higher level of interest and curiosity in a topic or question leads to better memory and enhanced learning. Including exercises that stimulate curiosity, and providing reward mechanisms as part of the study process, also increases a person's ability to absorb and retain information, as the researchers found. 7spell has a text import feature that allows each user to include and incorporate practice material that matches their interests, while learning the spelling of words in those texts. The system also uses several different reward systems to encourage users to continue working towards their defined goals.

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.

Aug
2nd

Thesis Writing: 5 Things You Must Know (Guest Post)

Categories: PSAT/SAT and GED Tests, Spelling Resources, Tips and Tricks |


When you are writing your thesis, it is not uncommon to become overwhelmed by the sheer amount of organization and sections involved with the format. In order to keep you from feeling too much stress from the writing process of your thesis, we’ve gathered five tips of things you must know when you are writing.

Three Questions You Should Ask Yourself

When you are first formulating your thesis, there are three things you should ask yourself so make sure you are on the right track. Once you have gathered your thesis statement you should ask three questions. These three questions are:

1) Is my thesis statement general or specific? : You want to make sure that your thesis statement is very specific. Not only to make it clear and to the point, but a specific thesis statement will allow you to stay within the strict formatting. Getting to the point of your thesis is what the dissertation is about. If you make a statement that is too general you will not have success in sticking to the style format and explaining or proving your statement. An example of comparing specific and non-specific statements would be:

Non-Specific: “People are more likely to object to horror films than they did before.”

Specific: “The horror films of today do not provide audiences the same emotional catharsis as the horror films of the 1930’s-1950’s.”

2) Is my thesis statement clear? To be sure you are very clear with your thesis statement, follow these tips:

– Do not use technical language (unless your dissertation is based on a technical subject).
– Do not use jargon.
– Do not use words that are vague – (interesting, unusual, negative, exciting, difficult, etc.)
– Do not use abstract words – (culture, society, values, etc.)

Did I make sure my thesis is original? Originality is absolutely essential. In all cases you should avoid formula sentences and generic arguments.

Placing the Thesis Statement

While you will follow a specific structure, you need to be aware of the placement of the thesis statement. The purpose of the thesis statement will structure the entire dissertation. Your thesis statement should appear at the beginning. The statement should be in the introduction or the last sentence of the paragraph. You should also keep in mind that your thesis statement should be no more than two sentences long.

In addition, your thesis should not be a question. Thesis statements are designed to ask questions, not be one.

The Topic is Important

While it might seem obvious, you should be careful when choosing your topic. If you are writing an educational subject, make sure the topic is something you are very well versed in and have a lot of knowledge about. In contrast, if you are writing an objective dissertation, make sure that you choose a topic that you are passionate about.

Throughout the thesis, it is important to remember:

– do not bring in ideas or topics that will not be discussed.
– Do not write in first person
– Avoid being combative.

Strict Structure is a Must

Depending on the institution or department you are a part of will determine the style manuals that you can choose from. Most often your committee, board, or any other dissertation writing services will advise you to use the style that is most popular or most often used in your field of study. You should follow their guidance to ensure you start off writing your thesis in the correct format for your department.

Once you have chosen a style manual that is the structure you will need to follow throughout the entire thesis writing and formatting. It is absolutely vital to stick to the strict structuring in order to follow the guidelines of your department and for easy binding as well.

When you format your thesis the following items will need to be assured that they are in accordance to the manual style:

Font (styles and sizes)
Margins and spacing
Page numbering
Citations
Using tables, charts, pictures, etc.
Using bibliographies
Implementing a table of contents

In addition, you will need to follow the exact layout of the manual style you have chosen. For the most part, manual styles will provide a layout such as:

Cover or title page
Copyrights
Section of Acknowledgements
Table of Contents
List of any: charts, tables, illustrations, graphs, etc.
Preface – if you are using one
Actual text of your thesis (introduction, body paragraphs, conclusion)
Bibliographies
Appendices (if applicable)

Drafts and Reviews

When you are drafting your thesis it is not uncommon for your view to change slightly. This happens naturally as you learn more about the subject and discover more in your research. If you find this happening to you, adjust accordingly to ensure you do not stray from your original thesis with the supporting information in your paragraphs.

You will also write several drafts to make sure the final product is perfect. Along the way you need to make sure of:

Spelling errors
Grammatical errors
Overall flow of the dissertation
Making sure to connect ideas or facts appropriately so your thesis is not disjointed
Analyze your thesis to make sure you avoid mistakes that will weaken the thesis statement.

Once you have had the chance to draft your thesis and make adjustments accordingly, give yourself time to read it out loud. When you read it out loud, you will hear the flow of your thesis and it will be clear if it is making sense or is suddenly disjointed. Reading it out loud will also allow you to see the strength of your argument and you can adjust as needed. After you are sure you are happy with the final result, turn it in- and be sure to turn it in on time!


About the Author
Laura Carter has decent experience in educational field. Right now she works with dissertationwritingservices.org. She’s keen on academic, creative writing and passionate about language learning. Follow @carterlaura15 to hear more from her!