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.


Twelve Words That Are Frequently Misspelled

Categories: About Spelling, Words That Are Hard to Spell | Tags:

When you make mistakes in a word’s spelling, there are many possible outcomes, and none to your advantage. If you’re a student, you might get marked down for those errors and get a lower grade. If you’re writing a business letter or other communication that is shared with other employees or clients, the people reading those documents will wonder if you truly know the meaning of the words you’ve misspelled, and may begin to doubt your competence. Worst of all, if you’ve misspelled words in a letter of application or your resume or CV, you might miss your chance at that job in the first place.

With that in mind, we encourage you to check your spelling as part of any review you do on a document before it leaves your hand. Don’t rely on the computer’s spell-check program! The computer won’t know the difference between their and there, and even the simplest mistake will draw attention away from the content of your writing. We’ve collected twelve words that often cause the most problems for people, and hope that you’ll take the time to memorize their spelling. If you’re studying for the GED or for a college entrance examination, you’ll undoubtedly encounter at least half of these words on those tests.

Practice spelling out the words several times to allow your muscle memory to assist the process of committing these words to memory. If you are unsure of the word’s definition, look it up, and come up with at least one sentence using the word. Finally, make sure you know the correct pronunciation of each word. People who don’t know how to pronounce a word are more likely to misspell it.

Remember that there is A RAT in separate.

Pronunciation is key here: say PRO-bab-ly, not PROB-ly, and you’ll get it right.

Again, if you know this word is pronounced TEM-per-a-ture, instead of TEM-pra-ture, you’ll avoid making a mistake in spelling it.

The SC combination often confuses people, but if you remember that the word SCIENCE is the last part of this word, it will help you spell it correctly.

Practice spelling this word, paying close attention to the ICI cluster in the middle.

Don’t forget there’s a C after the A in this word; this causes problems for many people because it’s not pronounced separately from the Q.

Here’s another cluster to watch for: make sure you include ILI in the middle of the word, and give the words its correct pronunciation of aux-I-li-ary.

One more tricky cluster in this word – watch out for the OUO sequence at the end.

This word is pronounced like the word KERNEL, but its spelling is different. Study both words and make sure you can use them correctly in context.

Remember to double the R in this word.

The double M in this word is important.

PHL is pronounced like FL in this word, but don’t spell it that way. Words like this with three or more consonants in a row are difficult to spell, but once you’ve learned them, almost impossible to forget.

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