Whether you’re a first year college student or returning to pursue a doctorate, the ability to absorb specific knowledge within a given time frame is one of the key factors to educational success. Traditional methods such as cramming and memorization through the use of flashcards are often used, however these methods have serious shortcomings.
Fortunately for anyone with academic ambitions, Course Hero, a company founded in 2006 by Cornell University student Andrew Grauer, has improved the process of information retention. In addition to housing the largest collection of study documents online. Course Hero offers a program that combines established study techniques with a technology based system that enables students to learn more effectively. This unique method involves digital flashcards and a program called Optimal Learn, an online productivity tracker that helps students focus and stick to a study schedule.
“Flashcards are an age-old study tool that aren’t used to their greatest potential,” explains Andrew Grauer, CEO of Course Hero. “Digitizing flashcards–adding the ability to create, save, collaborate and share sets online—was the first step in improving the flashcard model. Now, with Optimal Learn, we’ve built a program that not only optimizes retention after a Course Hero flashcard study session, but also helps students stick to a productive study schedule.”
After a student selects a Course Hero flashcard group and specific time frame for learning to take place, Optimal Learn breaks down flashcard sets into manageable parts and schedules regular study sessions over a given period of time. Based on the theories of Spaced Repetition and the Learning Curve, this study program emphasise repetition and take advantage of natural memory cycles by reminding students to study at the key intervals that maximise retention. Each study session follows a format that alternates between review and mini-quizzes that track the student’s level of mastery as they learn. Course Hero Flashcards also incorporates a social badging framework that rewards students at key milestones.
This combination of digitized flashcards, scheduled study time and social rewards is an immensely powerful learning tool, and an exciting example of how technology can make the learning process more efficient and effective.