Ideal review intervals for memorization?

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Nigel Chapman
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Ideal review intervals for memorization?

Post by Nigel Chapman » June 4th, 2011, 10:29 pm

Say I want to memorise unfamiliar words, then review them at appropriate intervals over time so that the learning is reinforced. I set up software for this purpose, so it prompts me on specific days for specific words.

Which of the following patterns of days would be best? Assume that the software could apply a multiplier for notably gifted or obtuse pupils; I'm curious about the best general pattern.

a) 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64

b) 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 14, 28, 56

c) 1, 2, 4, 5, 12, 13, 21, 22

d) 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 15, 16, 28, 29, 49, 50

For extra marks, is your answer justified theoretically, anecdotally or experimentally?
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"When eras die their legacies are left to strange police." -- Clarence Day
Nigel Chapman | http://chapman.id.au

JBarach-Sr
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Re: Ideal review intervals for memorization?

Post by JBarach-Sr » June 4th, 2011, 11:45 pm

Use prime number sequence:
1,2,3,5,7,11,13,17,19,23,29,31,37,41,43, etc.
The gap gets wider as you progress
Cheers,
John Barach, Sr.
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καὶ ἀνέγνωσαν ἐν βιβλίῳ νόμου τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ ἐδίδασκεν Εσδρας καὶ διέστελλεν ἐν ἐπιστήμῃ κυρίου καὶ συνῆκεν ὁ λαὸς ἐν τῇ ἀναγνώσει. (Neh. 8:8)
[url]http://www.GreekDoc.com/lxx/neh/neh08.html[/url]

Bob Nyberg
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Re: Ideal review intervals for memorization?

Post by Bob Nyberg » June 5th, 2011, 9:20 am

Nigel,

I teach at a language school for missionaries. Our folks memorize practical expressions and dialogues/monologues.

One review schedule that was popular was a similar to (a). If you felt like you didn’t know something, you could always bump it back in the sequence so that you could review it more often.

Back in the 1980’s, before personal computers were in vogue, our folks would use a file box to organize the language material that they were learning/reviewing.

A review schedule that was used with the file box went something like this:

Section One: Language that was reviewed every day. This included language that I was just learning or did not know very well. When I had something down I would move it to the next section.

Section Two: Language that was reviewed once a week. This section was subdivided by the days of the week. You could take weekends off if you liked.

Section Three: Language that was reviewed once a month.

Again, you could always bump things back that you were missing.

I think that a lot of our missionaries found these systems to be helpful.

Bob
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Bob Nyberg
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Re: Ideal review intervals for memorization?

Post by Bob Nyberg » June 5th, 2011, 4:09 pm

I use Bill Mounce’s FlashWorks program for reviewing vocabulary. But, in my opinion, you really need some kind of a review schedule to make it work. Here’s a review schedule that I use with FlashWorks:

http://cid-8916fcbd91d7e70e.office.live ... hedule.pdf

Bob
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Ken M. Penner
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Re: Ideal review intervals for memorization?

Post by Ken M. Penner » June 6th, 2011, 9:47 am

I've done some thinking and experimenting with review intervals, as I developed and use Flash! Pro vocabulary memorization software.
In theory, the most effective review schedule is one in which you review a word just before you are about to forget it. But how do you estimate when that will be?
In practice, the most effective review schedule I've found is to review those flash cards that I have not got right for a period of time longer than the time between the last time right and the last time wrong. So to answer your question, that would be the 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32 pattern, assuming you get it right each time. Get it wrong, and you return back to 1.

In Flash! Pro, this drill type is called "Elapsed Time," and its search expression looks like this:
((Now-DateLastRight)>(DateLastRight-DateLastWrong))

Again, this is the search expression that selects words for which the time since you last got it right
exceeds the time between when you last got it wrong and the time you last
got it right. To illustrate:
Say I drill a bunch of cards including "logos" for the first time at 12:00.
I get it wrong.
After the drilling session is over, and I get returned to the select tab,
"logos" immediately gets selected again.
I drill the bunch again (it is now 12:05). I get it right this time. It has
been 5 minutes between wrong and right.
Back at the select tab at 12:08, "logos" does not get selected. It has only
been 3 minutes since right; less than the 5 between wrong and right. I drill
some other cards.
Back to the select tab at 12:11. "logos" gets selected because it has now
been 6 minutes since I got it right; more than the 5 between wrong and
right. I drill it and some other cards; I get it right again. Now it is 11
minutes between wrong and right.
Back to the select tab at 12:14. It is not selected. 12:17: not. 12:20: not.
12:23: yes; it has been 12 minutes since right; more than the 11 between
right and wrong. I get it right again. I stop drilling for the day.
The next day, "logos" get selected. I get it right. It won't appear again
until tomorrow.
If I get it wrong even once, the process starts over as if I never knew it.
As it should.
I find this formula brings up the card just as I am on the verge of
forgetting it, for the most efficient use of memorization time.
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Ken M. Penner
St. Francis Xavier University

Paul-Nitz
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Re: Ideal review intervals for memorization?

Post by Paul-Nitz » June 12th, 2011, 8:42 am

You are asking about an interval of days. But there is very interesting research on how the brain learns that suggests that we should pay more attention to intervals AS we learn.

Study Session Intervals
The "Spaced Learning" theory holds that the brain does as much work in rest as in concentrated study. Brain research has also confirmed that we can only concentrate deeply for about 10 minutes.

This suggests that with an intensive task such as memorization, we should study a chunk of information for 10 minutes, do something entirely unrelated for 10 minutes. Repeat this pattern 2 more times studying the very same chunk of information. Whatever you do during the rest segments should be entirely unrelated and preferably physical (sport, physical hobby, cleaning, etc).

Sources:
  • -Search web for "Spaced Learning." Monkseaton school in UK has an interesting study.
    -Other comments taken from Sousa's book - How the Brain Learns.
    -I've also tested this pattern of spaced learning with a class and when studying Buth's materials (BTW, my only beef with Buth's course so far is that the lesson segments are too long to maintain concentration - 11-19 min).

Interval of Days
As for an interval of days, I'd suggest: Seven days in a row, then once a week. See link below.

Source:
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Paul D. Nitz - Lilongwe Malawi

NathanSmith
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Re: Ideal review intervals for memorization?

Post by NathanSmith » June 20th, 2011, 12:55 am

As long as people are mentioning software, I'll provide a quick plug for my friend James Tauber's (of MorphGNT fame) Quisition memorization webapp. It comes with many different "packs" of flashcards (most notably including NT Greek vocabulary), and you can also create your own packs. I was looking for some documentation on how Quisitions reminders are scheduled, but I have not been able to find anything. Once the flashcards are initially memorized, they are placed in a maintenance pool which is periodically tested. Anyway, check it out.
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Jonathan Robie
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Re: Ideal review intervals for memorization?

Post by Jonathan Robie » June 20th, 2011, 8:58 am

I've been using Mnemosyne, which is widely available for free, and I really like it. Anki is another widely available free flashcard program.
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David Lim
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Re: Ideal review intervals for memorization?

Post by David Lim » June 21st, 2011, 3:33 am

JBarach-Sr wrote:Use prime number sequence:
1,2,3,5,7,11,13,17,19,23,29,31,37,41,43, etc.
The gap gets wider as you progress
Cheers,
John Barach, Sr.
Unfortunately, the n-th prime number is approximately (n ln n), which means that after two years you still need to review each word every week. ;) In my own experience I remember a word best if at some point in time I see it and know that I have seen it before but just cannot remember it or figure it out from the context and need to check it up.
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δαυιδ λιμ

Nigel Chapman
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Re: Ideal review intervals for memorization?

Post by Nigel Chapman » July 2nd, 2011, 3:30 am

Here we go. A random encounter with some Russians at a Jazz gig put me onto the research I'd assumed was out there... It's called "Spaced Repetition" or more precisely "Graduated Repetition".
5 seconds, 25 seconds, 2 minutes, 10 minutes, 1 hour, 5 hours, 1 day, 5 days, 25 days, 4 months, 2 years.


This is the Plimseur Learning System set of intervals. I'd suspected that smaller time intervals than days were important, but not quite to this extent.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spaced_repetition
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"When eras die their legacies are left to strange police." -- Clarence Day
Nigel Chapman | http://chapman.id.au

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