SuperMemo 8 for Windows is a program for computer-assisted learning. It uses a number of recently developed technologies that make the learning process more effective. It can be used by individual learners or by learning systems authors. It provides all authoring abilities needed to develop attractive and effective interactive hypermedia courseware and presentations.
The most important technologies used in SuperMemo 8:
- repetition spacing - SuperMemo 8 implements repetition spacing, a modern speed-learning method based on computing optimum intervals between repetitions. This methods greatly increases the speed of learning new material and practically eliminates the problem of forgetting. This technology is proprietary to SuperMemo World and has been the mainstay of its success over the last seven years.
- active recall - SuperMemo 8 makes it easy to properly represent material used in learning and allows the user to create simple quiz elements based on active recall. For example, question-and-answer pairs, spelling tests, pronunciation tests, drag-and-drop tests, multiple choice tests, mind maps, programmed learning procedures, and many more
- mnemonic hypermedia - SuperMemo 8 combines all popular computer data formats such as graphics, sound, animation, video, etc. These formats are enhanced by programmability with interpreted scripts and binary components developed for procedural learning (EXE and DLL formats). All elements taking part in learning are placed in a tree structure called the knowledge hierarchy that simplifies the knowledge access and navigation. Last but not least, all components, including sounds, graphics, etc. can be hyperlinked with other sections of the learned material.
- linear and selective learning modes - learning can proceed in the sequence programmed by the author of the course or in the sequence chosen by the student (e.g. pick-and-learn mode, find-and-learn mode, random learning, etc.).
- dual knowledge representation approach - there is a strict by-definition division between knowledge that is used for learning, and knowledge that is used for rehearsing the learned material. In addition, knowledge used only as reference or comment can also be included in the course.
- processing attributes - all portions of material used in learning are clearly marked as: (1) reference material, (2) unprocessed learning material (sorted for learning priority), (3) processed material (sorted for the priority of rehearsal). The program provides rich statistics that illustrate the student's progress in processing individual sections of the material.
The general steps in using SuperMemo 8:
- the authors create collections of pages containing the learned material (these pages can include questions-and-answers, graphics, video, special exercises, reference material, executable modules, hyperlinks, mind maps, and many more)
- (optionally) the authors build knowledge hierarchy by organizing all pages into a tree structure (this tree can also be used to automatically generate the learning scenario)
- (optionally) if there is a larger group of students or customers, the teacher or students themselves create a subset copy of the learning system for individual use by each student (including learning statistics, editable material, individual comments and annotations, etc.). An alternative solution is to replicate the learning material on CD-ROM media (see SuperMemo Store for examples of commercial systems distributed with SuperMemo)
- the students proceed with learning. The program is armed with a feature for hiding the authoring shell behind the learned course. In this way, the student can practically go through the entire course by knowing only the functions of buttons Learn (start learning) and Next repetition (go to the next presentation or exercise).
Note: there is no compilation stage before releasing a course in SuperMemo 8. Indeed, the author can give the students a free hand to expand and/or improve upon the system!
SuperMemo 8 is also ideally suited for self-learning. In such a case, all complexities of the program can be circumvented by choosing only two options: (1) Add a new item which adds a new question-answer pair to the system, and (2) Learn which rehearses the introduced material. Indeed, this mode has made SuperMemo one of the most popular software applications ever developed on Polish soil
The list of most prominent features implemented in SuperMemo 8.
- Standard features of SuperMemo also found in earlier implementations (SuperMemo 8 is
a superset of SuperMemo 7 for Windows):
- possibility of creating independently named bodies of learning material, the so-called knowledge systems (earlier simply called databases)
- repetition spacing algorithm, widely known as the SuperMemo method, used in computing optimum intervals between repetitions in the process of learning
- comprehensive statistics for supervising the learning process including: daily and monthly calendar of repetitions, average number of items to repeat per day, average repetition time, expected number of future repetitions, difficulty distributions, inter-repetition interval distributions, etc.
- tools for managing the learning process such as: selective memorizing and resetting individual elements, rescheduling outstanding repetitions, etc.
- various element browsers (for memorized items, difficult items, item subset, items selected by an item filter, etc.)
- element editing tools such as clipboard operations, duplicating elements, etc.
- knowledge system management tools such as Copy, Delete, Move, Transfer, Export, Import, etc.
- fast searching for text substrings, search-and-replace, etc.
- recovery procedure for rescuing corrupted files
- Novel features of SuperMemo 8 (not found in earlier implementations):
- modern interface (MDI, toolbars, tabbed notebooks, pop-up menus, hints, Tip of Day on start-up, context-sensitive help, configurability, configuration auto-save, etc.)
- hypermedia (sound, graphics, animation, video, scripting, binary components, etc.) and all tools for composing learning elements and changing properties of individual components (e.g. hyperlinks, registry associations, color, font, size, alignment, sound, video subsections, scripts, and many more)
- standard navigation tools (Contents, Search, Back, Forward, History, etc.)
- knowledge that can be organized in a tree structure called the knowledge hierarchy. A number of tools can be used to operate only on selected branches of the knowledge hierarchy
- maintaining objects registries with fast access to all objects in the system such as: texts, words, image files, fonts, scripts, programs, translation strings, transcriptions, etc. including access to all elements that use particular objects. All registries, including the full lexicon are updated on-the-fly (i.e. there is no separate build operation). Registries are editable
- possibility of hiding the authoring shell of SuperMemo behind the course (this exposes the student to the simplest interface possible). Including read-only and learn-only modes in addition to full-access mode (for an illustration of an exemplary interface produced with SuperMemo 8 see pictures at Deine Chancen in Deutsch)
- practically unlimited number of elements that can be stored in the system
- tools for easily releasing courseware and presentations on CD-ROM (including a separately available, favorable license for SuperMemo 8 itself)
- greatly improved repetition spacing algorithm (also licensable for software developers as a separate DLL module)
- easy import from databases created with SuperMemo 7
- export and import of the learning process alone
- Specialist features in SuperMemo 8:
- programmability (knowledge systems can be extended by scripts and programmed components written in any programming language)
- automatic student testing
- user-defined degree of attention given to individual elements or entire branches in knowledge hierarchy. By changing the so-called forgetting index, the probability of forgetting for all individual elements can be controlled!
- element templates used for quick creating of a large number of pages designed along the same style
- interactive translation of the entire course to other languages and translation of the program's interface (the translation strings are kept in a translation registry like all other objects in the system)
- customizable sound feedback at learning
- tools for creating lexical databases associated with a given course
- random learning and random review in the knowledge system, in browser and in registries
- great number of new statistical parameters documenting the progress of the learning process
- debugging version makes it easier to spot bugs in the system
- and many many more
- 486 DX
- 4 MB RAM (8 MB recommended)
- 2.5 MB hard disk space (more will be needed for your knowledge system you intend to develop)
- Windows 3.11, Windows 95 or Windows NT 4.0
- 800x600 resolution recommended
Additionally, the following hardware might be useful:
- sound board (when developing knowledge systems illustrated with sound or video such as Advanced English, Video English, Cross Country or Deine Chancen)
- CD-ROM drive (when using knowledge systems distributed on CD-ROM such as Advanced English, Video English, Cross Country or Deine Chancen)
- 256 colors (when using graphics-rich knowledge systems such as Video English, Cross Country).
If you are interested in using SuperMemo 8 choose one of the following: