The vocabulary of an educated American

Z.Zwierzchowski, Rzeczpospolita, Magazine, Oct 1996, p. 32, Poland translation: M.Morawska, Apr 1999

New article by Dr. Piotr Wozniak: The true history of spaced repetition

Learning always requires some effort. There are no wonderful means for getting knowledge easily and certainly there won’t ever be a simple method for that. Regularity, hard work, and time devoted to learning cannot easily be substituted for anything else. To remember information and cement knowledge in memory, it is necessary to make repetitions. Experts from SuperMemo World (Polish company from Poznan) translated this obvious truth into a computer program. The program makes it possible to learn faster, for example foreign languages, and effectively retain knowledge in memory. This program, SuperMemo, is constantly being developed and improved, it is already well known in our country.
SuperMemo became more visible on Polish software market after its first successes abroad. Among other things, in 1992, SuperMemo got an award in Hanover at the most popular European computer fair called CeBIT. Computer science experts in Poland started meticulous tests of the program and its claims on memory improvement. The verdict was clear-cut: this program really makes it possible to learn faster.

What does SuperMemo give you? It makes it possible to learn as fast as your individual intellectual capabilities permit. You can this way spend minimum time on repetitions and on learning. The measure of SuperMemo’s effectiveness is the possibility to learn 3000 foreign words in a month spending 30 minutes per day as well as to master the vocabulary of an educated American in four years spending on learning 45 minutes per day (source).

People who have tried SuperMemo confirm that with the help of this program you can really learn much faster than by using conventional methods. Obviously, learning with SuperMemo requires lots of effort too (no cheap miracles!); however, the optimization method brings tangible results that can easily be quantified.

SuperMemo calculates the dates of future repetitions of individual portions of knowledge depending on how the user copes with remembering the material. A given repetition is scheduled on the day, on which information can already be "on the verge of forgetting". Since the birth of SuperMemo, the program has constantly been improved and many new versions were released. The most recent one comes also on CD-ROM. Simultaneously, new learning material collections were created, and among them Advanced English with thirty eight thousand words – one of the first English sound dictionaries in our country.

SuperMemo collections can be used to learn various subjects such as: foreign languages (also trade and technical vocabulary), traffic regulations, mythology, world painting masterpieces, medicine, biochemistry, biology, etc. Last year in autumn new software codenamed Genius was developed [Genius was a precursor of SuperMemo 8], which is not limited to optimization of memorization but extends the use of the SuperMemo method to new areas. It’s designed for creating multimedia knowledge bases, self-education, courseware development, and hypermedia presentations.

The most visible difference between Genius and the old line of SuperMemo is operating on data which are collected in the form of multimedia elements, connected with each other by means of hyperlinks. Knowledge systems of Genius can be composed of text, sound, graphics, animation, and video (in the most popular formats of computer files).

In contrast to most popular multimedia solutions, encyclopedias, and help systems such as Microsoft Help, Microsoft Viewer, or Encarta – knowledge systems in Genius are dynamic in structure (i.e. they do not have to be compiled and can be edited interactively). Genius can be extended by adding user designed programmed objects.

In practice, this makes it possible to use the system, for example, to learn touch-typing, play musical instruments, train creative capacity, etc. Naturally, the possibility of more efficient learning has not been monopolized by the company from Poznan. There are more and more companies coming with increasingly interesting multimedia offer.
For example Lexland from Knurowo offers technical lexicon with 11500 entries and 450 colorful illustrations; Publishing house Verbum CD from Radom publishes an encyclopedia with 38000 entries to which one can add his own records. More and more popular are also products of Young Digital Poland company from Gdansk, which develops multimedia programs for learning languages for children and for adults. Among new products of Young Digital is EuroPlus+ Business English for people who are interested in learning English for business applications