Joss Delage

Memory / SuperMemo / Piotr Wozniak

41 posts in this topic

Joss, I dismiss the idea as being worthy of discussion because it is nothing more than timed studying with a person applying the discipline to follow a plan. Should there be any surprise when it works better than not studying or unfocused studying? I think not. Advancements in a field are supposed to make one's life better, but it seems that a lot of people think that there is some panacea that is going to make them amazingly smart, amazingly muscular, give them amazing longevity and more. Well, the fact of the matter is that there is no panacea, all of the things I mention and more require work and lots of it. Are there more efficient ways to get thinks done? Yes, but it still requires work; hard, demanding and sometimes boring work.

Should it be any surprise that the process works for the people in the experiments when the person applying the program is supposed to already be hungry for knowledge, "if your motivation for getting knowledge is weak you can stop reading this text. The rest of my advice will not work. Your motivation cannot be shallow (like for passing an exam, showing off at a party, impressing the boss, etc.). You have to find the clear-cut link between knowledge and the value it brings to life."

Finally, in academia one might have a lot of time to study a subject. But when I worked for other companies or while in the Marine Corps I was given a short amount of time to learn something new, usually no more than a couple of days. For example, I was once given a Marine Corps Order for postal service and told to know it by Monday morning and it was Friday evening. I went home and read the manual 3 times over that weekend and then took a Commanding Gernerals Inspection on proper procedure of a battalion post office and passed with no findings and no faults (which is the highest marks one can receive). I took over the postal job for a Marine that had just failed his inspection and before Friday evening I had never even cared about military postal service. In the real world when your boss tells you to learn something and give a briefing on it in two days, you are not going to have the time to "space out" your learning, you will either get it done or you might not get the promotion. I chose to learn and retain the knowledge because the outcome of my learing was profound to me. I have found that one of the best tools to remember something is to know exactly why you are spending the time on the learning of the knowledge. Once a person knows the reason why, the motivation, then they can set up a strategy and then execute that strategy.

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Ray,

Thanks, this is a good post.

I disagree with you that "it is nothing more than timed studying with a person applying the discipline to follow a plan". It's a specific technique to do so, which tries to maximize the output given the time invested. Again, I don't know whether or not it works but the goal at least is one of efficiency.

I think of it as not dissimilar from your own Progressive Exercise. If I understood it well, you don't say that working out once a week at max intensity on 5 exercise (I'm summarizing) is the only way to build strength - just that it is the most efficient. The vast majority of successful athletes and bodybuilders have not heard about your method and don't apply it, and yet build up strength - but at the cost of time spent in the gym instead of pursuing other values.

Your point on the time aspect is very well taken. In all fairness, the key focus of the method is knowledge retention over a long time rather than learning new material. So to take the example of your performance, the method could (again, if it works) have helped you retain the material from your USMC manual over a long period of time - if you felt you needed to.

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... because it is nothing more than timed studying with a person applying the discipline to follow a plan.

It's not Ray. You should try to understand exactly what you're critiquing more before you make these funny non-judgments about the software. I say non-judgments because your critiques on the imaginary issues you bring up are very valid, yet they have nothing to do with the software. It's like when someone calls Ayn Rand bad for being a social Darwinist. It would be bad to be a social Darwinist, but that's not her philosophy.

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... because it is nothing more than timed studying with a person applying the discipline to follow a plan.

It's not Ray. You should try to understand exactly what you're critiquing more before you make these funny non-judgments about the software. I say non-judgments because your critiques on the imaginary issues you bring up are very valid, yet they have nothing to do with the software. It's like when someone calls Ayn Rand bad for being a social Darwinist. It would be bad to be a social Darwinist, but that's not her philosophy.

Maybe you should get some further understanding of how the neuro-system/brain/mind works before you begin to tell others what is and is not correct. The best way to learn something is to make that something profound/important to you and then study the information. I have already given you a few examples of people doing just that and could give many more. But it seems that you keep overlooking that real work is what is needed to achieve one's goals which includes learning. Make what you are learning important to your life, in other words make it have real meaning toward the goal of enhancing your life and then retaining that information becomes easier. Until a person does that they can waste years studying something and still not retain much. And that comes from my own life's real world experience, not some computational estimate.

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Maybe you should get some further understanding of how the neuro-system/brain/mind works before you begin to tell others what is and is not correct. The best way to learn something is to make that something profound/important to you and then study the information.

Nobody disagrees with that Ray, and that is certainly an important part of getting the most out of using an SRS.

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Maybe you should get some further understanding of how the neuro-system/brain/mind works before you begin to tell others what is and is not correct.

I was only telling you what is or is not correct with regard to the functions of an SRS. I was not talking about the brain or anything, and this is really not a discussion about the brain. In fact, the SRS is just a time management utility that allows us to manage reviewing with a computer automatically rather than having to schedule it ourselves. There is no difference in the actual method of learning with this software than with having a two sided paper flashcard--just the time management system for scheduling reviews. You still seem to have not picked that up, and we're entering the second page of this thread.

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How do you know it was inefficient? The last I checked one cannot get more efficient than going through one's time tables one time and then passing them, every time.

I missed this, but you were probably a child genius. I had to review my time tables more than just one time for sure, and most other people I know did too. So maybe you do not need an SRS but for mortals it helps schedule your reviews for you.

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If anyone is still researching whether there are benefits to reviewing with an SRS, despite all the debate going on in this thread, this blogger writes a good article summarizing the value of their use.

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Maybe you should get some further understanding of how the neuro-system/brain/mind works before you begin to tell others what is and is not correct.

I was only telling you what is or is not correct with regard to the functions of an SRS. I was not talking about the brain or anything, and this is really not a discussion about the brain. In fact, the SRS is just a time management utility that allows us to manage reviewing with a computer automatically rather than having to schedule it ourselves. There is no difference in the actual method of learning with this software than with having a two sided paper flashcard--just the time management system for scheduling reviews. You still seem to have not picked that up, and we're entering the second page of this thread.

The highlighted area is what I said many post ago. But I disagree on the time management aspect and have shown that knowledge can be learned in short amount of times and retained so the essential aspect is not SRS and hence why I stated that this program is nothing special.

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The highlighted area is what I said many post ago.

But you still didn't seem to understand what it an SRS was about poor guy, because look at your last posts:

The best way to learn something is to make that something profound/important to you and then study the information. I have already given you a few examples of people doing just that and could give many more. But it seems that you keep overlooking that real work is what is needed to achieve one's goals which includes learning.

What does this prove, for or against an SRS? It has nothing specifically to do with an SRS. Yet you were claiming to know understand what they do.

I dismiss the idea as being worthy of discussion because it is nothing more than timed studying with a person applying the discipline to follow a plan. Should there be any surprise when it works better than not studying or unfocused studying? I think not.

Why were you comparing it to not studying or unfocused studying? If you knew what an SRS does, you wouldn't be making that kind of comparison.

Maybe you should get some further understanding of how the neuro-system/brain/mind works before you begin to tell others what is and is not correct.

If you knew that this was just a program for scheduling reviews efficiently, thus managing time more effectively, why would you write anything like this Ray?

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Duke, one more time, I understand what SRS is and I am not convinced that it is an essential aspect of learning. I would be willing to speculate that there are just as many people that fail while using the SRS program as any other program stating efficacy. So that should be the first clue from reality that there is something more fundamental to learning than SRS. I do think that for a person to learn that they do need to study to become proficient, but that can be done with or without applying SRS. Finally, I once again refer you to Ayn Rand's writings on psycho-epistemology and Harry Binswanger's lectures on the same subject for more clarity.

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I found Ankhi really useful. Thanks for mentioning it.

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I've been using Mnemosyne to (among other things) learn "Invictus" and the beginnings of the Declaration of Independance....

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I offer that you might get more out of Edwin Locke's guide Study Methods and Motivation: A Practical Guide to Effective Study.

It's funny that you cite this book as if it has something to say against these software tools. Dr Locke dedicates an entire section to "rehearsal" and even goes so far as to say "This may be the single most useful method of programming memory". These tools are simply a way of organizing rehearsal.

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I offer that you might get more out of Edwin Locke's guide Study Methods and Motivation: A Practical Guide to Effective Study.

It's funny that you cite this book as if it has something to say against these software tools. Dr Locke dedicates an entire section to "rehearsal" and even goes so far as to say "This may be the single most useful method of programming memory". These tools are simply a way of organizing rehearsal.

It has been over a year since the last post of this thread but I wanted to make a comment on EHarvey's last post after rereading the book mentioned.

It is true that Edwin Locke writes about "rehersal." But his mention of it is that it is just a tool of programming one's memory that takes up just one page of a book that is about 180 pages long. So, I still offer the whole book to be read so that one can gather that one's memory is needed for one to learn, but without one understanding what it is that they are attempting to memorize they will not integrate the new items/concepts into the rest of their knowledge and hence will be quickly lost. In other words, I could sit and cram for a test with all the techniques put forth by the backers of SRS which might help me pass an exam, but unless I understand/integrate the new knowledge with old knowledge it will be lost soon after memorizing it and hence nothing is achieved long-term.

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