Scientific research into memory is at the foundation of what we create at Memrise. We study research papers ourselves and also, through our partnerships with UCL and other Universities, we help scientists to carry out further research. This is extremely important for our product design and creation.
But there remains a significant jump between knowing what is the most effective learning method according to scientific discoveries… and working out how to implement this discoveries into a learning tool that is compelling to use.
For example, this study by Dr Rosalind Potts (one of our partner team at UCL) shows that asking people to guess at the meaning of a word before you tell them what it means leads to stronger memories later. Even if they guess wrong (which they usually do) they remember the correct translation better later. That seems like a great discovery… but it turns out that working out how to build this into a learning product is difficult. We’ve tested a bunch of prototypes of this over the years and have found that if we ask people to guess at what a word means before they are told, they tend to say, “What? Why should I guess? This is a dumb app! How the hell should I know that that means? Is this a bug?”. Click.
We need to work out not only what is the best technique, but also how to present that technique in a way that feels right to the learner. This requires much experimentation and research – research that is just as important to us as the initial scientific research. For without an effective way to implement the scientific finding, the finding itself is of purely academic interest.
Which brings me to Memrise Labs.
We’ve been building and testing prototypes at Memrise HQ for a long time. But now we want to take that process to a larger audience, giving us richer feedback. Labs is how we want to do this. Anyone who’s interested in trying out new ways to learn can register their email address on the Memrise labs page. Then every couple of weeks we’ll send out links to the new prototypes we’re testing.
All you have to do is play on the prototypes and tell us what you think!
So if you are interested in how humans learn, and how we might be able to learn more effectively… sign up to Memrise labs now.