Continuous Learning - The Importance of Knowledge Refresh

Research from the cognitive sciences shows that one-off learning is an incredibly poor methodology for long-term retention and recall. The brain needs additional exposure to learning content over time before the information can be strongly encoded and stored in memory. One learning event is simply not enough, rather, learners need steady content refreshers at key intervals to best absorb and retain new learning.

Minding the Gap

Hiring qualified employees is becoming increasingly difficult and many employers are turning to corporate training programs to address this need. In fact, one recent study shows that roughly 49% of employers plan to train workers who don’t have experience in their industries AFTER they hire them.

Avoiding the Pitfalls of Traditional Assessments

The most fundamental task of a learning department is to equip employees with the information they need to know and validate that they can accurately apply that knowledge on the job. Too often, however, the learning and testing methodologies in the field are unable to deliver a clear picture of employee knowledge, verify what employees really know or predict the accuracy with which they will apply their knowledge on the job. 

Information Overload: The Digital Age Epidemic Plaguing Training & Costing Companies Millions

While access to information is leveling the playing field and opening the door of opportunity in many cases, studies show that the sheer quantity of information, coupled with on-demand access, can have negative effects. Too much information arrests our attention spans, paralyzes us into a state of inaction and negatively impacts our ability to make smart decisions, ultimately costing companies millions each year.

Bridging the Science of Learning with the Best of Technology

Over the past two decades the eLearning marketplace has boomed with new technology supported by a 500% increase in venture capital in the past five years alone. With this growth comes an entirely new vocabulary. The experts at NPR put together a handy dictionary to help navigate this constantly fluctuating industry. Here are three examples of some “buzzwords” NPR thinks you should know.

The Efficacy Needle in a $50 Billion Haystack

According to a recent Forbes article, scores of new eLearning companies have recently hit the market, eager to capitalize on the growing demand for online learning and training. In fact, the eLearning industry is expected to grow to $50 billion this year and with up to 40% of training being done online, the need for effective learning technologies is greater now than at any other point in history. 

Sorting Through Competing Claims of eLearning Platforms

In the last 20 years, the eLearning marketplace has undergone extraordinary growth. Advancements in science and technology have formed the basis for new methodologies and products that claim to dramatically improve education, learning and training. Some edtech companies claim to be rooted in brain science while others promise the most adaptive learning experience possible. But, with so many solutions available, it is difficult to move beyond the “claims” to actually determine what’s what and, more importantly, what works. 

5 Study Tips from Leading Brain Scientists

As school winds down for the holidays and we begin to think about our New Year's resolutions, it's a great time for students to start strategizing for the coming semester. If more effecitvie study is on the resolution list, we can help. amplifire has gathered the top five study tips from the world’s leading scientists studying learning and memory to help give students a leg up on learning this coming semester.

The New Revolution in Education: Uniting Teachers with Cognitive Science-Based Learning Tools

Just as Galileo’s telescope led to the overturning of the Aristotelian universe, contemporary cognitive science has made discoveries that will lead us into entirely new ways of implementing education. But despite astonishing scientific advancements in understanding how the brain encodes, stores, and retrieves information, today’s classrooms still rely heavily on learning practices that are based on outdated theories hearkening back to the Industrial Revolution.

When Learning is Important Enough to Measure

Training needs vary from simple to complex, low risk to high. To meet these varied demands, there is an equally diverse landscape of learning technologies available in the marketplace. A lot of these technologies talk about results, but do they actually deliver? While many meet some basic training requirements, they aren’t able to produce results that actually make any business impact. 

Forgetting: It's not a bug, it's a feature

Last week we convened our Scientific Advisory Board (SAB), which includes some of the leading pedagogical experts and former Chairs of Psychology from schools like Harvard, Washington University and UCLA. As part of this meeting, each SAB member presented what he/she has been researching. Chairman, Dr. Robert Bjork, Ph.D., discussed several fascinating findings around the notion of forgetting.

Thoughts on Self-Guided Study

Facebook released a statement this past month saying they are working on development of a learning software that will help kids learn at their own pace. The concept is driven by the idea that Facebook wants to “put learning in the hands of kids and the control back in the hands of kids.” Since not a lot of details on Facebook’s new software have been released, we can’t fully comment on its specific efficacy, but it did raise the interesting topic of user-guided study. 

The Importance of Employee Training for Cyber Security

In recent years, companies such as, Chick-Fil-a, Target, and Home Depot were affected by data breaches. These companies faced card compromises on millions of their customers. But – it is not just companies like these that have been affected.  Cyber attacks are on the rise within individuals, companies, and even the U.S. government. In fact, the FBI recently ruled cybercrime as one of its top law enforcement activities. Such attacks are causing companies to lose millions of dollars. A 2014 Pricewaterhouse Coopers survey found that 7% of U.S.

Cyber Crime: All Organizations Can Be At Risk

When you hear the words “cyber crime” and “data security,” what comes to mind? Most of us picture a tech-savvy individual behind a computer hacking into large systems and stealing confidential information. That’s not far from the truth. In light of recent events, cyber crime isn’t as unheard of as it was in the past, especially as we’ve recently watched well-known corporations flood our news with stories of hackers stealing thousands of customer identification, payment and employee information. 

Top 3 Most Unusual Ideas Purported to Increase Long-Term Memory

The study of human learning and memory is constantly inundated with fascinating new insights, and while Knowledge Factor doesn’t necessarily integrate all of them into the amplifire algorithms and design, we do find it all extremely interesting and thought-provoking. The following ideas are just a few that leave us begging the question, “What’s next?!”

Gold Star in Learning

Professors of psychology across the nation have put study techniques to the test, and the results are in. Sifting through more than 700 scientific articles on ten commonly used learning techniques, Scientific American revealed the most advantageous ways to study: self-testing and distributed practice. Additionally, the runners-up showed that interleaved practice also proves to shake up study techniques for real efficiency.

Why Spacing Isn't More Readily Available

Research has proved that the “spacing effect” promotes long-term retention of new information. So why has it gone ignored? Why are classrooms not taking advantage of this groundbreaking research?

The “spacing effect” shows that when study sessions are repeated over spaced intervals, the brain is more likely to translate the material to long-term memory. But how does this translate into the classroom?

The Anatomy of Learning

In the heart of London, an elite group of people is hard at work to learn “the Knowledge”.

While this might sound like sci-fi, it’s very real. And it’s also the subject of a Wired article, “How Driving a Taxi Changes London Cabbies’ Brains”, which details the intensive learning process that black-cab drivers in central London undergo, and how this rigorous learning process anatomically changes their brains.

Set Your Brain from Manual to Automatic

What if you could train your brain to automatically recall information quickly and effortlessly? Science shows that training the brain to “automatically recall” information provides benefits to learning that go far beyond simply eliminating the “tip-of-the-tongue” feeling.

Researchers, such as psychology professor Daniel Willingham of the University of Virginia, who has written extensively on learning and memory, have long studied methods that enable the brain to “automatically”* retrieve learning.

Perceptual Learning - A More Natural Approach

You’re driving down a busy street and suddenly a car pulls out in front of you. Do you pause and take a minute to assess how to properly react? Of course not. Your brain immediately reacts to avoid an accident.

This is an example of perceptual learning at its finest. Perceptual learning occurs when, after repeated exposure to an environmental task (i.e., visual, auditory, tactile, olfactory or taste), the brain identifies the patterns to successfully navigate those tasks, and eventually, reactions become automatic.

Optimize Your Brain with Workouts

The brain is like a muscle – science shows that in order to remain in top performance, the brain, just like any other muscle, must be exercised. Brain teasers like puzzles and crosswords serve as “workouts” for the brain and keep it healthy. Within the learning environment, the brain is rigorously worked during homework and study sessions. Here at Knowledge Factor, we’re focused on uncovering tools that can be used during a user’s “brain workouts” in order to enhance brain function and the ability to transfer material studied into long-term memory.

Neurobiology Says You Need a Vacation

Where do you think you’d be most likely to hear the following quotes?

“Enjoy the little things”

“Pay attention to your environment throughout your day”

“Stay engaged in the world around you”

What did you guess? A self-help book? Chicken Soup for the Soul? Oprah?

Here’s the correct answer, and the answer you probably wouldn’t have guessed: brain scientist, Michael M. Merzenich.

"Learning Styles" Debunked

The New Viewpoint

We’ve all heard phrases like “I’m a visual learner, I need to see it in order to get the big picture,” or “Oh, I’m an auditory learner, you have to explain it to me first.” This long-standing educational philosophy regarding different learning styles (visual, auditory and kinesthetic) is being debunked in a report by Harold Pashler, Mark McDaniel, Doug Rohrer and Robert Bjork (our Scientific Advisory Board Chair) called “Learning Styles: Concepts and Evidence”.

Breaking Down the Brain: The Learning Process Simplified

Knowledge retention is key in both corporate training and education. Users need to remember learning content so that they can accurately apply it in real-life instances. So when we set out to create the amplifire software, thoroughly understanding how the brain stores information in memory was imperative.

At its most basic level, there are four stages of memory critical to the learning process.

Are Two (or Three or Four) Heads Better Than One?

The conversation surrounding education reform is not a simple one.

One frequent talking point is the issue of class size. With education funding being cut around the country, class sizes are continuing to grow, but how big is too big? And how can we ensure that our students are getting enough attention from their teachers? Overcrowded classrooms have become a common problem in many public schools. So what is the solution?

Study for a Test by Taking a Test

Tests, quizzes and exams are not only instrumental in assessing how much our users know, but they can also be used as a study tool to help our users learn more and be able to recall their knowledge when it counts – on final exams and real-world settings. Recent research, dubbed the “testing effect”, shows that users who study using methods that require them to retrieve learning content from memory (using a test or self-quiz) exhibit higher recall rates on exams versus learners who rely solely on traditional study methods like repeated reading of the learning content.