In this interview with Dr. David Handel, a retired physician, tells us about his new tool for students. The app, iDoRecall (iDR) strives to help students with time management and long-term retention and learning.
What's important about your tool?
I bungled my way through school, until college, where I learned the proper ways to learn and study. Using strategies well known in cognitive science, I graduated #1 in my medical school class.
I created iDoRecall (iDR) because there is a need for a general purpose tool to assist students and bring evidence-based cognitive science learning strategies into their daily academic lives.
At its heart, iDR is a spaced-repetition flashcard app. But iDR takes a holistic approach to bring retrieval practice, spacing, interleaving and (soon) reflection/metacognition into the workflow of students. iDR is designed to help students make a dramatic shift from the old and proven-wrong ways of studying such as re-reading and highlighting, to proven techniques like spacing, retrieval practice, interleaving, reflection and more.
What's new about your tool?
iDR is the first spaced-repetition flashcard app that enables students to integrate their learning materials with their flashcards. Let me explain how this works and why this is so important.
With iDR, you upload all of your learning materials: class notes, handouts, your teacher’s Powerpoints, screengrabs, images, URLs of lecture videos and more into the app. Then you consume and study your materials only one time. As you come across a fact or concept (that you comprehend) that want to remember, you create a flashcard linked to that nugget of knowledge. iDR schedules when you see each flashcard. During retrieval practice, if you forget an answer, simply click the link and the original source file or video will open at the exact location of the concept/fact. Quickly refresh your memory and get back to your practice session.
iDR also has a Pomodoro timer built-in to help you focus as you consume your learning materials. Additional features coming shortly include the ability of educators to create iDR classes and students to create study groups. Students can be invited into these classes and groups and the creator can supply the learning materials and flashcards and/or enable collaboration so that a group of students can create content that members can then clone into their individual accounts for personal use.
By Fall semester 2019, we expect to offer an elegant solution for stimulating metacognition as you consume your learning materials.
What's surprising about iDR?
There is so much excellent research concerning what works and what doesn’t work when going about the act of learning. Being a student is challenging and difficult for many of us. Life is always harder when you are doing something the wrong way. Methodologies such as re-reading, highlighting, and passive repetition have been passed down through generations as best practices.
It is disappointing that what has been learned through research hasn’t made it into the classroom. Part of the problem is that these proven strategies haven’t even made it into a significant number of teacher training programs. iDR intends to be the best general purpose tool that helps make it easy for students to carry out these evidence-based techniques in everyday life.
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