America’s current education technology ecosystem suffers a tremendous weakness: Students are constantly forced to switch between learning platforms nearly every year, as they progress through K-12, college, and graduate school. At the beginning of each school year, students are painfully herded onto different learning management systems (or “apps”), and all their learning data from previous semesters’ studies is completely lost or ignored.
Such constant platform switching prevents students from leveraging past semesters’ mastery in a fully adaptive and scaffolded learning process. Without a systematic way to refresh their knowledge over the years, students forget what they’ve learned in previous semesters when they are repeatedly forced to re-learn the same subject many times throughout their K-12 and college journeys. Billions of dollars worth of education are wasted on one-time cram units that evaporate into thin air once the semester is over.
Solving this problem is one of the main reasons we founded Brainscape.
Rather than subjecting our users to the whims of school districts and formal institutional contracts, we wanted Brainscape’s teacher and student users to enjoy an open platform where they can acquire, create, and share their own “intelligent flashcards” that can be continually recycled over the years. Brainscape’s adaptive study algorithm mixes older concepts with new ones with just the right frequency to ensure that they are retained over time.
Even after you have left the formal school system, Brainscape allows you to add newly acquired subjects (like foreign languages, corporate training concepts, or general knowledge) onto your master knowledge dashboard that was started back in your school days. For example, as a young adult, you might launch a “smart mix” that asks you to recall old academic or casual concepts like (1) Briefly describe the process of photosynthesis, (2) Name the capital of Pakistan, (3) Say the word “meatball” in Spanish, (4) Identify the main flavors you should look for in a Merlot, and (5) Describe the main purpose of a Model T49 Converter Module at your company. Using Brainscape’s confidence-based repetition system, you can control exactly how frequently each such question should be asked henceforth, thereby allowing you to solidify your older knowledge and make room in your brain for new concepts as you grow.
Over the past two years, we’ve seen hundreds of thousands of people use Brainscape to combine such diverse learning goals across both school and personal settings. This rapid cross-domain user proliferation is largely thanks to the thousands of teachers who are encouraging their students to use Brainscape for group study purposes (even while they are still using a separate LMS for things like gradebooks and assignments). As Brainscape’s breadth of content, users, and functionality continue to increase over the coming years, we will continue to see Brainscape evolve from a “flashcard tool” into a comprehensive personal knowledge management system that guides your mental growth from childhood through old age.