Have you ever found yourself watching an entire series on Netflix in one sitting?
Do you enjoy eating ice cream more than studying?
Have you ever tried to memorise everything you need to know for a test in half the amount of time you should really have spent on the revision material?
Of course, for most people, the answer to all of these questions is yes (and if you answered no: which superhero are you?).
Fear not: this is good news. It means that, like every other human being, you are susceptible both to temptation and to a method of learning called spaced repetition.
Edlock utilises both of these techniques to offer a solution. You don’t have to delete Instagram from your phone, and you need not feel both tired and unprepared in the face of an exam.
What is Edlock?
Edlock is a new app based on an adaptive learning platform which was built by Professor Francis Brown of Oxford University. With it, you can turn your screen time into learning time.
First, you choose which of your most addictive apps you want to lock. Once an app is locked, it will only open once you have completed a short challenge. So, accessing the desired app becomes a reward for learning — and learning becomes as habitual as opening Facebook.
Edlock personalises questions in the learning challenges to each individual user. You can choose from over 150 topics, from learning about angles to practising your driving theory and citizenship tests.
Temptation bundling: say goodbye to the eternal to-do list
Edlock uses a technique called ‘temptation bundling’. This just means attaching something you want to do with something you need to do.
For example, you might say to yourself: I really want to watch this new video on YouTube, so before I do it, I’ll answer three work emails. This means you get something productive done without depriving yourself of the fun part — in fact, you use the thing you want to motivate you through the other task.
You can impose these rules on yourself, of course, but how often have you flaked on an exercise class even though you know you shouldn’t? Edlock removes the option for your willpower to fail, until fulfilling your productive tasks becomes a habit in itself.
Edlock combines the technique of temptation bundling with a memory theory called ‘spaced repetition’.
It is widely acknowledged that humans are better at recalling information when we have learnt it across multiple, spread-out sessions. Edlock’s algorithm uses this spaced repetition technique to help users to memorise facts and images.
The spaced repetition algorithm will work with your addictive behaviours, in order to train your long-term memory to hold information.
It uses frequent repetitions and short bursts of attention to train your brain in whichever subject you choose. This means you don’t get bored, and your learning will actually become more efficient: spaced out sessions take up less time in total to memorise information than one long cramming session.
Because our brains recognise repeated information as being important, the more exposure you have to your chosen topic and any related information, the more likely it is that you will be able to memorise more effectively.
Why is this important
The most important metaskill you can learn is how to learn… this is a part of a “work smarter, not harder” approach to life.
Edlock can be used for learning words, numbers, images, and skills. It works for anyone of any age. There are currently over 150 topics to learn from with more being added each week.
Tempted to harness your most addictive apps to get learning?
Edlock is available now for Android users from the Google Play store.