How is Get My Grades supported by research?

Get My Grades aims to take into account cutting edge and established research. This enables us to create the best platform to help you learn more effectively.

For years psychologists and educators have been studying the best ways to remember information. So what helps? Below is a list of some of the theories that Get My Grades has implemented in order to make this aim a reality.

 

Individualised Learning

What is it?

One of the problems of school teaching is that the flow of learning tends to go at its own pace – which may or may not be the optimal pace for you. Some topics you may need more time on; others you may need less time on. There is good evidence to support the intuition that allowing you to go at your own pace helps your learning. This is supported by an old but extensive history of research into mastery learning (Kulik, Kulik & Bangert-Drowns, 1990).

How is it incorporated into Get My Grades?

Get My Grades is designed to allow students to go at their own pace and take control of their own learning speed. It allows students to see which topics they have completed to a desired level of mastery.

 

Spaced Learning

What is it?

When you revise it is often tempting to learn a topic all in one go so you can ‘cross it off the list’. In psychology, this is known as massed learning.  However, for remembering the details of that topic, a review by Carpenter et al (2012) found that little and often is a far better approach.  This is known as spaced learning. Psychologists believe this may be because the repetitive activation of the neurons prevents the new neuronal growth in the hippocampus from dying (Sisti, Glass, & Shors, 2007). In other words, because you keep retrieving the new information you have learned, your brain realises the information is useful and so keeps it.

How is it incorporated into Get My Grades?

Get My Grades has broken the topics down into small, manageable concepts, which helps you to space out your learning. It also allows students to test themselves on anything they have previously covered – as we will see in the next section that testing is a good form of revising! Get My Grades also allows students to track their progress and to see when they have covered a topic and how well they mastered it overall.

 

The Testing Effect

What is it?

If you want to remember something you are far better to test yourself on it than to sit and read the information again (Adesope,  Trevisan, & Sundararajan, 2017;  Roediger III,& Karpicke, 2006).  Psychologists have compared those given equal amounts of time to re-study the information or be tested on it and found that those who are tested are better at remembering.

Different types of testing encourage different levels of processing.  For example, multiple choice questions only encourage a shallow level of processing, whereas short answer questions mean that the information has to be understood in much more depth (Vasan et al, 2017; Scouller, 1996).

 

How is it incorporated into Get My Grades?

Get My Grades has a bank of over 75,000 questions.  After reading each Learn page, we encourage students to test themselves with our Revise feature. A range of questions for each concept are matched to the range of questions found in GCSE papers (including questions similar to those found in previous papers). This encourages students to learn the information at all depths, which will help them to answer all types of questions.

 

Metacognitive Approach to Learning

What is it?

There is growing evidence that taking a metacognitive approach to learning is beneficial. But what does metacognitive mean? “Meta” literally means beyond – so metacognitive means beyond thinking or thinking about thinking. In our case, it means thinking about and understanding how you learn. Taking the time to think about how you learn and take a metacognitive approach has been shown in a recent review by the Education Endowment Foundation to make a substantial impact on learning.

How is it incorporated into Get My Grades?

The Get My Grades platform gives extensive progress feedback to both students, parents and teachers. This allows the student to see where their strengths and weaknesses lie.  Students also have to self-mark their written answers from mark schemes and answer explanations provided with each question. This exercise allows students to take a metacognitive approach to their learning, and gain more of an insight into what they do and don’t know.

 

Elaboration

What is it?

Elaboration involves describing and explaining ideas with lots of details. It can also be connecting ideas together and potentially linking in your own experiences and day-to-day life. A study by McDaniel & Donnelly (1996) found that elaboration improves your ability to remember.

How is it incorporated into Get My Grades?

The Learn pages on Get My Grades elaborate beyond a student’s syllabus. They to contain examples and link ideas together even across subjects so that students start to join the dots between different pieces of information that they are learning.

 

Other Research Ideas

What is it?

There are other useful ideas coming from research that cannot be directly incorporated into Get My Grades. For example, research suggests that having a growth mindset has some impact on how well a student achieves (Mueller, & Dweck,1998). A growth mindset is the idea that your level of intelligence is not set in stone – anyone can learn anything with some effort.

Or that counterintuitively drinking a cup of coffee after learning something may help you to remember it more than drinking a cup of coffee before learning it (Borota, 2014).

How is it incorporated into Get My Grades?

Although these ideas aren’t incorporated into Get My Grades directly we run a blog series alongside with helpful tips so that you can use the all latest research to help you learn.

 

Innovation

We aim not only to ensure that all our decisions in the development of the platform are supported by research but also that we use and develop our own cutting-edge research. In collaboration with the University of Plymouth, we are testing whether ideas that work well in the laboratory work well in the real world. If you would be willing to take part please leave an email address below.

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Dr Charlotte Forrest

Dr Charlotte Forrest

Head of Research

Charlotte (MA, MSc, PhD) has a PhD in Psychology and over 10 years experience of researching learning and memory, she is bringing her cutting-edge research to create the best learning environment for students.