Smart, Digital Flash cards Maximize Study Time

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Flashcard apps tend to be imitations of their physical counterparts. Instead of flipping a card over to reveal an answer, users click or swipe.

Not so with Brainscape. The company uses the digital platform to tweak the flashcard model with proven learning strategies. Questions in Brainscape apps require recall, not multiple-choice selections, ask users to reflect on answers by noting their confidence in them, and use those confidence grades to determine how often each card should be spaced in a deck.

Brainscape founder Andrew Cohen, who has a master’s degree in education technology, conducted a study with 10 Columbia students to compare the effectiveness of what he calls “confidence-based repetition” to normal flashcards. After the students studied material for 30 minutes, students who used Brainscape scored higher on an assessment than students who used flashcards.

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