The Memorix project is developing an immersive 3D environment using web-based tools, game techniques and other stimuli to motivate learners and assist longer-term memory retention. “Retaining facts that are learned over the long term is challenging. Despite their efforts to retain information, 80 % of what a student learned is gradually washed away shortly after an exam, which is very demotivating,” says Hermann Kudlich, co-founder and CEO of Memorix. “We want to take factual memory learning out of the classroom and have digital tutors to do this heavy lifting. This will leave the classroom for the things humans are good at – coaching, answering questions, taking care of the high or low performers.” Building 3D worlds as learning environments is not the same as using gaming concepts in 3D, he says. The Memorix platform, developed with support from the EU, combines long-known associative memory techniques with newer research on retentive learning and problem-solving. Artificial intelligence algorithms personalise the learning and make it more effective. The user creates ‘memory journeys’ by playing and working with the list of items to be learned, Kudlich explains. “The user logs into the platform, defines a ‘memory palace’ and hides the 10 words they want to memorise in places or locations they like and will remember, using associated images, colour coding and so on.” The platform takes care of the rest. It triggers areas in the brain that are activated for effective learning or memorisation as the user undertakes the journey.
Users co-create content
Anyone can create content on Memorix. “It is shared learning where content creators and content consumers are users,” Kudlich adds. “This is unusual, as publishing content in a 3D environment is normally difficult. “For example, once successful at an exam, users can release the content they created on Memorix which helped them to pass, opening it up for others to use it. None of the current solutions in the market offer a similar approach of co-creation in the front end and artificial intelligence in the back end.”
Testing on medical school students
The prototype platform was tested on over 600 students at the medical university in Copenhagen. Using face-to-face interviews to provide feedback, the tests helped with the development of a minimal viable product launched online in April 2020. “People studying medicine have a lot of factual learning, so they were an ideal cohort,” Kudlich notes. The feedback was important – the students wanted a simpler, more engaging product that works directly on the website. This fed into the development of a second product alongside the much richer, downloadable version which is more like a video game and allows users to create content, he says. The EU’s SME funding helped develop the use of data, such as measuring success and calculating the forgetting curve, which helps ascertain a user’s optimal learning profile. This improved the user experience and engagement by tuning up the emotional triggers such as gratification and sense of achievement derived from content mastery. “Once we are fully functional, users will have a Memorix digital tutor, driven by artificial intelligence. The ‘tutor’ will have learned the user’s learning patterns and their preferences so it can target the most effective way to anchor the information the user is trying to memorise. It will draw on a large library of content that is being developed,” Kudlich explains. The company is currently working with innovation centres to test-launch the product in Denmark, Germany and South Korea.
Memorix, memory, exams, artificial intelligence, problem-solving, learning, digital tutor, 3D