Cerego introduced iKnow! at DEMOfall 08 today as “The first intelligent social learning platform.” Basically, iKnow! enables people to learn faster and improve memory retention through patented learning algorithms that generate personalized learning schedules. Each person’s training schedule is unique because it is customized according to their optimum periods of time for studying and learning. This process is based on research conducted on optimum learning patterns in the fields of cognitive science and neuroscience.
Big in Japan
The url for the iKnow website currently uses the Japanese domain extension because it has been in beta in Japan for the past ten months. There are currently over 250,000 registered Japanese users studying English. Cerego plans to provide support for many other languages and even an open API for developers, which will mean many new applications based on their system.
iKnow wants to become not only a tool to help users learn but also an intelligent social network where they can share and collaborate with other users. The goal is to get members to help each other grow and learn within their online system. Ultimately, users from all over the globe will be able to remix content and share it with others within the learning community.
Crash course of classes
The real proof in the pudding is actually taking a few courses to see how well iKnow! works. So I went to their English courses page, which only has a few listings at this point in time but many more are sure to come. Right now there are some courses for vocabulary and SAT preparations.
The first thing you notice in any of the courses is the abundance of audio assistance on every page. This is especially useful in courses where you learn languages or need to hear how words sound such as in the vocabulary courses that I took. You can click the play button as often as you need to hear the word or sentence.
The other interesting thing you notice is how many different ways they ask the same questions, which is an effective method of training. For example, instead of just asking a multiple choice question, you will need to actually spell out words as well as fill in the blanks of sentences. It forces you to learn the concepts, so even when you guess something correctly it will test you again in another manner almost as if to verify whether or not you were lucky or really knew the answer.
Making Learning More More
I was impressed with the amount of things I learned in a relatively short period of time. It was also kind of enjoyable and not painful at all. In addition to the regular courses, iKnow! also has a game-like study course called BrainSpeed that’s fun and fast-paced. It’s timer based and conducts itself much like a game show. It even maintains a top players ranking list and allows you to invite others to join the fun and learning.
It makes sense to combine the power of computer technology and the many benefits of social networking with this new learning platform from iKnow. Making the process a global experience where users can actually interact and assist one another is an excellent idea. If things go as well for iKnow then we could very well be looking at the future model of online training and educational systems that are effective and fun.