8 Best Spaced Repetition Apps to Train your Retention in 2024 - Deepstash

8 Best Spaced Repetition Apps to Train your Retention in 2024

As many of us have probably found out the hard way, cramming for an exam in one long and intensive study session generally doesn’t work out so well. It’s not common to be able to retain information, especially on a broad or profound topic, in one sitting. Information is better retained when it is reviewed repeatedly at different intervals.

Deepstash Team • 7 minute read

8 Best Spaced Repetition Apps to Train your Retention in 2024 Image

In a very scientific way, spaced repetition is described as a learning technique designed to combat the forgetting curve by systematically reviewing information over increasing intervals of time. This approach ensures that learned material is revisited just as it is about to be forgotten, with the main scope being solidifying it in long-term memory. The concept works by introducing new information more frequently than older information, which has already been reviewed and retained to some extent. As learners absorb ideas, concepts, and vocabulary, these are periodically reviewed, often through gamified quizzes or study sessions, to ensure retention and understanding.

How Apps Utilize Spaced Repetition

Examples of Spaced Repetition Features in the Deepstash App

Spaced repetition apps leverage this technique to enhance learning efficiency and improve retention. While there are various ways to implement this concept, there are several key features that we're often looking for when trying to determine if an app uses this technique. Here’s how these apps typically implement spaced repetition mechanics:

  • Personalized Review Schedules: The best spaced repetition flashcard apps create individualized review schedules based on the user's progress and performance. This ensures that each learner reviews information just before they are likely to forget it.
  • Adaptive Learning Algorithms: These apps use adaptive learning techniques to adjust the frequency and timing of reviews. For instance, concepts that a user engages with or even finds difficult are shown more frequently, while those that are consistently recalled correctly are shown less often.
  • Gamified elements: Many spaced repetition learning apps incorporate gamified mechanics to make the review process engaging. Users often encounter quizzes and flashcards that challenge them to recall information in a fun and interactive manner.
  • Integration of New Information: The best spaced repetition or flashcard apps continually introduce new concepts while reinforcing previously learned material, ensuring a balanced mix of review and new learning.
  • Micro-content focus: To enable spaced repetition, apps often make use of micro-content to fire information in short bursts that can be assimilated fast while being as informative as possible. There are many form-factors that utilize learning nuggets, like flashcards, micro-courses, quizzes or even minigames like fill-in-the-blanks or matching the pair.

While there are well-established spaced repetition apps like Anki, Quizlet, Brainscape, and Memrise, many apps are designed to optimize learning through personalized review schedules, adaptive learning algorithms, gamification, and integration of new information. There are also apps that incorporate those spaced repetition mechanics along with other adjacent concepts, like microlearning features and bite-sized learning. At Deepstash, for example, we aim to offer a unique approach in the landscape of microlearning apps by merging the effective mechanics of spaced repetition with curated insights and digests in the form of flashcard-like ideas, making the learning experience fun and continuous.

How a key idea looks within Deepstash

Spaced Repetition Learning Systems

Spaced Repetition Time Intervals can be practiced using:

  • The Analog Spaced Repetition System: Making flashcards or 'boxes' of study material to review daily, weekly, or bi-weekly.
  • The Digital Method: Use an App like Anki, or SuperMemo.

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The idea format used by Deepstash is important because it condenses complex concepts and profound thoughts into easy to understand sentences. It makes ideas easier to apply in daily life, helping you to make positive changes and achieve your goals.

8 Best Spaced Repetition Apps to Try Out Yourself!

Stashy looking at the 8 seclected apps that feature spaced repetition elements

Each of our picks offers a unique and interesting approach to spaced repetition and its benefits. You'll see that this is not really a numbered top list, just a presentation, an overview of some of the more interesting flashcard, quiz, or learning apps that feature spaced repetition as a core design ideology.


Deepstash Logo as an App that features Spaced Repetition

Among spaced repetition, Deepstash integrates many microlearning examples that aid its users to practice bite-sized learning, using curated content digests that its community of stashers jot down whenever they read, watch, listen, or just learn something interesting. Among microlearning apps that focus on self-improvement, Deepstash makes use of structured learning paths in the form of collections that pack multiple flashcard-like ideas into specific goals and themes. Moreover, to enhance the self-improvement focus of the app, users are encouraged to explore interesting insights from topics like Psychology, Philosophy, Motivation, Mindfulness, Mental Health, Business, Leadership, Time Management, and more!

The app integrates clever spaced repetition features like the constant integration of new information that is delivered into quick bursts in the form of articles, where users can spend up to 5 minutes per burst to learn about a new concept. Ideas and articles are delivered using adaptive algorithms in such a way that it accounts for their personal interests, as well as the stashed ideas users keep for later recall.

The most interesting spaced repetition mechanic of the app is the eponymous Stashing feature, where just like a physical stash, users save what they found insightful while exploring and keep it in their actual "stash of great ideas".

Key features:
  • Stashing as a mechanic allows for later recall and revisiting of previous interesting ideas
  • Daily Ideas feeds as well as notifications to develop a daily reading habit
  • Gamified elements like reading streaks, topic levels, experience points, badges, achievements
  • Progress Tracking and Personalized Stats


Anki Logo as an App that features Spaced Repetition

Anki is one of the more popular spaced repetition apps designed to help users memorize and retain information effectively. With its large catalog of topics for studying languages and academic subjects, Anki employs spaced repetition mechanics like difficulty scoring, learning steps, lapse, and relearning to work towards information retention. The app notifies users daily about which flashcards they need to review, and its algorithm determines weaknesses and focuses on helping users continuously learn.

The app also uses pre-made and customizable flashcards, presenting the user with questions, keywords, or prompts. Based on the user’s response, the app will determine the best time to repeat information to help the user retain it most effectively. While not necessarily gamified, Anki presents users with leaderboards and learning streaks to keep them engaged.

Key features:
  • Customizable flashcards allow users to create microcontent that suits their learning goals
  • The app employs spaced repetition to present users with information at the right time to maximize retention
  • Progress tracking informs users of their strengths, weaknesses, and study time
  • Shared decks allow users to share information and provide a sense of community


Quizlet Logo as an App that features Spaced Repetition

Quizlet is an excellent example of a learning app that employs spaced repetition. It uses digital flashcards to teach and is widely used by students, educators, and lifelong learners. Users can use pre-made decks of flashcards or create their own that cover various topics such as languages, science, math, literature, art, finance, and personal development.

Its adaptive learning algorithm uses elements of spaced repetition to schedule reviews of areas where learners are struggling, ensuring that this material is revisited at optimal times to maximize retention. Quizlet features bite-sized learning and is also a gamified app that uses streaks, levels, and achievements to keep users engaged and motivated.

Key features:
  • Employs spaced repetition for maximum retention of information
  • Gamified to keep users engaged
  • Provides excellent progress tracking such as study time, accuracy rates, and study reminders
  • Flashcards are easily customized to suit the user’s area of study


Headway Logo as an App that features Spaced Repetition

Headway is a self-improvement app that offers book summaries and integrates spaced repetition techniques to enhance learning. By spacing out reminders and content over time, Headway ensures users revisit and reinforce key concepts from book summaries, facilitating effective memory retention and application. With personalized reminders and adaptive learning features, Headway provides a tailored experience to help users cultivate new habits and expand their knowledge through structured and interesting spaced repetition methods.

Key features:
  • The app adjusts reminders based on user progress
  • Headway allows users to create personalized review schedules for book summaries
  • Heavy focus on book summaries


Memrise Logo as an App that features Spaced Repetition

Memrise is a language learning app that employs spaced repetition and gamification elements to enhance the user’s learning experience. While it covers a wide range of languages, an interesting feature is the ability to create user-generated content that can be shared with others. While other language learning apps generally use flashcards or fill-in-the-blank type questions, Memrise uses short content video clips of native language speakers to teach.

Memrise uses a spaced repetition algorithm that schedules reviews of vocabulary and phrases at increasing intervals based on how well the user remembers them. This helps reinforce long-term retention. The algorithm also focuses on a user’s performance and will adjust each lesson accordingly.

Key features:
  • Excellent use of spaced repetition for language learning
  • Gamification elements such as daily streaks and achievement badges encourage consistent study habits and reward progress
  • Each video employs native speakers to ensure correct pronunciation
  • Along with videos, the app uses interactive quizzes to test users while also keeping them interested and engaged


Recall App Logo as an App that features Spaced Repetition

Recall is another spaced repetition app that uses flashcards. Users can create their own flashcards or use pre-made decks. The app includes images, audio, and text, making it versatile for different types of learners and subjects. The Recall algorithm will show users information that is difficult to remember at the right time for maximum retention. One of the strengths of this app is its ease of use and progress tracking, which provides users with insights into their weaknesses.

The app allows users to select different study modes, such as a quick review, a detailed study session, or a test on what they’ve already covered. This benefits users diving into microlearning and continuous learning since they can pick an area of study for intensive focus. The app is intuitive and reshuffles the decks of flashcards so users can’t memorize their order.

Key features:
  • Recall uses adaptive learning to help long-term retention of information
  • Customizable digital flashcards allow users to tailor their study material to their specific needs
  • Progress tracking provides key statistics and identifies weaknesses
  • Notifies users when it’s time to study, which helps users stay on track with their goal of continuous learning


SuperMemo Logo as an App that features Spaced Repetition

While most use SuperMemo to learn a new language, it can also be used for virtually any subject matter. SuperMemo allows users to create digital flashcards containing questions, prompts, or information they want to memorize. These flashcards can include text, images, audio, and even videos. This flexibility provides a more custom-fitted learning experience. Based on the forgetting curve, the app uses spaced repetition schedule review sessions for each item in the user’s learning material. This ensures that they review information at optimal intervals to maximize retention.

A fun part of SuperMemo is its MemoChat and AI Assistant, both of which allow users to practice their new skills through interactive dialogs in real-time. It’s also a gamified app that uses leaderboards to help users respond better when there’s some friendly competition involved in learning.

Key features:
  • Utilizes good use of spaced repetition to ensure users retain the most information
  • Users can create and customize their own learning content according to their specific needs and preferences
  • Uses audio, images, text, and video-based flashcards to provide variety and prevent boredom


Lumosity Logo as an App that features Spaced Repetition

Lumosity is a self-development app that incorporates spaced repetition features to enhance cognitive skills through brain training games. While not a traditional spaced repetition flashcard app, Lumosity leverages similar principles by spacing out cognitive exercises over time to ensure users revisit and reinforce skills just before they are likely to forget them. This approach helps in improving memory, attention, and problem-solving abilities, making it a unique and effective spaced repetition learning app.

As one of the best apps for cognitive development, Lumosity's spaced repetition system app adapts to user performance, adjusting the difficulty and frequency of exercises based on individual progress. This personalized approach ensures that users are continually challenged and engaged, promoting sustained cognitive growth. Although Lumosity is not a free spaced repetition app, it offers a robust set of features that align with the principles of spaced repetition, making it a valuable tool for those seeking to improve their mental agility through a structured and scientifically-backed spaced repetition schedule.

Key features:
  • Customizes training programs based on user performance for tailored cognitive exercises
  • Adjusts exercise difficulty in real-time to match user improvement and keep challenges engaging
  • Offers a variety of games targeting memory, attention, flexibility, speed, and problem-solving
  • Provides detailed progress metrics to help users monitor and understand their cognitive development

Further Exploration: Learn more about Spaced Repetition and related Concepts

Spaced repetition is an innovative learning technique designed to enhance long-term retention by strategically spacing out review sessions over increasing intervals. On Deepstash, we've curated a collection of insightful ideas from our community that explore various dimensions of spaced repetition:

  • How To Break Bad Habits: On Deepstash, we've assembled a collection of insights from our community that delve into using spaced repetition techniques to overcome bad habits and develop positive ones. Explore these curated ideas to learn how integrating spaced repetition into your daily routine can lead to lasting change and personal growth.
  • How To Learn Anything Fast: We've gathered a collection of user-curated insights on how to learn anything fast. These ideas highlight the best techniques and tools to accelerate your learning process, making the most of spaced repetition and other efficient methods. Dive into our collections to unlock the secrets of rapid learning and boost your knowledge acquisition journey.
  • How to properly read a book: Find tips and techniques, including spaced repetition and active reading strategies, on how to transform your reading habits and help you absorb knowledge more efficiently. Explore these curated ideas to unlock the full potential of every book you read and make your reading sessions more productive and enjoyable.
  • How To Study Effectively For Exams: These recommendations, featuring techniques like spaced repetition and active recall, are designed to help you make the most of your study time and enhance memory retention. Dive into these curated ideas to discover strategies that can improve your exam performance and lead to academic success.

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