What is incremental learning?
This article describes the fastest avenue towards rock-solid lifetime knowledge: Incremental Learning.
Incremental learning is the fastest and the most comprehensive way of learning available to students at the moment of writing (2013).
Incremental learning is a consolidation of computer-based techniques that accelerate and optimize the process of learning from all conceivable material available in electronic form, and not only.
Currently, SuperMemo is the only software that implements incremental learning. In SuperMemo, the student feeds the program with all forms of learning material and/or data (texts, pictures, videos, sounds, etc.). Those learning materials are then gradually converted into durable knowledge that can last a lifetime.
Incremental learning helps the student convert all forms of learning material into durable and lasting memories.
In incremental learning, the student usually remembers 95% of his or her top priority material. That knowledge is relatively stable and lasts in student's memory as long as the process continues, and well beyond.
Incremental learning easily ensures 95% recall of top-priority learning material for lifetime (as long as the student ensures a regular review along the prescription provided by the program).
The cost of high knowledge retention is very small when compared with various traditional learning methods. For example, in learning a language, the vocabulary of an educated native speaker can be retained in SuperMemo at the cost of 20 minutes per day in the first years of the process, and mere minutes in later years (assuming the original set is acquired in portions spread over 4 years in 30-50 min. sessions).
Incremental learning ensures high recall at a fraction of the cost in time (as compared to textbook learning).
The incremental learning derives its name from the incremental nature of the learning process. In incremental learning, all facets of knowledge receive a regular treatment, and there is a regular inflow of new knowledge that builds upon the past knowledge. In incremental learning, the student sits in the driving seat and determines which knowledge should be mastered. He or she determines when this happens, with what degree of detail, at what priority, and at what desired degree of recall/retention. For example, in a single session, the student may learn a few facts of geography, discover a few rules of healthy lifestyle, figure out a few statistical formulas, read a couple of paragraphs from a friend's blog, process a few minutes of his home video collection, annotate a few family pictures, watch a few pieces from his YouTube video collection, and read a few articles in subjects related to a forthcoming exam. In other words, all areas of knowledge keep growing in parallel in proportion to interests and importance.
Typical learning at school puts an emphasis on a few areas of knowledge and neglects all the remaining areas. A medical student may spend a few months mastering anatomy, while gradually forgetting his biochemistry material in the meantime (or the other way round). At the same time, he or she will not find time to study important issues of the day that will always depend on a given person in a given context. With blinkers imposed by the heavy load of school material, the student may never find time, for example, to figure out what incremental learning is. Narrow horizons and narrow perspectives only make it harder to further rationalize the selection of the learning material.
Incremental learning is the opposite of the irrational school system learning in which a heavy focus is put on just a few areas of knowledge in a semester (at the cost of other, equally important, areas of learning).