Learning pattern app could boost exam performance

2 Dec 2011

An app creator has hacked into the minds of top exam performers to learn their methods and recreate these methods for students cramming for exams via a handy iPhone app called “Study Coach Pro”.

Twenty-five-year-old Cormac Moore from Headcase Ltd teamed up with Kablingy Software and uncovered the learning patterns elite students use to achieve high results.

A published researcher in the area of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) – the study of successful thinking patterns of outstanding individuals – Moore worked with 30 top-ranking college students to develop the app.

These included students who achieved First Class Honours degrees and who achieved more than 550 points in the Leaving Cert. He took their successful learning patterns and literally “downloaded” them using the tools of NLP.

These learning patterns were taken and tested on underperforming students to see if they could be transferred to make a positive impact on their exam results.

The improvements turned out to be dramatic, with all 50 students in the three pilot programmes making substantial improvements. One in particular went from 7pc in his maths exams to 70pc in a matter of days.

Some of the essential steps that these outstanding learners used were:

·        Regular testing: Before, during and after studying any topic, the elite learners tested themselves on the information they were learning.

·        Structure: They set themselves a strict time limit which resulted in them getting more work done in less time by entering a peak learning state known as ‘Flow’.

·        Tracking: They knew exactly how much time they spent per subject and so could make smarter decisions about what to study moving forward.

Moore’s epiphany

Moore trained with Dr Richard Bandler and alongside TV hypnotist Paul McKenna, PhD. He undertook his research in NUI Maynooth as part of an undergraduate placement and this went on to be published by the Innovation Taskforce Department of An Taoiseach. Cormac successfully raised finance to fund the development of this app at the start of 2011, when the majority of banks and funding sources were not providing credit.

Cormac got a brainwave from looking at the success of the leading fitness apps on the market and how they helped add structure, focus and tracking to improve the results of the end user. He set about creating a similar app, only applied to people’s learning and studying efforts.

“I developed the app so that students won’t need to fork out hard-earned cash to do repeats, or hand over another €2,000 to repeat the entire year. I think it’s better for third-level students to stress over what country in southeast Asia they should visit, rather than be locked in libraries during the summer months worrying about exams.”

The iPhone app is available in the iTunes App store and costs €2.39, but is free to download until Sunday, 4 December.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years