Monday, March 10, 2014

Flipped reading – 7 reasons why reading just got super-fast

Education often slows down learning. One reason I’m not for the current orthodoxy in social constructivism is the fact that it slows down many types of learning for many people. My efficiencies in learning over the years have come from the fact that my learning is digital by default, asynchronous by default, available to anyone, anywhere at anytime. So imagine being able to read five or more times faster. Typical experienced reading rates are between 200-400 words per minute. Can this be increased to 1000 words per minute, adding not subtracting attention and comprehension? Try it.
1. Reading shaped by old inefficient tech
We may not realise it but papyrus, parchment and paper are technologies, wasteful technologies at that, especially paper with its polluting, deforestation and landfill problems. Remember that a book is not the physical object but the text. Fact is, most of us do most of our reading online these days. That’s solved these problems but it may also solve another – speed. Reading has been shaped by papyrus, parchment and paper. They remain fixed, while your eyes have to do all the work. Now, along comes a technology that literally flips that model. The words move, not your eyes.
2. Much faster reading
Speed reading software from Spritz works because they’ve looked carefully at what actually happens when we read. We all have an optimal attention point when reading words, which is just left of centre of each word. This is the point (Optimal Recognition Point) at which the brain centres then registers the meaning of the word. The software knows this recognition point for words and presents that letter in red at exactly the same point on the screen. Your eyes don’t have to move so time and effort is saved. Try it – it’s remarkably effective.
3. Text-based learning
One basic skill is still primary in learning – reading. Let’s face it, much of our learning, even communication and collaboration is still through text. Google, Wikipedia, e-books, texting, Facebook, Twitter, email are all still fundamentally text media. Increasing this mode of learning is therefore a significant productivity win.
4. Quicker & better comprehension
They even claim quicker and increased comprehension and I can see why. The effortless focus means you can attend to meaning rather than the effort of physical reading from a page.
5. More psychological attention
The fact that you are having to do less physical work means that psychological attention is focussed. Attention is a necessary condition for learning. It wanes in lectures and wanes when reading. This massively extends your ability to sustain that attention.
6. Language learning
I could see this work well with language learning in terms of quickening up vocabulary and sentence acquisition. It should also work with Arabic if the same rules about Optimal Recognition Point apply (interesting question). It could even be used to increase early reading skills by accelerating reading and vocabulary acquisition.
7. Power up with wearables
The fact that it can be delivered on small mobile screens, Google Glass and watches. You have no scrolling, paging, contracting and expanding. In fact, it has been announced as a feature of the Galaxy S5 and Galaxy Gear 2. Now imagine it being delivered on an Oculus Rift for total psychological attention and no distractions.

Breakthroughs often come by flipping or reversing models. These ‘Copernican’ revolutions have changed the world forever. Thomas Khun saw this as the key driver in scientific progress but it has also been noted that it works on a smaller scale with technology. One could argue that it works particularly well in learning. The flipped classroom is just one example, flipped reading may be another.


Craig Taylor said...

Hi Donald,

With any luck somebody will apply this to 'compliance training' so that I can get through the crap to the assessment even quicker



Unknown said...

Craig just gotta love your comment! :)

Anonymous said...

hmm speed readers as they are which focus on single words may have limited applications in language learning given the evidence that a lot of language acquisition relies on multi-word units