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innerdrive reviews

Carousel Learning

Overall
Usability
Usefulness
Financial cost
Evidence base
Carousel Learning

What is Carousel Learning?

Carousel Learning is an online platform created for both teachers and students. The former can use the platform to create quizzes or online question banks for their students, whilst the latter can use it for revision and for practising retrieval.

Why use Carousel Learning?

Refined from co-founder Adam Boxer’s Retrieval Roulette prototype, Carousel Learning provides teachers with a simple way of enhancing their students’ learning through the combination of spacing and retrieval practice – two of the most effective revision techniques students can utilise.

Who is Carousel Learning for?

Carousel Learning can be used by all students, irrespective of what year they’re in. In the community section, resources range from KS1 all the way through to KS5 with material covering a range of different examining boards with AQA, WJEC, OCR and CCEA just being a few of the exam boards with quizzes. If teachers can’t find a quiz or question bank they like, they can easily create one that is tailored to their curriculum.

Evidence base

Carousel Learning is built around very strong scientific evidence on retrieval practice, spacing and interleaving — and how these strategies helps students learn. Not familiar? Here’s what they consist of…

Retrieval practice

Retrieval practice, also referred to as the Testing Effect, is any activity that forces students to generate an answer to a question. Not only has research shown that retrieval practice boosts students’ confidence and memory, but it also enhances memory during stressful situations such as exams and helps students identify why they do and don’t know. This is because students can make links between their learning.

Carousel Learning does this by allowing students to revise before taking a quiz on topics they have learned in class. Unlike most retrieval-based websites which rely on multiple-choice questions, quizzes on Carousel Learning are mostly made up of questions that require students to write a short to medium answer.

Spacing and interleaving

Spacing and interleaving both rely on leaving gaps between revision sessions to make stronger memory connections. However, they’re not the same: spacing consists in leaving large periods of time between revision sessions on one given topic, whereas interleaving consists in alternating between topics during one revision session.

Carousel Learning uses spacing by retesting students on questions they previously answered incorrectly after a specific amount of time using spaced repetition algorithms. By combining retrieval practice and spacing, knowledge is embedded into students’ long-term memory so students can effectively apply this information to new contexts.

Usability

In order to use Carousel Learning, neither students nor teachers need specific training, and the website can be easily accessed at home or whilst in the classroom.

Signing up to the platform takes a matter of minutes. If you encounter any difficulty with this process, Carousel Learning has both a short 2-minute video explaining the layout of the website on its home page and a 15-minute demo video of how to use the website for those who would like a more in-depth introduction. However, to use Carousel Learning, access to the internet and a computer/tablet is necessary.

Usefulness

Carousel Learning enables students to practice retrieval and saves teachers from constant marking as students can self-mark their work. The community feature is also a useful tool as it allows teachers from across the world to share resources with one another; so if a teacher is in a rush, they don’t always have to make a question bank from scratch.

It is also worth noting that as Carousel Learning is still a new platform. They seem to be adding new features that should help further expand student learning. To keep up to date with the latest resources, you can follow them on Twitter or join their mailing list.

Financial cost

Registering as a Carousel Silver member is free to do, and the registration process takes minutes. However, access to a computer/tablet and the internet is necessary.

Carousel Learning has just introduced Gold and Platinum versions that offer users more features that requires a yearly subscription fee. These features include unlimited quizzes and question banks, premium quiz content, independent learning modes and whole class feedback reports. Although it costs money, we think the resources and features you get as a result are worth it.

Why we like it

  • Easy to use – Teachers don’t need any special skills or training to set up quizzes or question banks and students can easily access the resources their teacher sets them.
  • Immediate feedback – Students don’t have to wait for teachers to mark their work, they can mark their own work so can immediately identify areas they need to focus on. If the teacher disagrees with their answer, they can change it.
  • Uses effective learning methods – Retrieval practice and spacing are some of the most effective revision strategies out there for improving students’ memory recall and have been widely supported by an abundance of research.
  • Concentrate on weaknesses – Their spaced repetition algorithms means that students can improve their knowledge of and get tested on specific topics that they understand less.
  • Works with teachers to address issues – Carousel Learning is constantly adapting to become a better resource, and regularly works closely with teachers to ensure they’re on the right track.

Final thoughts

Overall, Carousel Learning seems to be an effective retrieval practice tool that both students and teachers alike can take advantage of. Signing up is free and easy to do, as the demo and introductory videos clearly explain how teachers can make the most of the question banks and demonstrate important steps of signing up.

Their use of spaced repetition algorithms to select questions students are tested on means that students are continuously retrieving both old and newly acquired knowledge. However, access to a computer or tablet is necessary as the website is not mobile compatible.

You might also be interested in…

  • Quizlet – Both students and teachers can make flashcards that provide students with the opportunity to learn and test themselves in an informal setting with 7 different study modes.
  • Google Classroom – A free service that allows better teacher-student interactions outside the classroom. Teachers can post assignments, create multiple-choice quizzes and immediately answer student questions, whilst students can use the platform to submit work.
  • Seneca – Students can use Seneca for revision, utilising the platform to learn information before testing themselves, whilst teachers can use it to set homework tasks and track their students’ progress. See our review…
  • Brainscape – Students and teachers can use Brainscape to study adaptive flashcards. The website uses spaced repetition algorithms to target students weaknesses so they can gain more confidence in those areas.

Related resources

If you are looking for other resources to maximise your students’ learning and help ensure they are adequately prepared for their exams, then several of our revision blogs will be useful. Here are just a few of the blog we recommend:

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