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V2 – Creating a Better Learning Experience

Today, we released a new version of Picmonic, Version 2 (V2). This exciting and momentous launch is changing the face of learning as we know it. Over the past year and a half, we have been working diligently to bring the best audiovisual learning solution to more than 40,000 students in 75 countries. We’ve had the most incredible advocates, members, educators, vendors and teammates join us on this adventure. And it’s because of you that we are making these changes. Your feedback, ideas, thoughts and even complaints have been the driving factors for creating the ultimate audiovisual learning solution. We believe in the incredible power of education, whether it is helping educate better doctors or inspiring an 8th grader to fall in love with science again. We knew that we had an incredible opportunity to change the way the world uses pictures, but in order to do it we had to make substantial modifications to our Learning System. When we sat down a year ago and began preliminary discussions on improving Picmonic we had one goal: Make Picmonic the most effective, most reliable visual learning platform on the planet so that we improve the successes of our members. We knew that in order to accomplish this we had to focus on three core areas:
  • Architectural Upgrades
  • Study Enhancements
  • Speed

Architectural Upgrades

In order to really improve ease of use and streamline organization, we had to overhaul the entire user interface.  We aimed for familiarity in the transition between V1 and V2, so that our members could seamlessly begin using the upgraded site, even if the are in they are in the heat of their studying. It was imperative that any member could jump in at any given time and begin learning and remembering. Internally, we’ve completely re-written application code using modern best practices to create a new agile framework to ensure better performance and increased security. We also improved our database which allows for more flexibility. Picmonic’s foundation is now built on a highly available and scalable cloud platform. If we had a dollar for every modification, iteration, final review, and then final review #312324, we could have already paid off Adeel Yang’s student loans. Thankfully, the blood, sweat and tears were totally worth it. We believe that Picmonic acts, looks, and feels better, but we’ll leave it up to you to make the final call.

Study Enhancements

Increasing our members’ ability to learn, retain and recall information is what the Picmonic team lives and breathes for. In addition to extensive student and educator feedback, we sourced neuro and cognitive scientists to help us better understand how to increase memory retention, while integrating user interface experts to allow for flexibility within different learning styles. Through that research we’ve introduced four learning modes: Listen, Explore, Review and Quiz. This allows our users the best opportunity to link all the information from one concept into an unforgettable multimedia experience where they learn the key facts, digest the details, and actively practice retrieval and assessment on both fact and card levels. Listen –  This inaugural step in learning a Picmonic is designed to help you connect every key fact to its visual character by listening and viewing the Picmonic so that you remember the entire image. Explore –  This step is designed to help you learn the information and the details of every fact within the image. We encourage you to take notes, review the summary, and check out the community forums. Once you have a solid foundation, move onto Review. Review – All the text will now be hidden! You should be able to remember what the image represents. Try and recall every fact linked to its visual representation or character. Once you’re sure you’ve got all the key facts down, it’s time to Quiz yourself! Quiz – Here’s the hard part- or the easiest. The picture will now be hidden. Can you visualize the masked characters and the key facts they represent? Can you remember what comes next? This is especially helpful for remembering steps to different processes!

Speed

Last but not least, speed. Our members are brilliant. And we mean that. THEY ARE BRILLIANT. So brilliant, in fact, that our former Learning System could not keep up with the speed at which our members were absorbing content. Because Picmonic’s research-proven Learning System allows students to learn information faster, they did just that. We had to increase the speed at which a user could load, listen to, and learn a card. So, that’s what our developers focused on. In order to improve performance and reliability, we installed all new, high-performance Web servers along with advanced database and cache servers. All visual and audio assets were replicated across multiple locations around the globe to ensure faster loading times no matter where our members access Picmonic. We also drastically improved our Library by enhancing browsing, filtering and searching. Seriously, go try this. We freaked out. Simply stated: Now, members can browse, search, load, and learn content faster than ever before. In its infant stages, V2 was, well.. let’s just say that the expression “a child only a mother could love” fits perfectly. Today is your first day on the newest platform, and the metaphorical turning of the page in Picmonic’s next chapter.  And though Version 2 is lightyears better that the original – we’re not done quite yet. We have a ton more planned for the future, and we can’t wait share it with you.  But for now, we hope you love V2 as much as we loved creating it. Enjoy the new Picmonic. Together, let’s make learning substantially easier. With love and dreams for the future, The Picmonic Team
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