Law School Professor Gabe Teninbaum has merged psychological research with computer technology to create a tool that will help students improve performance in core courses, pass the bar, and retain the knowledge gained in law school as they begin practice.

Gabe TeninbaumMore than 1,000 law students from law schools across the country have taken part in beta testing of Teninbaum’s scientifically based educational tool that promotes long-term retention of learned information.

The SeRiouS – or Spaced Repetition Systems – project employs cutting-edge technology to allow users to retain information at a much higher rate than traditional learning methods. The system uses electronic flashcards created by professors together with a scientifically tested algorithm designed to refresh students’ memories at the precisely correct moment to result in maximum learning.

Saving time and retaining more

SeRiouS was developed with support from Suffolk Law School’s Institute on Law Practice Technology and Innovation and is in keeping with Suffolk Law’s commitment to preparing practice-ready lawyers.

“By using spaced repetition, users are projected to remember 92 percent of the material … and if that’s not enough, it ultimately takes less time to study and learn using spaced repetition than other study methods,” writes Teninbaum in a blog post on the project.

That 92 percent retention level provides a sharp contrast to what the average student remembers. One landmark study found that within 24 hours of “memorizing” new information, only about 34 percent of it is remembered. At a month, it’s down to 21 percent.

Improved outcomes

The advantages provided by spaced repetition have been shown to improve testing outcomes significantly, something of particular value to law students as they prepare for important exams during law school, as well as the bar exam.

Teninbaum, who teaches Legal Practice Skills as well as a legal technology course, has spent several years developing this method. The project entered beta testing – accessible through the SeRiouS website  – this past spring and already has students from more than 200 law schools participating. Once launched, it will be offered free of charge to Suffolk Law students and made available to others for a nominal fee.

As the next phase of the project, Professor Teninbaum is collaborating with Professor Andrew Perlman, a law professor and expert on ethics who directs Suffolk Law’s Institute on Law Practice Technology and Innovation and the Law Practice Technology and Innovation concentration. Their work will create content for SeRiouS that will prepare students for the professional responsibility test that is a prerequisite for the bar exam.