(Update: The incremental video is done, I just need to sync the recorded video and audio together. It's about 30 minutes long.)
First of all, I am very grateful to those that posted a link to the Pimsleur Method in Wikipedia, it proved most helpful. I am most interested in the intervals between reviewing newly learned information; here is what they (apparently) use at Pimsleur:
In other words, after you first learn a new word, you are quizzed over that new word after 5 seconds. 25 seconds later, you are asked about that word again. 2 minuets later, you are asked again. etc. etc.
Once you begin discussing intervals that are days, weeks or months long, you are in long-term retention territory, which SuperMemo and Anki already do very well. But for those first six intervals, I think there is something very useful there: 5 seconds, 25 seconds, 2 minutes, 10 minutes, 1 hour, 5 hours.
As an experiment, I tried to figure out if these same increments could be used to remember other things. To do this, I first found a timer app for my iPhone that supported multiple timers. Instead of setting a timer each time I reviewed something, I would rather start six timers at once and review the information when each timer went off. To do this, I simply totaled each increment with the previous one.
By adding 5 seconds to 25 seconds, you get 30 seconds. Adding 30 seconds to 2 minutes gives you 2:30 min. Adding 10 minutes to 2:30 min gives you 12:30 min and so on. For the first few increments, I decided that I should add 5 seconds or so to allow for actual reviewing time. Thus, I ended up with a little (fairly impractical) study system: Learn a new word (or two) with a physical flashcard, then start all six timers. Each time the timer goes off I review the word(s). In between I had to do something mentally stimulating (Play a game, watch the news, etc.) otherwise I would think about the flashcards I was learning and potentially skew the results.
Here are the intervals:
0:09 - (5 seconds plus 4 seconds to review when the alarm goes off)
0:45 - (25 seconds plus the 10 seconds of the previous interval, with 10 seconds to review)
2:30 - (2 minutes plus the 30 seconds of the previous interval)
12:30 - (10 minutes plus the 2:30 from the previous interval)
1:12:30 - (12:30 plus 1 hour)
6:12:30 - (1:12:30 plus 5 hours)
I thought adding a few extra seconds for review to the first two intervals would be good because the intervals are already very short to begin with (Otherwise the intervals might overlap). After you start waiting for more than a couple of minutes, having an extra few seconds seems to matter less, especially after 12 minutes.
But the result of this experiment was this: any word I put forth effort to learn (Which usually meant making a mnemonic or Chinese character connection with), was learned. It doesn't matter if the word I tried to learn was a Hindi word (Which I have no experience in) or a Chinese word (Which I have quite a bit of experience in). When I applied this formula to learning new words, by the time I hit the fifth interval (1:12:30), I had no problems recalling the word. After putting the word into SuperMemo, it has been stable in my mind and I use it with as much ease as I do other words.
Basically, I think we have found a reliable formula that maximizes the solid, short-term retention on desired information.
Please try this yourself, but make sure you are doing something that arrests your attention in between the intervals (Play a video game, watch a TV show, etc.), don't think about the word you are trying to learn. Otherwise your mental grip on the word doesn't have a chance to strengthen.
While it is possible to use multiple timers to pull this off, it is not extremely convenient to do. If this entire thing were packaged as an app, I think it would be most useful (And perhaps profitable if it catches on). If anybody has any experience with Objective C, please leave me your info (I won't publish the comment if it contains your contact information).
Here's how the app would work (Roughly):
Create a flashcard of something you want to learn (Vocab word, phrase, etc.) and press "LEARN." This would start a timer that goes off after 5 seconds. The alarm goes off, you review the word. If you get it correct, it goes onto the next interval (25 seconds). Incorrect, it goes back to 5 seconds. Keep repeating this pattern until you hit the 5 hour interval, and you've now learned that word. The word can be put into Anki, SuperMemo, etc. and then deleted (From the short-term flashcard app). BUT, once a word has gone onto 2 or 10 minutes, it would be very easy to add another word into the mix (Each with its own set of timers). Once that word's intervals goes to 2 or 10 minutes, add another. Like trying to keep track of spinning plates, the app would keep track of which cards need immediate review, so you don't have to fiddle with timers and physical flashcards.
Also, if you know of an App that already does this, please mention so in the comments. Thank you very much.
I'm fairly confident this will be useful to lots of people (Myself included).