In relation to the AR Engine, the target date affects how words progress across categories:
- Shortening the time to the target date might make more words ready.
- Pushing back the target date might remove some words that are currently in ready state.
The AR Engine monitors and boosts the strength of each word to optimize recall on that target date. For standardized test takers, the target date is the “exam date.” For school students, it’s typically set to the end of the school year.
Examples of how the AR Engine uses target date:
Target Date: 1 year from now
- The AR Engine structures learning for long-term consolidation.
- New words are encountered less frequently and words are quizzed many times. Students sometimes feel that the AR Engine is quizzing them on words they already know well, but the AR Engine strengthens the word for recall far into the future (the target date).
- Progress is slower but words are learned robustly.
Target Date: 1 month from now
- Each word needs just enough consolidation to be remembered 30 days from now. Consequently, a student sees fewer questions and less repetition, and therefore encounters more new words.
- The student appears to be progressing rapidly, but each word is learned just well enough to be remembered a month from today. Long-term recall beyond that span is not guaranteed.
This intuitively makes sense because of how memory works: if you currently have 100 words ready for a next-month target date, and you move your target date to sometime next year, it’s likely that you’ll need additional practice on all 100 words. These words are now no longer ready for the target date. More practice is required over the next year.