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Qstream is online learning radically simplified.

1.  Select


a Qstream to be delivered to you

Browse or search the Qstream directory.

Courses cover a wide variety of topics and more are being added every day. (By the way, if you have a great idea for a Qstream you could earn money by creating it yourself.)

2. Learn


through answering questions

Courses consist entirely of questions and answers.

They are sent to you in small amounts (typically 1 or 2 a day) on a regular schedule via email, the Web or RSS. They can be accessed from a desktop browser or a mobile device such as an iPhone or BlackBerry.

3. Remember


and master the material

Questions repeat based on your answers.

The sequence of questions will adapt based on your answers. To improve retention, questions typically repeat several times. Get a question wrong and it repeats sooner. Get it right one or more times in a row and it is retired from the Qstream. Retire all questions to complete the Qstream.

A fun, convenient way to learn and proven to work.

Additional Information

In addition to the material presented here, you can also view our list of frequently asked questions for answers to common questions.

For more information on the peer-reviewed research behind spaced education, please visit our Research section.

Qstream is a platform designed to allow learners and teachers to harness the educational benefits of spaced education. Spaced education is a novel method of online education developed and rigorously investigated by Dr. B. Price Kerfoot (Associate Professor, Harvard Medical School).

It is based upon two core psychology research findings: the spacing effect and the testing effect. In more than 10 randomized trials completed to date, spaced education has been found to:

  • Improve knowledge acquisition,
  • Increase long-term knowledge retention (out to 2 years),
  • Change behavior,
  • Boost learners' abilities to accurately self-assess their knowledge.

In addition, spaced education is extremely well-accepted by learners.

The spacing effect refers to the psychology research finding that information which is presented and repeated over spaced intervals is learned and retained more effectively, in comparison to traditional bolus ('binge-and-purge') methods of education.

The testing effect refers to the research finding that the long-term retention of information is significantly improved by testing learners on this information. Testing is not merely a means to measure a learner's level of knowledge, but rather causes knowledge to be stored more effectively in long-term memory.

The spaced education methodology is content-neutral and thus can be utilized to learn most anything. Potential applications range from teaching chemistry concepts to high school students to reinforcing Arabic language skills among health workers in the Middle East. It can also be used to reinforce educational material which was initially presented in the classroom. The full multi-media capabilities of the Internet can be harnessed to create a rich and effective learning experience.

Our method has been proven to work. Data from over 10 large randomized controlled trials (RCTs) demonstrate that it is effective, efficient, addictive and changes behavior. Some key highlights are:

Characteristic Claim Evidence
Effective Generates improved long-term retention of knowledge in only minutes a day.
  • Increased retention of knowledge for 2+ years (compared to self-study) in RCT of 524 physicians.
Changes Behavior Proven to positively impact on-the-job performance and change even engrained behavior.
  • Decreased unnecessary cancer screenings by 26% in RCT of 95 VA primary care providers, representing a potential cost savings of $650,000 per annum in test costs alone.
Efficient Adaptive algorithm reduces time to acquire same amount of knowledge as non-adaptive methods
  • 38% increase in learning efficiency due to adaptive algorithm (compared to non-adaptive method) in RCT of 93 medical students.
Addictive Learning pushed on a daily basis requiring no more than 5 minutes a day and delivering instant feedback on progress is proven to be addictive.
  • 77-95% of the 3500+ users to date request to enroll in more Qstreams.
  • Completion rates greater than 70%
  • Preferred 3:1 over web-based teaching modules (a gold-standard of e-learning) in RCT of 724 physicians.

For more information on the randomized controlled trials and other peer reviewed research, please visit our Research section.

Spaced education combines the educational benefits of both the spacing and testing effects. Qstream material is delivered electronically to learners at regular intervals in a test-question format. Upon submitting answers to questions, learners receive immediate feedback and educational material on that topic. The Qstream material is then reinforced over spaced intervals to take advantage of the spacing effect. The delivery intervals, the spacing intervals and the number of reinforcements can be personalized to meet the specific needs of the learners.

Qstreams use an adaptive reinforcement algorithm to customize the spacing and content of the Qstream material for each learner based on his or her demonstrated knowledge level. By reducing unnecessary reinforcement of already-mastered content among learners with high baseline knowledge levels, Qstream's adaptive reinforcement has been shown to improve learning efficiency by 38%.

Here is an example how a Qstream is structured:

  • Each learner receives 2 questions every day via email.
  • If a question is answered incorrectly, it will be repeated 1 week later.
  • If a question is answered correctly, it will be repeated 3 weeks later.
  • If a question is answered correctly two times in a row, the item is retired from the Qstream and is no longer repeated.
  • The learner completes the Qstream when all of the questions are retired (answered correctly twice in a row).

  1. Browse the Qstream listings for a Qstream of interest.
  2. After clicking 'Enroll' and paying the Qstream fee (if applicable), select how you would like to receive the Qstream: email, RSS, etc.
  3. If you wish, customize the delivery and spacing parameters for the Qstream. (Default parameters have been set by the Qstream author).
  4. You are good to go - the first questions should be delivered to you shortly after enrolling. Enjoy!

  1. On your dashboard, click 'New Course' and enter the Qstream title and description.
  2. Add educational material to the Qstream in three question-formats: multiple choice, fill in the blank, and multiple correct answer.
  3. You may include photos, YouTube videos, audio, animations, and hyperlinks in your Qstream.
  4. Qstream reserves the right to place advertising and/or sponsorship on the Qstream materials.
  5. If you wish to provide Qstreams for a fee, consider using our Qstream Enterprise product and contact us for pricing information.
  6. Please update your profile with your picture and resume so that learners can get to know the Qstream author.
  7. On the 'Qstream description' page, change your Qstream from 'draft' to 'live'. Now learners will be able to sign up for your Qstream!
  8. Please consider interacting with the learners on the Answer Blogs for each question. This is an excellent method to create a community of learners around your Qstream. The learners may also be able to identify errors in the questions, make suggestions for improvements, and/or add new information and references on the topic on hand.
  9. You can follow the progress of learners and their ratings of your Qstream the 'Qstream reports' pages.
  10. Invite your friends, colleagues and students to take your Qstream.