SuperMemo keeps knowledge in a collection of pages called here knowledge elements.
Because of the specific needs of the process of learning, knowledge elements are usually composed of a few short sentences which makes them differ from pages of information stored, for example, in help systems, which often keep lengthy textual information that is used for reference, not for learning.
Each knowledge elements can keep information in the form of text, sound, images, video, animation, etc. Application of those different information media make SuperMemo a multimedia product.
Moving between knowledge elements in order to locate the one of interest is called navigation.
To make navigation easier, knowledge elements are organized into groups and subgroups that form the so-called knowledge hierarchy. As you run SuperMemo, you can click the Contents button to see the Contents window which presents the knowledge hierarchy in a graphic form.
In addition to knowledge hierarchy, particular knowledge elements in SuperMemo are often interconnected by means of so-called hyperlinks. A hyperlink is a connection between a part of a knowledge element, e.g. a sentence or a picture, and another knowledge element. You can click such a hyperlinked sentence or picture and move directly to the connected knowledge element.
Knowledge elements, organized into the knowledge hierarchy, and interconnected by means of hyperlinks are called here knowledge systems. Knowledge systems are used in SuperMemo to store knowledge that is designed specifically for the purpose of effective learning.
Upon launching SuperMemo, two windows appear: (1) the element window with the current element of the knowledge system (in the front), and (2) the hierarchy window with the graphic presentation of the structure of the knowledge system (note that the hierarchy window, also called the contents window, will not appear in hidden SuperMemo).
The main toolbar of the element window is called the navigation toolbar and contains buttons useful in navigation such as Contents, Search, Next, etc.
Apart from using SuperMemo navigation mechanisms, you can also use hyperlinks created by knowledge system author to move between different elements. The presence of hyperlinks is what makes the world of difference between multimedia and hypermedia.
Note that two kinds of knowledge elements are used in SuperMemo:
* topics - present synthetic presentation of the learned or presented material, and are mostly used in navigation or review
* items - formed as stimulus-response pairs, present topics decomposed along the principle of minimum information, and are mostly used in the learning process
As topics are less suitable for repetition, they will be presented only once in the course of learning and dismissed (i.e. removed from the learning process for good). If you want a topic to enter the learning process along other items, choose Commit at the bottom of the element window.