technique that uses a direct electric current to drive an otherwise non-spontaneous chemical reaction

Electrolysis is a scientific way of 'splitting' substances. It means 'electric-splitting' and involves the separation of substances through an electric current.

Metals above carbon in the reactivity series (potassium, sodium, lithium, calcium, magnesium and aluminium) are extracted by electrolysis.

Electrolysis is used in the mining industry to split reactive metals from their ores after they are taken from the ground. Electroplating is also used to plate (cover) things with metal because it costs less than using, for example, solid gold to make jewellery.

Many beauty shops use electrolysis or electrology to remove hair. This is done by "electrocuting" the hair so it splits along its root.

Electrolysis makes the anions (negative ions) go to the anode (positive electrode) and the cations (positive ions) go to the cathode (negative electrode). So, for example, oxygen would go to the anode and iron would go to the cathode.