Tag Archives: Memrise

Lifehacker on spaced learning

27 Feb

I have been posting a lot over this last week about flashcards. Here is a good short piece from Lifehacker about the underlying principle: spaced repetition learning:

“the idea here is that shorter sessions spaced out will be more effective, you don’t need to build up studying as a massive task. You can study a little bit every day and retain much more information.”



Spaced repetition with flashcards

23 Feb

Yesterday, I blogged about flashcards. Using flashcards is a highly effective memory technique. Computerized spaced repetition software can make flashcards much more effective. However, it is possible to use spaced repetition with paper flashcards.

This video is about using flashcards to learn Japanese Kanji, but it is worth watching even if you are not studying Japanese. It is a good example of how to use flashcards to maximum effect:


Cellphone apps for language learning

16 Mar

Zach Simon at The Huffington Post blogs about cellphone apps for language learning. The article is geared for iphone users, for those of us who use Android phones there are also many good language learning programs, I recommend Anki and Memrise, both of which you can sync between your mobile device and your work station.

Beyond that, just do a search for your target language and you’ll be surprised by the wealth of language learning materials available.

Image representing Memrise as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

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Welcome Esperantists!

13 Mar

The last few days has brought a number of emails from Esperantists. Readers of this blog know that I advocate language learning both in its own right and for its possible effects as a cognitive enhancer. The three languages that interest me are Esperanto, Japanese, and Sanskrit. Lately, I have mostly been concentrating on Japanese, but I study  a little bit of each language everyday. I use Memrise to maintain and increase my vocabulary in all three languages.

I have, at this point, a rudimentary Esperanto vocabulary, but given my new Esperantist friends, I’ll have to aim for greater fluency. In the meantime I’ll ask my correspondents to be patient, it may take me a few days to respond, but thank you for your interest!


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Jeopardy! champions use Anki

15 Feb

Readers of this blog know that I am enthusiastic about spaced repetition software, such as Anki and Memrise, as a memory improvement technique.

In an interview with Mental Floss, Jeopardy Champion Arthur Chu describes his use of Anki:

“I used a program called Anki which uses a method called “spaced repetition.” It keeps track of where you’re doing well or poorly, and pushes you to study the flashcards you don’t know as well, until you develop an even knowledge base about a particular subject, and I just made flashcards for those specific things. I memorized all the world capitals, it wasn’t that hard once I had the flashcards and was using them every day. I memorized the US State Nicknames (they’re on Wikipedia), memorized the basic important facts about the 44 US Presidents.”

Here Chu describes his overall Jeopardy! strategy:

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An overview of Memrise

8 Jul

I am going to make a bold prediction: spaced repetition software will revolutionize education. Merging the principles of memory first discovered by Hermann Ebbinghaus with sophisticated software now allows us to make difficult memory tasks and make them both easier and more efficient.

Let’s take the example of learning a foreign language vocabulary. Vocabulary learning may be the biggest hurdle for people learning a new language. Spaced repetition software allows you to master vocabulary with small amounts of daily practice. The most persuasive argument I can make here is experiential. I invite you to try Memrise.

Memrise is the brain child of memory grand master Ed Cooke. It is a well designed  online spaced repetition flashcard program.

To use Memrise first visit the homepage:


Click start and create a free account.

mem-log in

After you have created your account you can choose flash cards  from an astonishingly large list of languages and other topics.

mem languages available

Here is my dashboard page showing two of the  languages I am studying

my dashboard

Memrise use a garden metaphor to describe learning. “Planting” means adding words to the list you want to learn, while, “watering” refers to your daily review. To get the most out of Memrise you should plan to water everyday (a process that usually takes just a few minutes) and to plant when you feel ready to move onto to new material.

Everyday, Memrise will test you on some subset of your chosen words. It will do this either by fill in the blank questions or multiple choice.

question answer

The software will evaluate how well you know each word and decide when to ask you again. If you do not know a word it will schedule to ask you again very soon. If you do know a word it increases the interval before it repeats that question. This spaced repetition procedure is known to counteract forgetting.

Memrise also provides you with user generated mnemonics to help you lean words. At the end of each session it gives you a summary of your work for that day. There is a point system that serves as a motivator.

Since this is a web based service you can access Memrise from anywhere. Memrise now has smartphone apps available. Start building a better memory today!


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