For my new German project I’m constantly on the hunt for cool sites and apps to help me learn faster. Even though I know there are no magical ways to learn any language faster than light, there are certainly ways to make my life easier. Memrise is supposed to be such a way. Here’s my über honest Memrise review.
Basically Memrise is a community-driven flashcard site, with some neat features. For one it supports audio, images and mnemonics. It’s also a bit, eh… quirky. You don’t simply learn words, but rather “plant” and “grow” them. This is a great analogy which will certain speak to the more playful language learners out there.
That’s all super cool, but implementation is everything.
The short and dirty honest Memrise review
This sh– is community-driven to the max, but that doesn’t mean the quality of the decks sucks. Somewhere there are some natives checking everything and quality stuff is clearly promoted on the site by the developers.
I also like the fact there’s audio and images. There are also mnemonics for several items, but I find I never use them (this says more about me, as I know more than enough language learners who love them). Most audio (for the German deck at least) is very crisp, although the volume differs. One time I was blown out of my chair when suddenly a loud male voice came through my headset. I almost died of a heart attack, true story.
Another thing I like are the different options to practice. Whereas with many flashcard programs you sit passively and just click around, Memrise offers you more options.
You begin with seeing the word for the first time, and then it cycles between multiple choice cards with English-target language, target language-English, and typing the word in the target language. This certainly keeps me engaged, although I’d like to see some kind of CLOZE option and sentences.
What’s not so cool
Now, my beef with Memrise is that it looks very cool and web 2.0, but that too many mouse clicks are required.
As I’m going through the list of 1000 most common German words, I don’t just want to see words but also complete sentences. Luckily those are available, but only when I move my cursor and click a link.
You see, my time is precious. I like the stuff I use to be super intuitive, not force me to take any additional steps.
Also, when there’s audio for single words, why can’t there be an option to include audio for sentences? This sucks!
Is it an Anki killer?
Unfortunately, it’s not. Anki is still king of the hill, especially now Damien has rolled out version 2.0.
Memrise is certainly a great introduction to spaced repetition-based learning, but there is much room for improvement. I get it that a developer needs time to fit a product to the needs of its audience, and Memrise is still in beta.
Still, all this means I will keep an eye on Memrise, but that I still recommend Anki to every serious language learner out there.
What’s your experience with Memrise?
This is simply my experience using Memrise for a week. I know there are peoplenout there that absolutely love it, and I’m curious if they can make me change my mind.
Tell me what you do and don’t love about Memrise!
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