If time is the currency with which we buy skills, then school is a mom & pop shop and Anki is Amazon. No wait, that doesn’t quite do justice to the disparity; school is a mom & pop shop, and Anki is that dude selling stolen Bose stereo systems out of his van behind the 7/11. You still have to spend money (time) getting what you want, but you get it at a tiny little fraction of the ‘normal’ cost.
Nowhere is this more obvious than in class. Every day we have a *shudder* word list to memorize, and have to take a spelling test about those words the next day (believe it or not, you don’t even have to know what they mean, you just have to spell them correctly). I just open up my special Korean Class Anki deck, put a picture of the word in the ‘question’ field, and the correct spelling of the word in the ‘answer’ field. Visual input -> output + spelling. Bing bang boom. Plenty of time left to do my real, audio-based sentence deck.
My classmates, on the other hand, literally spend hours mindlessly copying out our vocabulary by hand over and over again, only to repeatedly score around 60% correctly on the daily spelling exam (my daily average is between 95% and 100%, and I ain’t not no jenius). When I suggest they change their methods, I’m met with “yeah, I need to study more” responses. Already they’re starting to go back and re-do each day’s hours of copying because of the upcoming test, a strategy which of course will take them more hours than there are in a day. It’s absolute insanity, but hey, whatever. I just shrug, go home, bust out some pushups, and watch horrific amounts of Korean TV.
Surgical applications of technology can turn mountains into speed bumps, and everyone knows it’s actually kind of fun to haul ass over speed bumps. I’m verifiably outscoring my classmates by leaps and bounds, and yet I’m verifiably the laziest person in the room.
If you want to feel good about your L2 skills, spend a few hours with a new L3. If you want to know how effective an SRS is, spend a few hours in a classroom.