If you thought that flash cards (or flashcards) were only for students in vocabulary training, you wouldn’t be more wrong. Flashcards can be used to memorize anything that requires retention through repetitive repetition; and that by its very definition anything you want to learn and commit to memory. True, flashcards gained their name and fame with phonics and spelling testers, but try it out on anything which you want to learn, and you have your most effective study guide.
Creating real flashcards is a time-consuming process. With an Android application that’s always with you, flashcards short circuits the clock. Let’s take a look at AnyMemo, an advanced spaced-repetition flash card learning application for Android (1.6+) that comes highly recommended via our Best Android Apps page. Pick your favorite topic and let’s see if we can give those brain cells a good jog.
The Install & the First Look
After installing the free Android app from the Google Play Store, we open it up to see an interface that on first impression lacks anything to write home about.
It is a simple stacked display of the various flashcard database files that you have at your disposal. AnyMemo launches with a single database file (French-body-parts.db). The multiple ones you see here are some others which I downloaded later.
The Three “Learning Styles”
We will get to the learning window and the cards soon enough, but first let’s go into the Options (click on Misc) and see that there are three ways we can style the grading buttons which are at the core of the flashcard learning program. As the screen below should you, AnyMemo gives you Mnemosyne and Anki grading styles apart from its own.
These two are well-known Flashcard programs. The grading buttons stand for different ways to grade your correct and wrong answers, and each flashcard system follows its own algorithm. I prefer Anki which is simple and gives me a more intuitive choice between Again and Too Easy. AnyMemo’s own though allows you to finely calibrate the intervals when the cards will be repeated.
The Learning Window
The Learning Screen is simple with a question area and an answer area with a separator in between. After recalling the answer (or no), you can touch the answer area to reveal the answer. You can self-grade using the buttons at the bottom of the screen.
Note: Long press the grade button to get the help about the meaning of each grade.
AnyMemo remembers all your grades and processes your answers so that it can space out the repletion of the questions accordingly in the next turn. Note the statistics on top of the screen, which indicates where you are on the learning curve.
The way you grade your answers will determine the interval of the same questions being asked again. For instance, cards with questions you have forgotten will be flashed more in the next turn so that you remember them better. Advanced users can also customize the scheduling algorithm so that new cards will only come in once you have learnt all the cards in the queue. For effective active learning, do enable Shuffle cards from Misc – Options.
5 Key Features Which Make AnyMemo a Recommended Program
There are quite a few ways to customize the AnyMemo, but let’s look at the five key ones which I think really make the app earn its stars.
Download thousands of flashcards
AnyMemo gives you loads of flashcards from known flashcard download sites like Flashcard Exchange, StudyStack.com, Quizlet.com, and AnyMemo’s own. What’s really great is that AnyMemo also allows you to connect to DropBox or Google Drive and upload – download content from the cloud storage services. For instance, you could have a set of pictures that you want to insert into your self-created flashcards.
Customize your flashcards
AnyMemo gives you advanced controls to customize your flashcards. Go to the AnyMemo’s Settings screen and change parameters like Question font size, Answer font size, Card style, Customize colors, and more. When you long press the cards, you can also edit the information on the card.
In the Edit screen for each card, you can also click on Add audio or Add image to insert these and enrich your own learning.
Question & Answer with Voice
If the text-to-speech module is installed on your device, you can make AnyMemo speak out the question and/or answers. This is really useful for language studies. By default the locale is set for the U.S.; you can change it to the other available ones from AnyMemo’s settings.
Use the Cram Mode before a test
If you want to quickly go through concepts before an exam, test yourself with the Cram Mode. To start the Cram Mode, just long press the database in the Recent list and select the Cram review.
Merge databases and create a larger question bank
AnyMemo allows you to merge two databases. This is very helpful as one can avoid flitting between databases on the same topic.
AnyMemo has quite a few other tweaks you can apply to the way you use it for your active learning. Fortunately, AnyMemo has a well-illustrated and compiled AnyMemo User Guide which also lists a few tips and tricks. That’s essential reading.
Try out AnyMemo Free and tell us how you compare it with other flashcard programs you tried in the past. Does AnyMemo Free cover all the bases for you?