If you’ve ever wished there was a way to just stare at a screen and automatically know a great deal about new topics, then you’re probably a fan of online learning. If you’ve been looking at various online language learning, flashcards and mnemonics, you’ve probably noticed that there’s a lot of great tools out there, but very few of them entice you to come back on a regular basis.
No-one knows why you didn’t go back – it might be because it didn’t teach you much or because you didn’t find the topics you wanted. But most likely, it was because you just weren’t gripped by it and simply forgot to go back.
Memrise has a new take on learning online. It’s created many great lessons with interesting topics, many of them language-based, and uses mnemonics to turn the act of learning into an art which is both enjoyable and easy. Then Memrise has taken the theory behind rote memorisation and determined how often you’ll need to be reminded of your previous learning. In order to get you to revisit the old classes they’ve gamified the process – and they’ve done it beautifully.
Memrise has been created by a team with credentials in neuroscience, languages and other memory professionals. They’ve used a good base in science to develop their methods and designed Memrise to be as memorable and fun as possible. They’ve turned learning into a game and a sort of competition. They’re also keen to get you involved in the Memrise community and forum, teaching things you know. Basically, they’re doing everything they can to make it easy for you to memorise things.
The Learning Process
Jump into any course you like and you’ll see that they’re built using images, video, audio and text. Each new word is introduced using something memorable to make it stick, then as you learn new words you are frequently tested on the ones you’ve already learned. This comes in the form of multiple choice questions, and questions where you need to type the answer. If you get the spelling wrong it will get you to copy the spelling correctly before you can continue.
The whole process is quick and fun – and you should see results in no time. It’s easy to keep going even if you think you know the vocabulary as you’re always presented with something different: a new word; a multiple choice test; or a test which gives you no help and asks you to spell the word correctly too.
If your aim is to develop your vocabulary and ensure those words are on the tip of your tongue when you need them, then Memrise is a very useful tool.
The Memrise Garden
Once you’ve signed up for free to Memrise, all of your learning progress will be saved. Memrise will determine how frequently each of your classes needs to be revisited and it will remind you to do so. Every new class you take depicts each new snippet of information (known as a ‘mem’) as a seed in your short-term memory. Those mems grow from being short-term memory seeds into plants in your long-term memory.
This visualisation of plants growing makes it easy to see how your overall memory garden is doing and what you need to tend in order to recall everything well.
Mnemonics and flashcards are ideal for language learning, which means a system like Memrise is perfectly suited to learning your favourite language. Memrise has more than 200 languages in the system, featuring many courses for Chinese, French, Italian, Spanish and German.
Other Memrise Courses
Memrise has evolved from pure language learning to feature all sorts of random fact topics, such as cheeses, the British cabinet, tropical fish and a number of silly humourous topics.
Create your own course if you like! Memrise will automatically help you to build your mems by searching for relevant content matching what you enter.
Alternative Language Learning Tools
Language learning online is nothing new and there are many other tools you might like to try, such as Busuu, Lernu, various language-learning games and Google Translate. However, when it comes to languages, you can never really get too much practice. Try everything and keep coming back to whatever works for you!
So, have you ever wanted to learn Chinese? What else do you want Memrise to teach? Let us know in the comments!
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