Wednesday, 25 February 2015

The Cards Increase

I had a lesson last night and tonight I decided to make some cards for the Anki app.

I find it quite useful as a focus to revise and then running through a set of cards is a good break from what I've just learnt.

Tonight it was 140 cards in 16 minutes and it seemed better, although the new cards has increased the variation in sections and therefore reduced the number of hits for my problem areas; therefore I think I might have to do some extra work on those tomorrow. This is a simple enough exercise as the deck can be filtered by tag.

A definite step forward but is it a new toy moment... we'll see.

Monday, 23 February 2015

Initial Progress with Flash Cards

Tonight has been a struggle.

When the database of flash cards is first constructed the number of cards to view is low, the variation is low (in terms of subject headings) while the repetition is low.  As the database gets much larger the number of cards to view is higher, the variation (in terms of subject headings) is higher and the repetition of that subject matter is less. Therefore the test of remembering is much more challenging but much more illuminating as far as problem areas are concerned.

Tonight I had 20 old cards and 55 new cards, I completed 157 views in 21 minutes. This shows that some cards were problematic.

The problem sections were I did/We did/Did you and I have got/We have/Have you got so the challenge now is to focus in those areas. For the cards I've created this is Section 4 and Section 5 so I'll create custom decks and train with those in addition to the daily view.

Fingers crossed :-)

Got to the Sticking Point

I've tried a number of times to try and learn another language, mainly German because I'm an engineer and it is probably the most useful second language to me. Each time I've tried I've worked well through the initial lessons; systematically understanding what is being taught but, there comes a point in time, when I'm no longer practicing the sections I've learnt during class time and I'm expected to have remembered them ... but I haven't.

I recently moved to Wales and decided it was such a good opportunity to learn Welsh as a second language. The continuous exposure to the language and the opportunity to use the language in everyday environments - not every everyday environment but there are plenty of opportunities - was too good to pass up.

I started lessons in September 2014 and it is now February 2015 and I've hit that point again, this time I need to somehow understand how I get past it.

I'm not going to write this block as a "how to learn Welsh" website, this is more about my trials and tribulations in the process, what I have been able to achieve and, just as importantly, where I have struggled and how I overcome those struggles. 

As part of the course we have audio files that I can play at home and in the car. They are useful, especially for pronunciation and remembering, but they are short and so after a little while you learn them without remembering what the phrases mean and your mind starts to wander as they stop taxing your mind.

What I needed was a supplement for these audio files.

As I researched the options I came across Flash Cards (see the wikipedia entry and a list of software (see the wikipedia entry I plumped for Anki and set myself the task of creating a deck of cards. So far it is useful, it has certainly highlighted what I didn't remember and still does, it also passes by the stuff I do remember and concentrates on what I don't.

This option is going to fix the situation overnight but I do see it working over a period of time. To help others I've added a page to this blog ( to help others, check it out.