Have you ever thought about digital flashcards? As we know, common cramming doesn’t work. Even when you have a lot of new information to learn. Master the method of memorizing new words with flashcards, and then you won’t have to open your textbook for exams with the feeling that everything is forgotten.
What are digital flashcards?
A digital flashcard is the electronic counterpart to traditional paper flashcards that you can make in a language-learning app or service. In other words, it is an electronic card with two sides. On one – a word, definition, term or some phenomenon. On the other – a translation with an explanation or a brief gist. As you see, everything is the same as with traditional flashcards, but in your computer or smartphone.
It is important to note that digital flashcards are used not only to learn foreign languages and words, but also to remember dates and events. However, they are most common in the field of language learning.
This method, especially when it is used on a regular basis, helps you put information securely into your long-term memory.
Why do digital flashcards work?
When we read an outline or listen to a lecture, we get the information passively: some part of the knowledge is in the memory, and some parts of it are disappearing.
We need to engage in active memorization to remember information better, and pull it out of the “mind palace” in time. When we generate the answer ourselves the brain works more actively. Therefore, anything we have spoken and imagined is remembered better than what we have just seen and heard.
This principle is the basis of learning with cards. We see a question – one side of the card with an unfamiliar word or definition. We try to find the answer on our own and, if we fail, we open the back side and check ourselves. In essence, each time we do it – is a small personal exam, a test of knowledge. During such a test, information is absorbed better than in simple reading.
Another advantage of flashcards is that they are easy to repeat. You don’t have to carry textbooks and notes, you don’t have to flip through pages for hours. The methodology helps to organize information and refresh it in small portions at a convenient time.
How to make a good flash card?
Make short flashcards
One word = one element. It can be one word, image, phrase, definition from the dictionary or all combined. But you may not mix up several unknown words there. Making one card with a whole list of unknown words makes no sense. It’s like looking at the same list in your notebook. It’s better to make separate lists for each word and combine them into a series. And obviously, don’t try to fit a chapter from a textbook onto one piece of paper – choose the most important thoughts.
Often the brain “stumbles” and can not remember the information, because it is too complicated. It can be too hard to pronounce or the phrase is too long. There shouldn’t be any of these in the card – only the essence of the fact should be written. If you know you can’t do without a difficult word – make a separate card for it.
And if you don’t know how to pronounce a difficult word or phrase, you can use the speaker function. He will correctly pronounce the word or phrase and you can repeat after him.
It’s not enough to memorize, you should be able to apply what you have memorized correctly. To learn how to USE the information, add context to the defining side of the card. Just don’t overdo it. Remember that the card should be simple in the first place. If the context complicates things, shorten it.
Words without images attached are less memorable than those with images next to them. It often happens that we forget only the learned word the next day. This happens because we don’t make strong associations of the word with existing knowledge or images.
However, by using this technique, you allow your brain to form these additional associations that will allow the vocabulary word to stick firmly and permanently in your mind.
Add pictures to each card using the association method.
A language card in Langavia Personal Dictionary app
How to work with flashcards?
When the first block of cards is ready, it’s time to start working with them. In other words, constant repetition.
Repeat before going to sleep
Sleeping is very important for remembering. It is in the slow phase of sleep that everything we have learned during the day is built into long-term memory. Therefore, if you practice repetition before going to bed, you have a better chance of success.
Read out loud
This way you will remember information better, because it engages your auditory memory. For learning foreign words it is even necessary, otherwise you will read well in a foreign language, but never learn to speak.
Use the Leitman repetition system
To avoid repeating over and over again what you’ve already learned, use the Leitner repetition system. It also helps to focus on cards that are hard to remember. To do this, divide all items into three groups (or more, if you like):
- Those which you know poorly.
- The words which you know satisfactorily.
- Those which you know well.
In simple terms: the words which you already know well enough should be repeated less often, and conversely, “hard” words should be repeated more often.
By using the Langavia Personal Dictionary application you don’t really need to care about dividing all your cards into groups by hand. The memorization process is designed in the way that you practice ‘more fresh’ words more often than the words you’ve already successfully practiced before. Using the Langavia service, words are better stored in memory, and even if something is forgotten (for example, you haven’t used a word in your practice for a long time), with the push of a button you can easily bring that word back into the training process and refresh your memory. In general, if you go through the whole cycle of the training process (i.e. each exercise 1 time), it will take you just 15-30 minutes, which is quite enough to learn all 3 groups of vocabulary words.
Moreover, here you can a special guide how the Langavia app can help you in learning new vocabulary words and preparing for your next language exams.
FAQ about digital flashcards
1. First one with new information. It can be a foreign word or even context from a book or video.
2. Second one with definition or translation of this foreign word or context which is clear for you.