New Feature: Flash Cards (Smart Review)

I’m in the same situation - working with the Flash Cards to memorise phrases. It is hard work!

Dunno if it helps, but I’ve been using the Pomodoro Technique to spend (say) a focussed 25 minutes on flash cards. There are loads of free free pomodoro apps that you can download. This technique is helping me to reduce my phrases backlog.

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Hi @joelrendall,

Just another observation in the flash cards. Through the Units the correct ‘you’ is signified with smaller descriptive words in text ie: single / formal / informal. I am finding quite a few Flash Cards with these missing. Just to make sure we are answering to what is on the back of the card maybe these could be added?

Otherwise they are a huge help and letting me go to the units I seem to be lacking in and re-doing them.

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I agree that I am learning more with flashcard mode, as I am not relying getting the pattern right or recognising just one right word. But I do miss typing out the phrases in quiz mode, as I found this really useful for improving my spelling.

As a compromise, I write out down the phrase in Portuguese instead of just saying it out loud. That way I can make sure that I am not cheating myself as well :grin:

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This is a great point! A lot of the feedback is convincing us to not be so hard on the Smart Review “Quiz Mode”. Even if Flash Cards are more effective, they will be 0% effective for those who are too intimidated or overwhelmed to use them.

And your notes about writing is a good point. Would that be a vote to keep the “Quiz Mode” around with all the question types, or to consider a “Writing Practice” mode with mostly “Listen & Type” questions?

@joelrendall, I, for one, like the Quiz Mode as well as the Flash Cards, so I would vote to keep both. They reinforce memory in different ways. :slightly_smiling_face:

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@joelrendall - my preference would be the latter option.

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Flash cards are the best learning tool ever, thank you

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Hi @joelrendall the flashcards are really great and very helpful. Thank you again for them. One small question - do you think it would be possible to put ‘feedback?’ buttons on each flashcard? To gain feedback and help with QA.

Just an idea :slight_smile: Peter

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Yeah I also love the flash cards review system. I can’t believe how proud I am when I get the whole sentence right hehe :smiley: I also quite enjoy that there’s no need to type, tap, or drag anything. It makes for a perfect super quick review session.

Thanks Peter! To be honest, for now we decided to leave the feedback link off, since we expected that a lot of feedback would result from these phrases being practised outside the context of a particular Unit or Lesson. So there would likely be lots of reports of issues relating to synonyms, or different usages etc. (which we will need to try to find a global solution for later). We already get tons of actionable feedback from when phrases originally appear in Lessons, so we didn’t want to overload ourselves.

Do you think that’s a sound decision, or have you wanted to send through some feedback that would have been unrelated to those limitations? (Let me know if I didn’t explain this well enough and I can try to rephrase :slight_smile:)

Thanks for your support and feedback!

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Thanks @natalia.koscielska, that’s what I have been loving about them in my own testing/practise sessions as well. I think the varied question types are useful for the introduction of phrases during a lesson, since you learn more when you’re forced to arrive at an answer on your own (eg. process of elimination in multiple choice, or using your own logic based on the shared latin influence in other languages etc)… but as soon as you have already learned some phrases, it’s important to be able to really fly through them to review as many as efficiently as possible.

One common concern about the Smart Review, in general, is that if you don’t stay on top of it, they can really pile up. On the other hand, I find that if I don’t review phrases multiple times (like this tool forces you to), then you really don’t commit anything to your long-term memory. So I think this also forces you to move more slowly through the Units.

The more backlog you have, that’s where the Manage Phrases page becomes very important, to move phrases around depending on whether you already know them, or don’t care to learn them. I’d recommend being quite aggressive with your approach too – you can trash phrases that you don’t think will be useful for you to learn, knowing you can always go back to recover them later.

I expect that in the future, we’ll introduce some tracking / gamification to help with forming the habit of keeping your Smart Review up-to-date.

Does anyone have any feedback with regards to this backlog issue? For example, is it encouraging or intimidating to see “you still have X phrases left” at the end of each Smart Review?

Hi Joel,

Yes, I have 165 phrases in the backlog … and because I’m feeling lazy, I’ve come up with an idea of a new exercise type, based on Shorties.
The idea is taken from Anki application, “Cloze” note type.

Choose some interesting sentences (not all) from shorties (it could be a pair of sentences in cases where they are quite short: see S2 below).
Based on those sentences, generate a few exercises where a word or a phrase is missing.

For example from:

S1.
Is this the store where peanuts are on sale?
É nesta loja que os amendoins estão em promoção?

S2

  • What do you want peanuts for?
  • I feel like it.
  • Queres amendoins para quê?
  • Apetece-me.

you could create the following flash cards:

S1E1
Question:
Is this the store where peanuts are on sale?
É nesta … que os amendoins estão em promoção?
Answer:
loja

S1E2
Question:
Is this the store where peanuts are on sale?
É nesta loja que … estão em promoção?
Answer:
os amendoins

S1E3
Question:
Is this the store where peanuts are on sale?
É nesta loja que os amendoins …?
Answer:
estão em promoção

S2E1
Question:

  • What do you want peanuts for?
  • I feel like it.
  • Queres amendoins …?
  • Apetece-me.
    Answer:
    para quê

S2E2
Question:

  • What do you want peanuts for?
  • I feel like it.
  • Queres amendoins para quê?

  • Answer:
    Apetece-me

Note: S1E1, S1E2, S1E3 should be shown for review on different days, as they are based on the same original sentence.
After displaying the answer, play the original (or shortened) recording of the sentence from the Shorty.

You can create new Units from this (Best of Shorties or something similar)

The thing is, the shorties contain lots of useful words and phrases, but there is currently no way to practise them using SRS.
Just thinking, maybe practising them like this, as flash cards, could help us, in case of some of phrases, to learn automated response to those phrases?

What do you think? Would other users find it useful?

Best regards,
Tomasz

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Hi Joel,

This is great advice/feedback - thank you. Will take your advice and prune the list.

Re your last question, yes, the “you have 1,250 phrases left to review” sometimes feels demotivating because sometimes I feel like a hamster on a wheel - no matter how fast i run the number never gets any smaller!

So I now ignore that number and use use the Pomodoro method: IE do 25-minute sprints of flashcards.

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Hi Joel, thanks for this :slight_smile: Yes, that is a sound decision.

Sometimes (for example) the answer requires a specific gender but the gender is not obvious in the question. As a clarification on the question card, it would be helpful to have (say) an (f) to clarify the gender. To be clear, this only happens on a small subset of the cards. But given the points you raise, (as you say) it is probably better to leave off a feedback link for the moment

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It doesn’t bother me in the least Joel. The fact that I have 2900 cards to perfect doesn’t demotivate me…I already know that I have so much to learn.
And I don’t prune the manage list. I take the view that almost every card has something in it, a tense, a word or a phrase that needs to be added to my ageing memory banks.

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I think it would be useful to display the number of items remaining for review in the top bar of the website (the same way other websites present the number of unread emails or messages).
Right now, I have to go through at least one review session to see the number of phrases to review.
Perhaps if I see the number all the time when I’m logged in to Practice Portuguese website, I will be more motivated to review regularly and make sure that the number goes down to 0?
This can be made optional - for example you could have a settings page where the user could decide if they would like to such number to be displayed or not, and, if the number is above a certain number, let’s say 50, whether they want to see the exact value (e.g. 398) or something like: 50+.

I feel that some phrases are a bit too long for Flash card mode - if I say them without writing them down, after I hear the answer, sometimes I’m not sure if recalled the phrase correctly or not. Maybe some phrases could be available only in the Quiz Mode if they are very long.

When there are different correct ways of answering, it may be possible to add hints for some cards (small icon in a corner of the card) saying, for example, “use personal pronoun”; “fem.”, showing the first character of the word (e.g. “v…” in case synonyms, like e.g. where both “vir” and “chegar” are possible).

One solution would be to allow only shorter, unambiguous phrases to appear in Flashcard Mode.
Another solution would be to create some new flashcards (1 or more if needed) from longer phrase just for the Flashcard mode, having simpler, unambiguous content.
Yet another solution: learn using both modes: in each learning session spend some time using Flashcard Mode and some time using Quiz Mode. The website could even suggest switching the mode after each review session.

I like to make sure I spell correctly the Portuguese words so I wouldn’t like Quiz Mode to disappear but to be available alongside the Flashcard Mode. There are lots of advantages of the Flashcard Mode but for many phrases, in my opinion, Quiz Mode makes more sense.

Some users suggested that they would like a timeout - this could be made optional - you could have a settings page where the user could decide if they want to use a timeout or not. The timeout could be a fixed value or could depend on the length of the phrase.

One more thing - a potential error: After a review, I get a suggestion: “Here’s your next activity: Imperative 2” - I think it should suggest me a new unit which I haven’t learnt yet. (I’ve completed all the lessons on Imperative). The error happens because some time ago I clicked on Imperative 1 lesson by mistake, and when it started, I decided to continue, even though I completed it already a long time ago.

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About the backlog - I’m not sure when the review function was added, but the first time I noticed it, I had already learned about 1000 words/expressions here. So it’s been impossible for me to go down to zero phrases to review.

Is it discouraging? A little, but my goal is to keep the number below 800 :smiley: I don’t want to trash too many phrases too be honest, so I’ll go at my own pace and maybe some day will master all of them.

Actually, the number also gives me motivation, in a way “look, you’ve gone through 1000 phrases already, keep it up” :smiley:

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One problem I’m having is that the number of phrases doesnt seem to reduce, even though I’m trying to work through them daily and must get around 75% correct first time. It’s now taking nearly all my practice time to do the smart review daily that I dont have much time to learn something new, so it is getting a bit frustrating. Are we supposed to manually move phrases off the list or should they be removed automatically once we have got them right enough times?
Does it make a difference to the algorithm how quickly we flip the card and mark it as correct?

Having used both flash cards and the quiz mode for a few weeks I definitely see the advantage of both. I like the quiz mode as it forces me to spell the words correctly and also to get those wretched accents right!