Taking Flashcards Deluxe for a Spin: A Brief Review

Flashcards-DeluxeRecently, a reader recommended Flashcards Deluxe to me, a spaced review software for iOS and Android. He was looking for an app that could also be used on a Kindle Fire and settled on this program. Being myself an avid user of flashcard software, I decided to get the version for Android and take it for a spin. I tested it over a period of three weeks and reviewed it using a specific set of criteria. I decided to use Flashcards Deluxe for two specific purposes:

  1. Studying Chinese characters and vocabulary. I want to add and review characters and vocabulary on the fly, alternating between an Android mobile and a PC or Mac.
  2. Creating summary questions and answers while reading a non-fiction book to remember the important information.

In this post, you will read more about use case 1 since it calls for the creation of more complex flashcards, that is, three-sided flashcards containing English text, Chinese characters, images for some obscure characters and components, and sound. Everything stated should, however, be transferable.

Here are a summary and recommendations based on my experience with Flashcards Deluxe

  • I have found Flashcards Deluxe (FCD) to be a capable spaced review/repetition program. Reviewing flashcards is fun with this app. The review interface is straight-forward and intuitive: just swipe to the left (I know the card), down (I don’t know the card), or up (I know it well) to communicate with the program. Creating and editing cards is not quite as intuitive, but also works well after some getting used to the user interface. Three- and more-sided flash cards are also supported and worked well for my use cases.
  • Consider this app a strong contender if you are looking to primarily create and learn with flashcards on Android or/and iOS (e.g., an iPhone or iPad). It also supports downloading decks from the popular sites Cram.com (formerly Flashcard Exchange) and Quizlet.
  • FCD is not available for Windows/Mac, so review and synchronization with a PC/Mac companion are not possible. Users can, however, establish a workflow to create and edit cards on a PC/Mac via Excel/a text editor and cloud services. Import and export are facilitated via an Internet connection and a cloud service, such as Dropbox or the developer’s website.
  • I used Flashcards Deluxe and Excel to create flashcards and Dropbox to exchange the information. This setup allowed me to efficiently create and edit cards on both an Android phone and a PC. (See the workflow below.)

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Ankidroid – Anki for Android, A Great Companion to Learn Anywhere, Anytime

Ankidroid-2-Happy-Chinese-New-YearSpaced repetition software is very effective when it comes to reviewing information you want to remember. In my last post, I have described how to design Anki 2 vocabulary flash cards. While I create most of my flash cards on a PC, I do most of my reviewing on the go – using Ankidroid on an Android phone.

Last month, Ankidroid 2 was released – so once again, users of Android phones and tablets have a great companion to Anki for Windows or Mac. In this post, I am going into what I consider some outstanding features of Ankidroid. I will also briefly describe how to install and synchronize Ankidroid 2 with Anki 2 and share some tips and tricks that work well for me.

Who created Ankidroid and what is it?

Anki (Windows, Mac, and iOS), is a fantastic project and the work of Damien Elmes. Ankidroid has been created and is being maintained by a different group of great volunteers who wanted to bring Anki to Android. It is an open source flash card program and free for everyone to use. Ankidroid employs adaptive spaced repetition and synchronizes flash cards with Anki via Ankiweb (a free cloud service provided by Damien Elmes). Since version 2, media, such as images and sound, are also automatically synchronized via Ankiweb. It is a complete program, allowing users to create decks, create, edit, and review flash cards and include multimedia. Continue reading

How to Create Anki 2 Vocabulary Flash Cards

Vocabulary-card-Anki-2

Anki 2 is a sophisticated computer flash card program that keeps track of the difficulty of individual flash cards (adaptive spaced repetition software). The program automatically schedules the next review of a card depending on how well a learner could remember that particular card. For you as a learner, this is great: You only have to follow Anki 2’s scheduling to attain and maintain a certain knowledge level.

For more information on spaced repetition software, and where to download Anki 2, please check this article.

Anki 2 goes beyond two-sided flash cards

Anki is very flexible. It allows you to design flash cards according to your own needs.

Traditional flash cards have two sides: On one side, you write a question, on the other side, the answer to the question. Let’s say, you are a native English speaker and want to learn French. On the question side, you place an English word, and on the answer side the meaning in French. You could also include the pronunciation, gender (for nouns), a French sample sentence, word usage, and collocations on the answer side.

When you want to test yourself from English to French, you look at the English keyword, and try to pronounce and spell the word in French.

To test yourself in the opposite direction, you just flip the card, look at the French word, and think of the English meaning. Unfortunately, you now also have all your additional notes on your question side (previously answer side), which provide unwanted cues and hints to the English meaning. Ideally, you now want to hide these notes.

Unfortunately, a two-sided flash card with notes doesn’t easily allow for testing in both directions. Continue reading