I was recently asked to help prepare some students for the Credit Union Inter School Quiz competition. One of the children on the team was given the job of learning all the major world capitals. No easy task but one he told me he could achieve in one week using Memrise. I hadn’t heard of it before so I had a look at it and was quite impressed with what I found.
Memrise is an online learning community where one can learn languages and many other academic and non-academic subjects and topics. It was created by Ed Cooke, a world memory champion and Greg Detre, a Princeton neuroscientist specializing in the science of memory and forgetting. It uses audio, images, and memory techniques to help you associate words with one another for easier recall, as well as regular tests to ensure you’re remembering the content and concepts. Its carefully paced learning structure and competitive points system make it quite an effective learning tool.
As I created an account, I was overwhelmed by the amount of content available. The courses mainly focus on language teaching, both vocabulary and grammar. However, there are also courses which teach geography, maths and science, standardised tests, entertainment etc. If you cannot find a course then the website encourages you to create one for the Memrise community.
As you’re using Memrise, you can help others learn by submitting your own memory aids and mnemonics that you have. This helps grow the service and keep the material fresh.There are different ways Memrise tests you. For example, you may get a question/answer problem to solve and then a multiple choice question later on, though they both are testing you on the same concept. This keeps the questions unique but also serves as a quick way to ensure you’re retaining what you’re learning.
Memrise utilizes whats called “spaced repetition” to regularly review you. It does so more often in the beginning with easier tests as you’re learning new words, and then less often, but with harder tests, as they’re committed to long term memory. These automatically precisely spaced reviews keep you learning and remembering but without overdoing it. As you finish more and more courses and learn new words, you collect points that transition you into different ranks as an incentive to keep moving forward.
If there isn’t a course on Memrise that suits your needs, or you want to make a course based on what you personally find difficult, then you can create your own. You can make your course unlisted, so just you can see it, or public and share it with the world. You just click on the ‘Create’ button at the top of the website to start this process.
I found Memrise enjoyable and motivating to use. The mnemonics were often amusing which helped with keeping my interest and focus.
You’re able to logon to Memrise with your email, Facebook, or Google account. Also, though there are lots of free
resources available, there are some features that require a paid, premium membership. But this didn’t hamper my ability to use the site nor stop me from accessing lots of useful material.