Memrise: online learning tool fuses memory, fun and community

Through “mems,” students retain English vocabulary

Photo source: Memrise website

“We’ve built Memrise to embody the very best knowledge about how your brain works, and so help you learn as quickly and effortlessly as possible. We’ve turned learning facts and language into a game where you grow a colourful garden of memory.”

-Memrise About Us

Learning online and through mobile apps transforms the way in which we learn languages. Free resources spring up around us, full of new technologies and innovations. Among these online learning tools, Memrise presents itself as a fantastic, scientifically-backed option for language learning students.

HOW IT WORKS

After choosing from hundreds of English courses across various languages, students begin to “plant” the seeds. Each lesson acts as a game, first presenting the vocabulary and later testing the student’s knowledge of the new words. The use of “mems,” or Memrise’s term for “morsels of interesting and relevant information” helps the student to recall learned information. Students can pick their from previous users’ mnemonics, pictures, videos and example sentences, or they can design their own “mem.”

Following the gardening metaphor, Memrise reminds students every now and then to “water” their memories by reviewing each lesson. By retaining previous performance, Memrise calculates how often to send these reminders and and keeps track of how “planted” a certain item is. Unlike most other learning tools, Memrise claims to tackle both short and long term memory.

ONLINE COMMUNITY

The level of participation in Memrise’s active community remains the member’s choice. It may be desirable to join in to discuss courses, share mems and answer questions. However, students can also progress through the lessons without tapping into the forums.

WEAKNESSES

As with most online and mobile language learning platforms, a certain critical component remains neglected. Memrise can enrich reading, writing and even listening skills. As always, students must turn to real-life conversations to improve their speaking abilities.

BOTTOM LINE

However, as a memory-based, free and attractive online learning tool, Memrise remains a worthy website for English language learners. It seems particularly apt for those students who struggle with memorizing new vocabulary words, make use of mnemonics and learn visually, Memrise can help grow a beautiful garden of language.

How do your students “mem”-orize new vocabulary?

To read more about Memrise, visit their website here, or read their Wikipedia article.

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