1. Understand the Power of Memrise – An Introduction to Spaced Repetition
2. Create an account
3. Practice your first words.
Using Memrise at first may appear to be complex. The screens can have a lot on the page. The basic function of Memrise, however, is simple and can be compared to using flashcards for learning vocabulary. Plus there are some social aspects and even quite a bit of competition. Once you are comfortable with Memrise you will be hooked. And its an amazing tool to really expand your Spanish vocabulary.
NOTE: In coming lessons you will learn how to create your own decks / flashcards, look in detail at the different ways Memrise measures if you have learned a word, discover the social-competitive side of Memrise that can help boost your language learning and also learn about the other major work areas available in Memrise.
1. The Power of Memrise – An Introduction to Spaced Repetition
One of the most difficult aspects of learning a language is memorizing all the new vocabulary. There are literally thousands of words you need to learn to speak at a comfortable level. While there is no secret formula to learning all the vocabulary quickly, there are a couple things you can do to speed up the process and make it more enjoyable.
That’s where Memrise and spaced repetition come in handy.
First, lets cover a quick description of the learning technique known as spaced repetition.
The basic concept of spaced repetition is that as you see learn new word, you need to see it less frequently as you become more familiar with the word. Intuitively this makes sense. The better you know a word, the less you need to see or use it to remember it.
For instance, to learn the word “el auto” which means “the car”, the process for learning it is the following:
You see the word and meaning the first time.
Five minutes after that you see it a second time.
By the third time, perhaps 10 minutes after the second time is enough to remember it.
And the fourth time may be 5 hours later. And then 2 days later. Etc.
So as you become more familiar with a word, you need to see it less and less, to remember it.
With occasional testing, if you continue to remember the word correctly, the interval gets longer and longer (into months or years).
However, if you forget the word at some point, the process starts over with shorter intervals again.
Memrise is a website and software that manages your “flashcards” for learning and automatically decides when is the best time for you to see the word again. Memrise applies increasing intervals between words that you know, and for words you haven’t yet memorized, Memrise makes sure you see them regularly.
Think of Memrise as an efficient flashcard system.
There are two basic benefits of using Memrise. First, you are seeing words when you need to see them to help you memorize them. Second, you are not seeing words too often. This second point is important because it means you aren’t spending and wasting time on words you already know. You can focus on new words.
2. Create an Account
To get started head over to the Memrise home page. You should see something like this:
Look for this green sign-up button and select it:
You should then see a screen like this:
You can either login with Facebook, or create an account with a username, e-mail and password. Be sure to check the box to agree to the terms at the bottom of the signup box.
Once you log in you should see a screen with this in the middle:
Select Learn a Language.
On the next screen, Select Spanish as seen here:
After that, select Beginner, shown here:
You will be presented the option of paying for the Premium level of Memrise. At this point, there is no need to pay. Select the free version. As you become more comfortable with Memrise you can decide if the paid version makes sense for you (it’s reasonably priced so may be worth it).
After selecting the free version you should see this screen or something similar (please note, if you select the paid version, the following instructions will be missing several steps):
Let’s review what you have in the above graph. Most important, in the middle of the image, is the phrase “por favor”. This is the phrase that Memrise is helping you learn. Right below that is the English equivalent “please”. At this point, you are just expected to read the Spanish phrase and understand it’s English meaning.”
3. Practice your first words.
The way Memrise works is that it first shows you a new word, pronounces it (if the course has audio files, not all courses do) and shows you the English meaning. Then, it begins to test you through multiple choice, sentence completion and other simple methods to see if you know the word or phrase. You will also notice that at first it will show you a Spanish word and expect for you to provide the English equivalent. Once you have shown that you know a word, it begins to show you the English word and expects you to provide the Spanish equivalent. This is a typical sign that you have become more comfortable with a word and are progressing to know it.
Based on how well you answer each time, Memrise decides how long of an interval there should be until the next time you see the same word. Remember? This is the spaced repetition technique I described above.
Now, select the blue NEXT button on the right side and continue to follow the prompts. Be sure to have the volume up on your computer since this Learn Basic Spanish course includes pronunciations of the words and phrases for you to hear.
At this point you are already using the most important part of Memrise. Spend a few minutes to go through the first Spanish words that Memrise presents to you. By the end, you will be on your way to learning Spanish!! Congrats.
You may continue practicing with more words until you are ready to move on. In the next lesson, we will go into more detail about the different types of questions that Memrise uses to test your knowledge of a word, phrase or sentence.