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A no-nonsense, free English learning tool that I built

 
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puchacz



Joined: 24 May 2014
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2014 3:46 am    Post subject: A no-nonsense, free English learning tool that I built Reply with quote

Hi,

Do you want a SMART tool that guarantees remembering a very high percentage of English words (like 98%) and learn about 20 times faster than traditionally? Read on (or just try BuboFlash.eu right now)!

I am Piotr, I have lived in London, UK, for more than 8 years. I created a free website http://BuboFlash.eu for learning languages using flashcards, where "free" means both you don't pay for it and learning material is freely licenced like in Wikipedia.

The learning method

The website uses statistical techniques to model every user's memory strength on every single learned word as expotentially decaying curve of recall probability. The longer you wait, the lower probability of recall is. However, if you manage to repeat a word when you still remember it, the memory strength is reset to original 100% (certain recall, you just recalled it after all) and it starts decaying slower, so you remember the word for longer. Each successful repetition makes subsequent memory decay slower, so BuboFlash.eu can increase intervals between repetitions - 1 day, 3 days, a week, 10 days, a month etc. If you start learning regularly, BuboFlash.eu's job will be to schedule repetitions for you. Every day you will learn a new portion of vocabulary and repeat words that you learned before, some of them just few days ago, the others - months, or even years ago. BuboFlash.eu is tuned to try to schedule repetition when the probability of recall drops from 100% to 90%. Given typical long term learning process, and the ratio of words to repeat today to words scheduled to repeat later (which means you their probability of recall is still higher than 90%), the average probability of recall of a random word works out to be 98%. This is how much you would recall out of a random sample across everything you learn with BuboFlash.eu - if somebody quizzes you. Comparing to traditional learning method, when you either repeat everything that you learned, or repeat things at random, BuboFlash.eu optimisations make you go faster about 20 times Smile You can easily learn 1,000 new words per month or new 10,000 words per year, working with BuboFlash.eu about 40 minutes a day. No time wasted on repeating things you still know well. No frustration of forgetting too much. Golden middle!




The learning material

The learning material is arranged for repetitions as flashcards. Flashcards are question / answer pairs.

Flashcards are based on meaning in English, where a question has a definition in English: "a woodworker who makes or repairs wooden objects", often a hint in your native language (we have about 200 languages for hints), sometimes a photograph illustrating the concept; and as an answer: a word or words (synonyms) - "carpenter" in this case. Flashcards based on meanings group all synonyms (words that can be used interchangeably) together, for example: "the activity of exerting your muscles in various ways to keep fit", answer (any of these is correct) "exercise / exercising / physical exercise / physical exertion / workout".

Many meanings have example phrases, like "the doctor recommended regular [exercise] / he did some [exercising] / the [physical exertion] required by his work kept him fit". When showing flashcard in question mode, the words in [brackets] are hidden.

A lot of words are recorded by native speakers.



Meanings are connected by relations between them, for example when looking at "tea", you can click on the meaning header and check meanings for all kind of teas (black tea, green tea, oolong), or for a "car" you can navigate to automobile horn, automobile engine, airbag, ambulance, convertible, compact car etc. Words in definition are linked to their meanings as well, so you can easily check their definitions or translations.

We have about 120,000 meanings, which covers more or less the full contemporary English, so it is important that you can search them efficiently. I started adding tags for popular meanings in categories like bathroom, fruit, human-body, kitchen, profession etc. So, if you want to start memorising, you can just search for specific tag and click "Memorise from search result". I linked popular searches on the website itself.

You can contribute, too

Everything is editable on BuboFlash.eu, so you can improve learning material yourself (I don't claim it, it remains free and open, see the licence). All edits are saved as different versions, nothing is lost, so you can easily pick and bookmark earlier version of the flashcard if you prefer it.

If you have any questions or suggestions, wishes, we can discuss it here so everybody can see it, or just mail me to piotr.wasik [at] gmail.com. There is a discussion group on the website itself if you prefer.

And yes, I do encourage you to add and improve hints in your native language Smile

Good luck and enjoy,
Piotr
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longshikong



Joined: 14 Jan 2012
Posts: 21

PostPosted: Tue Sep 16, 2014 6:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Piotr:

A word of advice: you should be using a learner's dictionary. Do you think someone having trouble remembering the word 'fish' will understand 'cold-blooded', 'aquatic', 'shark', 'gills', and 'vertebrate'? Does every entry have a photo and do you also use photos for abstract nouns?
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dnewhulk



Joined: 08 Sep 2014
Posts: 7
Location: UK

PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2014 4:01 am    Post subject: A No-Nonsense, Free English Learning Tool That I Built Reply with quote

I really admire to people who create beta/free stuff. I myself also thought of writing a good program that may help learners.
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longshikong



Joined: 14 Jan 2012
Posts: 21

PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2014 7:53 am    Post subject: Re: A No-Nonsense, Free English Learning Tool That I Built Reply with quote

dnewhulk wrote:
I really admire to people who create beta/free stuff. I myself also thought of writing a good program that may help learners.


But often, you get what you pay for. There's a ton of free ESL stuff online but virtually useless in my opinion. Even the British Council's flashcards for children are not only useless, but also misleading. For example, there's a card with an image of bananas (plural), but the word below the image (why does it even have to be there?) is 'banana'. Useless trash... but it's free.
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puchacz



Joined: 24 May 2014
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2014 9:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hi guys,

Re: learner's dictionary. If you mean simple question/answer pairs, you can add them too. For example see the flashcards here:
(search)

I agree that knowing what "fish" is usually comes before "cold-blooded" or "vertebrate" - mind however that in my example you have a hint in Chinese, so if you are a beginner, you would use hints in your native language exclusively, then you can progress towards using examples and eventually definition. Images can help too, but mostly for tangible nouns.

OK, so while you can create "learners' dictionaries" like CET flashcards above, I would personally prefer to use meanings (with definition, synonyms , examples and links to other meanings). Because you can tag meanings, you can search for basic stuff first, see example tags here: http://buboflash.eu/bubo5/show-dao2?d=149480877&l=7699&u=3 If you want to see a lot of pictures, go to vegetables for example.

BTW, it is not Beta, it is actually free. Do you get what you pay for? Well, it depends. You don't pay for wikipedia and it is the most comprehensive encyclopedia ever created. I started working on this website because I needed it myself - I wanted to learn from the web and books by incremental reading and benefit from other people's notes who learn the same thing. Commercial copyright precludes sharing learning material. My favourite metaphor for commercial material is that you can breathe it in, but you cannot breathe out. You cannot mix and match to your need.

http://buboflash.eu is not limited to languages, I think it would be perfect match for medicine, biology, history, law, you name it. I don't learn English actively anymore, but I started learning Scala from Odersky's book, see my notes: flashcards (search) and annotations for incremental reading (search). You can edit them to your heart's content, and if I like your changes, I will take them, if I don't - I will not be affected, because of versioning Smile

Cheers,
Piotr
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longshikong



Joined: 14 Jan 2012
Posts: 21

PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2014 5:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It seems you missed my point. You need to grade the language of your definitions, otherwise you force learners to rely on translations or assumptions made on the basis of an image which can be ambiguous, especially to those not of your culture.
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