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

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Joined: 24 May 2014
Posts: 1

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


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 right now)!

I am Piotr, I have lived in London, UK, for more than 8 years. I created a free website 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 can increase intervals between repetitions - 1 day, 3 days, a week, 10 days, a month etc. If you start learning regularly,'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. 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 - if somebody quizzes you. Comparing to traditional learning method, when you either repeat everything that you learned, or repeat things at random, 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 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, 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] 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,
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Joined: 14 Jan 2012
Posts: 19

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


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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Joined: 08 Sep 2014
Posts: 4
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.
Live life...
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