Best long term learning: What are the differences between 3 Flashcard apps?

Zuzana Nov 22

Spaced repetition or long term learning is over the years one of the proven methods of remembering.

Cramming and long term learning is not the same. There are not only studies claiming a “nearly threefold improvement of vocabulary learning gains” with long term learning but teachers and scientists also say long term learning “can help maximize students’ language performance”.

boxes as a tool for understanding flashcard algorithm

Long-Term Learning IS effective spaced repetition

Every Flashcard app has its own special algorithm behind learning. However, it is not only about the algorithm but about the way you can use it to remember Flashcards.

Let’s look at various spaced repetition algorithms:

Repetition in Quizlet loses its power

For example, in 2015 Quizlet announced the existence of Long-Term Learning for Quizlet Plus users on the web and on iOS.

However, recently, Quizlet long term learning feature was removed. Their disappointed users were referred to something called Learn mode that operated on some premises of spaced repetition just as Quizlet Long-Term Learning does. Unfortunately, we did not manage to find a detailed explanation of neither Quizlet Long Term Learning nor Quizlet Learn mode.

Removal of long term learning from quizlet

In 2021 Quizlet even tinkered with its Learn mode which resulted in angered users again.  What is there not to like?

  • You can only use flashcards that you read, then ONLY think about the answer, and then you flip the flashcard.
  • new learn doesn’t even track your progress the same way
  •  it doesn’t even randomize the cards in the learn function anymore
  •  all my cards are in alphabetical order so this is now pointless

Can I change learn mode back to the old version?? from quizlet

Vocabulary Miner goes with a simple yet effective algorithm to ensure long term learning

The algorithm in Vocabulary Miner focuses on long term learning. The spaced repetition algorithm learns what you already know and increases repetition and study frequency based on what you don’t know.

You have 3 choices since Vocabulary Miner really focuses on simplicity for the user. Usually, SRS by Supermemo has 6 options that seem to us a little…too much.

Thus it is helping you remember for real.

Vocabulary Miner Flashcard app


Long term learning in Vocabulary Miner is all about boxes.

In the beginning, all words are in box 1.

When during the learning process I swipe towards “I KNOW IT”, then the word goes to box 2. (green line)

If I swipe on“NO IDEA”, the word goes 3 boxes back ending furthest in box 1 since there are no negative boxes (red line).

If I swipe on “NOT SURE” the word stays in its current box (yellow line). long term learning - spaced repetition boxes

Thus, in the boxes with lower numbers, there are words I don’t know very much. The higher the box number, the better is my knowledge of the word.

Each box also defines the repetition and time needed to learn the word. Words in box 2 will show the very next day but the words in box 8 will come up again in 60 days.

Such an artificial gap in learning enables long term learning.

Boxes and their repetition pattern for long term learning:

1 box — today

2 box —  +1 day

3 box — + 2 days

4 box — + 3 days

5 box  — + 5 days

6 box — + 10 days

7 box — + 30 days

8 box — + 60 days

Long term learning progress is then clear in Vocabulary Miner statistics.

long term learning in Vocabulary Miner

You can see that in this Word list were 42 words (26+10+6). The user improved their score in this one session including 20 random words from the Word list. In the NO IDEA section, there are 16 fewer words, there are 10 more in the NOT SURE section and the user already knows +6 words!

What more? You can mix Flashcards! You can mix what language you see first or word lists together.

?Why you should use this mix option for long term learning?

It makes you remember much better!

If you learn from A (foreign) language to B (native) language – a great first step. E.g. You are Czech learning English: You see the car in English first and then auto in Czech.

A to B translations will be already solidly in your brain. ?When you are learning a new word, or new sentence, start with A to B. It is easier in the beginning.

? Then change perspective and direction to B – A learning for effective long term learning. Your brain will already have some connection built between these 2 pieces of information and you can recall it easier. E.g.: first see “car” and try to recall the right foreign translation.

No custom notifications rely on your inner motivation

Unfortunately, Vocabulary Miner does not allow custom notifications reminding you of your Flashcards sessions. The app trusts in your inner motivation as the best motivation ever trying not to spam you.

It might be a problem for the students who really need to be pushed.

The Flashcard app Vocabulary Miner sends one notification to remind you of learning after 48-hours of inactivity for the first time. Then in 2, 6, 13, 30 days of inactivity, you will get one notification. Then you will hear from the app only every 32 days.

Anki algorithm simplifies SM2 algorithm

Anki provides a very detailed description of its fine algorithm.

It has not 6 but 4 options and it is extensively customizable.

Anki is a robust customizable free tool that has a lot of powerful parts. The biggest issue is for many Reddit users its complexity:

  • Anki’s settings are complex. Users shouldn’t have to figure out how to optimize the settings ourselves because they often might not know. The app should automatically adapt to learning habits.

  • Making good cards takes a while. It takes a lot of time.

What are your biggest problems with Anki? from Anki

Here is also a detailed analysis of a devoted “medical” Anki user. His conclusion is: “It does work: however, it requires you to stay consistent over a long period. Anki is a great resource that you should start using from today.”

Anki has quite complex statistics too, so if you are into data and customization you will be pleased:

Started Anki over the summer and I’ve never looked back. How did I even study before this? Thank you! from Anki

The language world is, however, full of interesting possibilities of how to learn with Flashcards e.g. learning vocabulary from Netflix or how to import words from Google translate, how and why to learn 1000 most used words

?Join our Facebook group Learn vocabulary supported by Vocabulary Miner to have your questions answered by the community or the team behind Vocabulary Miner.

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