Sometimes, the tried and true study methods really are the best ways to learn. One of the those studying tools is flashcards. Flashcards have helped me learn vocabulary (in both English and Spanish), practice simple math calculations, and memorize information. I can use them by myself or with a classmate/friend. The only problem with flashcards is the lengthy time it takes to make them.
Quizlet solves that problem. Quizlet is a free website the allows users to create electronic flashcards and share them (if they want) with anyone. This means that a flashcards deck only needs to be created once, by one person. How does it save time? A teacher can create flashcards for the entire class provide the link to all the students. One student can a deck for the entire study group with only the amount of time that it takes to make one deck. You can even have each group member contribute to creating the flashcards deck (and it’s typed – no handwriting issues!). A flashcards deck can be downloaded an infinite number of times—for free. Additionally, if the document is already electronic, the user can copy and paste the information onto their electronic flashcards which can save some time.
However, it’s not just the sharing with group members that is helpful—it’s the ability to “publish” the flashcards deck so anyone can download and use the deck. For instance, anyone who has studied French, Spanish, German, Italian, Arabic, Hebrew, Latin, or nearly any major language, has heard of the the 501 Verbs book for that language. Each book contains the conjugations (and meanings) of 501 verbs. How long do you think it would take you to make a flashcards deck for 501 infinitive verbs and their translated meanings? Hours. But with Quizlet, only one person has to invest the time to make the deck. And let me tell you, it’s already been done. You can go download a flashcards deck for the Spanish 501 verbs, right now. In fact, I embedded one in the post.
Creating the electronic flashcards is easy. In fact, you can even start creating flashcards before you even make an account with Quizlet. Click the “create” button and you’ll be taken to a screen where you just need to fill in the information. Name the flashcards set, pick the subject, decide who is allowed to view and/or edit the cards, and then input the data. You can fill in the cards simply by typing and hitting the tab button (fingers don’t even need to leave the keyboard!) or by copying and pasting information. Want pictures? Just click the “add images” selection. Have all the data in an Excel or other database file? You can import it.
The Quizlet Dashboard keeps track of all the flashcards decks you’ve ever looked at. So don’t worry if you saw this really cool deck but you can’t remember the title of it or the username of the person who uploaded it. Quizlet’s got your back. You can even link your account with (or create an account using) Facebook. How can that help you? Let’s say you’re classmate and you are friends on Facebook and both of you use Quizlet but you have no idea that each other use it. Quizlet will tell you “hey, your friend just viewed this deck” or “your friend just made this deck”. You won’t even need to remember to send the link to your classmate…Facebook and Quizlet will do it for you. Or, you can create a deck and publish an announcement to Facebook and all your friends can click on the link and use the deck. Again, Facebook and Quizlet, doing the work for you.
But wait! There’s more! Quizlet has an iPhone app. You can download the electronic flashcards to your iPhone and take them wherever you go to study. You can study on the commuter train or bus, while waiting in line, or waiting at an appointment, etc. Now I know you don’t want to use every minute to study, but the important thing isn’t so much where and when you can study, but that you have options. You don’t have to invest hours into making the flashcards, worry about losing a card when you’re using them, or sit at the computer to study. Don’t have an iPhone? No worries – the mobile website works well on any device.
I’ve embedded a flashcards deck of Spanish 501 infinitive verbs and their English translations. You can also see it on Quizlet’s website.
Quizlet also goes beyond just flashcards. They have six different ways you can use the data to study. So now you really have no excuse…go study!