I want to recommend anyone who is learning a language to pick up this handy little app. It's fun look and gamification functions make it a blast to learn vocabulary which is otherwise a dull experience. Remember, you get a premium app for free and can expand it with even more functions for a price.
Ease of Use
If you have a smart phone, you can do almost anything anywhere. Some consider this a curse, others a blessing. I am one of the latter. As someone who is learning a language, I use my smart phone as a tool to help me thanks to some great apps. One of the apps I use is Memrise.
The What of Memrise
If you want it in the most simplest terms, Memrise is a very fancy flash card app. However, saying just that is doing injustice to the programmers who have put a lot of thought and work into creating the application. Memrise is a very advanced app that focuses on memorization. This makes it an excellent tool to learn vocabulary.
A simple flashcard application would simply show you a word and you have to give the correct translation. This can be/is very monotonous. Luckily, this is not what Memrise does. They spruce things up with different question types and styles of tests. If you are free user 3 tests are available to you: Standard test, standard review and speed review. If you are premium user; two new test modes are unlocked: Listening mode, a mode focusing on listening skills, and difficult words, a more focusing on words you often get wrong. In fact there is a third premium mode, but that is currently only available to the Memrise A1 English course only.
One thing they use to make learning things more fun is something they call Mems. Mems are simply images users can attach to a certain word that they want to use to help them memorize the word. Get it, mem…memorize! This can be a great way to help you learn by having the word used in a sentence or seeing a funny picture related to the meaning of the word or as Memrise puts it:
We’ve got the effectiveness checklist covered with our scientifically developed technology so you’ll learn fast WHILE having fun. The secret? Mems. Nope, not memes. Mems. Mems are funny visual nuggets of memory glue that will make sure you always remember what you learn. And check out the rest of our awesomeness.
Like everything Memrise is not perfect, but it has quite a few of things I like about it and makes me want to tell you, you should really give it a try if you are searching for something like it.
If you do not know what freemium means then I will explain. Freemium is a model where a service is offered for free, but certain functions are only available if you pay for them. This is a very popular model in the world of mobile apps and when done right it is even a great model. Memrise is one of those apps that do it right. The basic functions are free and do not feel restricted by not being a paying customer. The premium features are simply not critical, but simply enhance your experience.
Do you know what I hate about a lot of flashcard apps? The limited variety in their questions often it is simply just a multiple choice question and that is it. Memrise did more, during their testing modes they offer a two other of questions besides the standard multiple choice question:
- The spelling question: spell the word out in the language you are learning.
- Audio question [if audio is available]: Select the correct spoken word from three possibilities.
- Audio multiple choice question [if audio is available]: Select the meaning of the word spoken from multiple options.
All Courses are FREE
I saved the best for last. Remember when I said that Memrise operates under the freemium model? Do you know what is not part of the premium model? Any of their courses. All courses are free and available to you whenever you want. Even better, you can just create your own courses for free!
As I said, a fair freemium model.
However, as said nothing is perfect and neither is Memrise. It has a few minor issues that really bother me, but nothing that would cause me to not recommend the app to anyone.
My biggest peeve with the app is with their mems. Mems can only be added when learning a new word or when you make a mistake. That is simply rubbish and not user-friendly. I should be able to add Mems while not learning; outside the testing mode, but Memrise seems to disagree for some reason.
Another minor issue is the premium price which is set at 59 USD per year. While the premium features are neat, I would not value those features at $59. I would be willing to pay half that price, but that is a personal opinion, you might disagree and think the current price is fair or even my price is too high.
To end this little review I want to recommend anyone who is learning a language to pick up this handy little app. It’s fun look and gamification functions make it a blast to learn vocabulary which is otherwise a dull experience. Remember, you get a premium app for free and can expand it with even more functions for a price.