Here is a list of online flash card programs and my reviews of them. Keep an eye on this page is I will update it as I find new flashcards programs and systems. I will send out a notice to the newsletter when the page is updated.
Quizlet is one of the better online flash card solutions on the Internet, and it’s free. They seem to be continually developing and adding new features. You can even import a list of Chinese characters and it will translate into pinyin and English. You can also add audio.
To make things easier, there are hundreds of word lists made by users and available to the public. This could save you a lot of time by not having to make your own. You can even search under the name of the textbook that you are using, and perhaps find that someone is already created flash card decks for all the lessons.
Finally, there are mobile apps for the iPad, iPhone, and android devices.
Flashcard Machine is actually one of my favorite online flash card systems. It’s free, and there are apps for Apple and Android devices. Like in Quizlet, there are hundreds of premade sets that you can use. Search by the name of the textbook you are using. You should see it there if it’s a popular text.
Anki is a free, open source, desktop-based, spaced repetition flash card program. There are also mobile apps available, but they are not free. Anki got me really excited when I first started using it. As an educator, I am aware of the research around how the brain remembers things, and how spaced repetition can drastically increases our retention. However, it only works for me if I use it in a special way.
The way I use it is to only import lists that I’ve already committed to short-term memory. In other words, I don’t use Anki to learn new vocabulary, rather I use it to review vocabulary that I’ve already learned. I hope this makes sense.
To repeat: for me, Anki is not good for learning new vocabulary, at least for me. I will use physical flashcards, or Flashcard Machine mentioned above to learn new vocabulary. Then, once I have initially memorized a deck of new vocabulary, then I will import that deck into an key and let it manage process so I don’t forget what I already spent time learning.
In the beginning, I tried using Anki for the learning process as well, but it’s algorithm does not show the characters enough in the beginning before it starts spacing them out two, three, four weeks ahead. In other words, I hadn’t fully learned a particular vocabulary word and then all of a sudden Anki isn’t going to show it to me for another three weeks.
Here’s how I would use Anki together with the Chinese character learning system that I outlined in this video here. In the video I explained that when I learned new character it gets reviewed every day for 30 days, then once a week for a few weeks, then once a month for a couple months, and then if I have learned it, I will retire the flash card for my system.
If I were using this system together with Anki, then after learning in reviewing a character for 30 days, I would then put it into Anki and let it manage the rest of the review process.
I will add to this page as I find new resources. I will send a notice to my newsletter when I do. You can sign up to my newsletter near the top right of this page.