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    The Common Thing That Will Destroy the Value of Language Study You Have Already Done!

    The Common Thing That Will Destroy the Value of Language Study You Have Already Done!
    March 14, 2013
    Brent Van Arsdell

    When you sit down to study, the first thing you should do is to turn off all your telephones and shut off everything on your computer that could interrupt you—like Skype and Facebook.

    Turn off all of your computer programs except the web browser you are using to study. Don’t worry about missing a call or a chat message. If it really matters, your friends will call you back.

    This is very important because of how human memory works.

    You need to review items at increasing time intervals of roughly 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 5 minutes, etc. If you are interrupted, the study value of something you have reviewed only once or twice may go back to absolute zero because you didn’t review it at the right time to convert it into a more stable memory.

    For example, a phone call that lasts 10 minutes will almost totally eliminate the study value of the 10 to 15 minutes that preceded the phone call.

    So turn off your phone. Turn off your chat clients like Skype or Facebook, and turn off anything else on your computer that can distract you.

    Last Updated:  August 27, 2012

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    8 Comments to “ The Common Thing That Will Destroy the Value of Language Study You Have Already Done!”

    1. John

      This spaced repetition stuff is very interesting. I tested that technique to get a feel for how it works, and it does. Now I know about four first grade kanji characters and four of each’s useful compounds. Like 一、右、雨、and 円。

       
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      • thomas

        John –

        Great job! Using an independent test to assure the quality of our software is an excellent way to see for yourself how the root of our system works! I’m curious what tool you used to generate the characters or to test yourself on those Kanji. Our Japanese lessons aren’t quite ready yet, when they are I’ll be sure to send you an announcement!

        Thomas

         
        Reply
    2. Kareef Huggins

      Glad to hear that you are working on Japanese courses, please also let me know when they are ready!

       
      Reply
      • thomas

        Kareef –

        Your enthusiasm is appreciated! I’ll be sure to let you know as soon as the first Japanese lessons are available for study!

        Thomas

         
        Reply
    3. Aleythia

      I love this! I have had some experience with this idea. I would find a word or phrase in Spanish that I love and/or needed to learn like albaricoque (apricot). I loved the sound of it so I ended up repeating it in my head throughout the day. Haven’t forgotten it since. :)

       
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      • thomas

        Aleythia –

        That’s how memorization works! Repeat something, wait a while, repeat it again, wait awhile repeat it again, continue until it’s a part of who you are. Using this same technique is how Language101.com’s software teaches languages. Glad to hear that it works well for you!

        Thomas

         
        Reply
    4. Kohlrak

      I’ve noticed from experience (with myself and teaching others) that it’s important to have things interrupting you between your spaced repetition. Also, it needs to be a little flexible, to make it more realistic to your brain. And those 2 and 5 minute intervals are often worthless. 10 is the smallest interval i will stand up for, but i recommend your first interval be 1 hour. It works for most things (though, remember, things with alot of details need shorter starting intervals).

       
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      • thomas

        Kohlrak –

        Having interruptions between the spaced repetition is exactly how our software works. Instead of repeating the same thing over and over Language101.com designed a software that interrupts the repetition of phrases with a precision algorithm. The better known phrases are repeated less often and the less known ones repeated more frequently. In this way there is a constant interruption between the same phrase in a progressively longer cycle. It took a lot of studying to get the best cycle algorithm worked out – the one we are using now is ideal!

        Thomas

         
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