We’re going to do something a little bit different here because Memrise is not your traditional course website – it’s something a little bit different.
Memrise allows people to learn a wide variety of topics through the well-proven technique of spaced repetition and leverages “mems” for making things easy to remember.
If you want to learn all the State Capitals in the United States, the countries of the world, basic vocabulary of a foreign language, history or even types of cheese, Memrise has a variety of short courses to help you learn those things.
The spaced repetition comes in the form of a seed being planted (a new fact, say), and over time that seed needs watering to become a strong flower. At first, you may need to practice this lesson frequently – every day, say. But over time you can only come back to review those items only infrequently. Memrise takes care of setting up what seed needs watering, and using well-designed graphics it is clear to you whether you are ready to learn new things or need to go back and review things previously learned.
The “mems” bit, which they claim is their innovation and I’ve not seen implemented like this before, makes you choose something easy to remember for each new thing learned. Say you are learning the word “por favor”, which in Portuguese means “please”. The “mem” that makes this easy to remember is “Could your please do me a favor and pour me a drink?” Presumably, you can remember this phrase when thinking about please, and the por favor will come back to you.
I am not sure that the mems work since I tend to ignore them when using the site, and some of them are just too… useless. But if the science says it works, well then who am I to argue with science.
Memrise is a good site for certain types of topics – memorizing lists of things. If you wanted to learn 1000 words of a language, or 100 countries, or 20 cheeses, other sites such as Coursera and Udacity are not good for learning those things. Not sure you could ever learn a more complex topic like “marketing” on a site like this, but for what it is, it does a good job. Since courses are user generated, you’ll often find several courses on any topic and you can look around to find the one that best suits you. If you don’t want to learn verb conjugation, you can learn common greetings instead. Since the site supports audio, many user generated courses allow you to listen to words as you’re learning. Careful, since accents vary in different parts of the world (Catalan Spanish versus Mainland Spanish versus Mexican Spanish etc.) You don’t know from where the person who is talking is from, and if their dialect of that language is the main one foreigners learn.
Memrise also has apps for iOS and Google Play, for those that wish to take their memorization training on the road.