Best software to learn words (big update 6)


 Flashcard programs are useful to memorize any information: words, texts, faces of people, formulas.
You can also use such program as your personal dictionary.

Best offline flashcard programs for Windows 

1st place) Anki
www.ankisrs.net

You create your own dictionary of any structure and begin learning entries.
You see a word, recollect translation, press the button "Show translation" and rate how well you remembered the translation.
The lower you rated the answer, the sooner the program will ask the word again. Gradually the interval between repetitions get longer (up to many years).
So you do not lose your time repeating words you remember well.
Using this method of learning, you can bear in mind thousands of words without spending much time repeating them.
The program is free and open source.

Features:
  • Graded review mode
  • Creating own dictionaries
  • Spaced repetition (interval study)
  • Time between repetitions automatically adjusts to difficulty of notes and abilities of the learner
  • Separate statistics for each card
  • Unicode support (support for any languages)
  • Adding custom fields
  • Tagging notes
  • Each note can have many tags
  • Search of notes
  • Learn several languages simultaneously (creating a concept-based dictionary)
  • Editing the dictionary being learned without losing statistics
  • Reschedule a card
  • Edit words while reviewing
  • Suspension of words from learning
  • Interval between asking different cards of the same note
  • Cramming mode (memorize and repeat a group of words for exam)
  • Possibility to type in transcription
  • Freeware
  • Open source
  • Stats: number of notes in a dictionary
  • Stats: number of cards in a dictionary
  • Stats: the number of new (not yet asked) cards in the dictionary
  • Stats: the number of young cards in the dictionary
  • Stats: the number of mature cards in a dictionary
  • Stats: how far in the future the card will be asked again
  • Stats: on what date the dictionary was created
  • Stats: the number of suspended notes in a dictionary
  • Stats: number of cards reviewed today
  • Export of notes to .txt
  • Individual settings for each dictionary
  • Graded spell mode
  • Suspend tags (creating a deck based on the tags and then suspending it)
  • Limit study to particular tags
  • A note can now have only 1 card and 1 field (useful for memorizing long texts which cannot be divided into questions and answers)
  • Even if a field is unique, you can still import duplicates into it. (Later you can find the duplicates and process them)
  • Even if a field is required, you can still import notes with this field empty (Later you can find notes with this field empty and fill it in)
  • Search duplicates (notes which have identical fields)
  • When you add new cards or use card browser, height of fields automatically adjusts to text in them
  • History of added notes in the "Add note" window
  • Clickable list of tags in card browser 
Partially implemented features:
  • User interface in Esperanto (not everything translated)
Wanted features:
  • TTS slideshow mode (without pressing any button) with command "Learned" - you do morning exercises or cleaning and simultaneously review cards by listening to them. The mode can use 3rd party text-to-speech engine, such as eSpeak. You will have to indicate which fields you would like to be pronounced. When you feel that you already remember a card, you press the button "Learned"
  • Highlight a word or phrase in any application, press shortcut keys and see the corresponding entries (as in ABBYY Lingvo dictionary and Babylon dictionary)
  • Move mouse pointer to a word in any application, press shortcut, the program scans text below the mouse pointer and shows corresponding entries (as in Babylon dictionary)
  • No spell check (maybe can be implemented by a third-party application?)
  • Many users use shared dictionary (each has own statistics)
  • Some users can edit shared dictionary and others cannot
  • Individual settings for each user
  • Autocompletion of transcription (you do not have to type transcription) with possibility to correct
  • Find out the number of reviewed cards for any period
  • Possibility to cross-link entries
  • Hierarchy of notes as in SuperMemo. Then Anki could be used as the best in the world knowledge base program. It would be possible to keep all important information in one place organized in hierarchy and use SRS to keep all that information in memory. Now NoteCase is one of the best knowledge base programs. It supports hierarchy of notes but does not have spaced repetition system.
  • Card types should be displayed in left menu in card browser.
  • Sort cards on any column in card browse.
  • Display number of cards reviewed today on the main review screen (it will stimulate to review more cards every day)
  • If you create a custom study session selecting cards with tag X but there are no cards in your collection with tag X which are new or due, Anki creates the custom study session but also says: "No cards matched the criteria you provided". Maybe it is better to make the message clearer: "Custom study session created but now you don't have cards to study". 
Bugs:
  • During import of a list of facts with many fields the window of import gets too high and does not fill to the monitor screen: scroll bar should appear
  • Space character in the end of a field is preserved and the fields differing only with a space (for example:computerANDcomputer ) are considered by the program to be not identical.
  • If a note Z has tags X and Y and there are 2 filtered decks one of which includes cards with tag X and the other deck includes cards with tag Y, cards of note Z can be only in one of the filtered decks. So, if the cards of note Z are in deck with tag X and I rebuild the deck with tag Y, cards of note Z will not be added and will remain in deck with tag X.
My own brief manual for Anki 2.x (explanation is different from the official manual)

Types of cards

By interval cards are divided into new cards (or unseen cards) (not studied yet), learning cards (up to 10 min. interval under standard settings) and review cards. Review cards are divided into young cards (interval is less than 21 days) and mature cards (interval is 21 or more days).
Anki 2.x issue: In filtered decks new cards include not only new cards, but also not-yet-due cards and learning cards.

Types of decks

Anki has 3 types of decks: usual decks, custom study sessions (used under selected tags study mode) and filtered decks (used under cramming mode).

Tag study

Tag study mode is used when you need to focus on studying cards with specific tags.
Open a usual deck, click "Custom study" in the bottom and select "Limit to particular tags". You will be able to select tags which you want to study and tags which you want to exclude from study. A "Custom Study Session" deck will be created in the list of decks.
After you learn all due and new cards in a custom study session, you will not be asked anymore.
If you haven't added new cards with the tags to your collection, Anki will not have cards to be asked if you click "Rebuild" immediately after you finished studying cards in the custom study session.

Cramming

Cramming is used when you need to repeat and learn all cards (due, not-yet-due and new) in a group of cards.
When cramming, Anki asks all cards in the selected group. When defining interval of the cards after you rate them, Anki will take into account interval the cards gained before you started cramming them.
To cram a group of cards, you first need to select them. In Anki 2 you can do it creating a filtered deck.
Go to "Tools" > "Create filtered deck". You will need to write a search request as you do in the search bar of card browser in order to select cards.
When you create a filtered deck, selected cards are automatically temporarily moved to it from their home decks.
Cards automatically return to their home deck after they become review cards in the filtered deck. There are also 2 ways to move all cards from a filtered deck back to their home decks at once:
    The "Empty" button on the bottom of the study screen moves all cards in the filtered deck back to their home decks, but does not delete the empty filtered deck. This can be useful if you want to fill it again later (using the "Rebuild" button).
    Deleting a filtered deck does the same thing as "Empty" does, but also removes the emptied deck from the deck list. No cards are deleted when you delete a filtered deck.
If you click "Rebuild" in a filtered deck, Anki will start asking all cards from the group again. 


2nd place) SuperMemo

Unique feature:
  • Unlimited hierarchy of notes (you can use the program as a knowledge base program; thanks to spaced repetition, you can bear in mind all information in your knowledge base) 
3rd place) BX Language Acquisition  
www.bxmemo.narod.ru (in Russian only)

Interesting features:
  • TTS slideshow mode (without pressing any button) with command "Learned" - you do morning exercises or cleaning and simultaneously memorize cards by listening to them. The mode can use 3rd party text-to-speech engine, such as eSpeak. You will have to indicate which fields you would like to be voiced. When you feel that you already remember a card, you press the button "Learned"
  • Many users mode (common dictionary, separate statistics)
  • Automatic switch of keyboard layout while switching fields
Best offline flashcard programs for Android when you learn words by listening to them:

1st place) AnyMemo

Interesting features:
-  6 rating button: Completely forgot, Forgot, Very hard, Hard, Easy, Very easy
- You can use volume hardware buttons to show the other side of cards and to rate cards (completely forgot or hard) 
 
Issues:
- You can test only 1 side of notes
- No tags (there are categories, but you can assign only 1 category to a card)
2nd place) AnkiDroid 
 

Best offline flashcard programs for Android when you learn words by seeing them:

1st place) AnkiDroid

2nd place) AnyMemo

3rd place) PocketCram 

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