Anki vs. the RZL

Last week I went to our local hackspace, the RaumZeitLabor, and I talked to Cheatha about my recent adventures with Anki. There were a few other people there that listened to my ramblings as well, and their reactions were not at all what I had expected.

It wasn't a well-prepared talk or anything, but the ensuing discussion was eye-opening.

There were a few firmly held opinions:

  • memorizing facts using the flashcard method (Karteikartenlernen) is horrifying to many.
  • the same people say that it doesn't make sense for learning a programming language, because learning how to program is a matter of practice and practice alone.

I even confused Cheatha, which is hard to do. So my main takeaway from the evening is that there are many more ideas in what I'm working on than I realized, all of which I tried to put into one short talk. But that simply doesn't work. The ideas are:

  1. What is spaced-repetition learning? How and why does it work? What's it good for? (boring but necessary)
  2. How to leverage Anki's templating system to efficiently create effective flashcards. (fun for nerds like us, but…)
  3. How I captured and memorized vocabulary for learning Spanish when I lived in Mexico, and how I'm capturing and memorizing vocabulary while learning Ruby now. (my main focus right now)
  4. How I try to remember more of what I read: books, articles, documentation. (still a little fuzzy, also for me)
  5. tbc

I'll have to explore each of these ideas separately. And I will, because I still believe that it will benefit me. So I guess the very next question I have to answer is: what benefit do I hope to get from memorizing all this information? It's a valid question that until now got drowned by my excitement of learning the new tools and the perception of "making progress".