Millions of current and former children can tell you all about flash cards, which they remember well, proving that the cards worked. Flash cards aren't just for youngsters, though; they can help anyone learn and remember new things. Thanks to freeware suites like Anki, flash cards are easier than ever to use. Anki's customizable cards and exercises help you learn and remember not only facts and figures but also names, faces, places, and more. It works on a wide range of operating systems as well as cell phones and mobile devices, including Android and iOS.
When we installed and opened Anki, the setup wizard instructed us to click the Download button to select a deck of study cards to download. The program offers hundreds of options, most involving languages, and many related to specific study programs. There's more to choose from than languages, though, such as guitar lessons and amino acids. We chose Vietnamese Basics. When the download finished, we received the Study Options page, which included fields for entering the number of new cards per day as well as session limits in minutes and number of questions. Clicking a button labeled More opened further options for ordering cards, setting intervals, and showing failed cards again. We clicked Start Reviewing, and our first card appeared with a phrase displayed in two phonetic spellings. We clicked Show Answer, and the English translation appeared below the central dividing line. Four buttons let us choose when to view the card again, and the bottom panel of the interface displayed color-coded counters as well as a timer. In addition to the Study Option icons, the toolbar includes some interesting functions, such as a deck graph display, audio repeat, and an Add button for adding notes and more to cards. The Settings include a Plug-In capability, too. Clicking the Close icon closed our deck and opened the deck management page, which, in addition to letting us download and import new decks, offered a Create button for making our own cards and decks via a simple wizard.
Anki offers lots of ways to set up and run your study sessions, review the results, and make improvements. It combines simple effectiveness with flexible options for creating and using cards for just about any learning situation.