Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Memrise is a Great Resource for Reinforcing Language Skills

If you live somewhere other than a Spanish speaking country, even if you have reached fluency at some point in your life, it can be frustrating to realize how rusty you can become after a few months without speaking the language.  Wouldn't it be great if there was a fun tool you could use that could help keep you up to speed and protect the significant investment you've made in your Spanish education (travel, classes, time, money?)

There are a couple tools out there, but I stumbled across one recently that seems to be really effective.  It's called Memrise and it offers free 'gamified' activities for memorizing and learning.  Memrise offers courses on subjects ranging from languages to history, to math, but for our purposes we will focus on the Spanish courses.

According to the company's founders, Memrise's formula for success involves three pillars; science, fun and community.  They have spent countless hours studying how people learn, what works and what doesn't.  The programs use items called 'mem's which they claim help users build sensory memories, presumably lasting longer than standard memories.  I can't vouch for the scientific validity of 'mem's, but I can confirm that the second pilar, fun, indeed holds true.  The games are addicting, simple, and broken into manageable chunks that I could see myself slotting into a free half hour each day.  The community part of the triad is built by Memrise users supporting each other, providing new 'mems' and teaching others through past experiences.

Of the activities I tried, my favorite was the 'Spanish on The Go' program, which serves as a great quick hitter, that will give even a novice speaker, the essentials of language needed for activities like ordering in a restaurant or asking for directions.

While I won't go as far as saying that a program like Memrise is enough to take a pure Spanish beginner to a fluent speaker (If it was, SGSS might not have as many customers), I think this program can be an invaluable tool in the chest for learners looking to maintain the skills they have built.  Combined, with Spanish podcasts, regular conversation, and Spanish immersion, Memrise can help learners improve, review, maintain and supplement their Spanish learning.

Check our Memrise and let us know what you think!

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