I have first used a spaced repetition program in the summer of 2003. It was a demo version of a commercial program which had taught me the German words for “juice”, “hot” and “living-room”. It took me a few more years to discover Damien Elmes’s magnificent (and free) Anki, and a bit longer to learn to use it correctly/ effectively.

I’m a big fan of using Anki for learning, and I’m interested from both a theoretical and a practical point of view in the emergent understanding arising from massive “trivial learning” of front-back flash cards associations. Supposedly there are critics of rote memorization which deem it to be antagonistic to understanding. The way I see it, an understanding emerges when one is able to simultaneously hold several related and mutually-illuminating facts. Anki won’t help one, by itself, to understand why “front side” -> “back side”, but with a sufficient amount of such well reviewed cards one could understand a phenomenon on some higher meta level. Therefore the way to go could be just to memorize the “axioms”, facts whose “understanding” is beyond the project at hand: that “Katze” is German for “cat” when one studies to speak German, or Ohm’s law if someone is studying electrical engineering. Memorize the givens and let all the rest stand on these.

A little general terminology: I use the verb “to anki” to denote the processes of rehearsing decks, and the verb “to ankinize” to denote the creation of a new anki deck out of some material, or the addition of new cards into an existing deck.

Hereby are the uses I put Anki into, followed by prospective/ theoretical uses and uses I wish to put it into one day:

I. Language learning

II. Keyboard layout learning

III. Procedural learning

IV. Anatomy learning

V. Equations

VI. “Art History”

Envisioned projects/ experiments:

I. Spatial learning

II. Sign language

III. Programming

IV. Games