So, here I am; probably talking to myself alone. I’m cool with it. For now.
You know, I had a lot of ideas for this blog: what I would like to speak about, the kind of design I would like for it, blah, blah, blah… But for a specific reason I didn’t want to acknowledge until now I never started it. What reason was that? I was procrastinating trough perfectionism.
This happens to me a lot (being a perfectionist and thus being a procrastinator). And for some reason I have a vibe that I’m in the same boat as many other individuals… Anyway, even if it doesn’t seem like it, there is an easy solution for this situation: I/we only have to ask myself/ourselves
‘who cares if I do an (un)perfect work?’.
If the answer is nobody, then just start doing it.
There is just a small but: today I don’t feel like trying to make a great blog with a great design and many other pompous things. Today I ‘just’ have the urge to share my ‘investigation work’ results with the world.
Today has been the first day I put in motion, in a ‘serious way(*1)’, a new method I have come with for memorizing faster and better any kind of information. Ok, I know it sounds pretentious, but that’s not my intention at all. Let me explain it. The main idea is quite simple: to combine the Pimsleur algorithm with the Supermemo algorithm/software.
If you have ever used the Pimsleur Audio Lessons you would have noticed that they are quite useful when it comes to short-term learning, but is not as useful when it comes to long -term learning(*2), just the opposite of what happens with Supermemo. It, as any other SRS system, is really handy when it comes to long-term learning, but if our initial encounter with the stuff we are pretending to learn wasn’t sticky enough, consequent repetitions may become a pain in the ass(*3).
Are you starting to see where I’m going? Yes? No? Ok, let me explain it a bit further.
First I make a list of words I want to memorize. Not short enough to be insignificant, but also not long enough to feel any kind of stress while making it or studying it. This is what I call looking for the FLOW . I do it in a generic flashcard system/platform(*4). When it’s finished I review them until I get all the flashcards correct. And here comes the magic: after that I review the flashcard deck following these times: 1 minute, 3 minutes, 10 minutes, 1 hour and 5 hours. As you can see this is the Pimsleur algorithm with a initial slight modification. After finishing all my reviews I proceed to put the words in my Supermemo collection and the next day I start to review them through this way.
Let me be clear on this point. This method doesn’t assure you to remember any kind of information instantly error-proof. The big point is that when we realize our daily reviews with Supermemo we feel more secure, and why not, we make significantly less mistakes. In other words, it mades our first encounter with the info we want to absorb more ‘stickier’(*5).
My objective for today was to learn 60 kanjis and 120 korean words. Before keeping on I have to say two things. First, I don’t study japanese. I have a vague notion about the kana and today I learned my first kanjis in my whole live. So why I do it? Just for the challenge of learning(*6). Second, I do study korean. I have doing it for a significant time already. But I have been doing it wrongly for most part of the time. However recently I have started to improve my learning methods,or at least I hope so.
Coming back to the topic, what have been the results? 50 kanjis, 100 korean words and a lot of stress (and thus NO FLOW ). I know, I know, these could be considered as significant good results for just one day. But they are not. What I was really looking for was what was the optimal quantity of new information I could learn per day without feeling stressed at all. In others words, I wanted to transform my daily learning experience in a source of eustress. Do you understand now why I feel a bit frustrated today?
So what’s the following step now? I plan for tomorrow only to aim for 30 kanji and 60 korean words. I am quite sure tomorrow the sensations would be really different from today’s…
But why I give so much importance to how feel while studying? Easy. I plan to learn 3000 kanjis and 6000 korean words in the following 3 months. I know I only would be able to do it if everyday I enjoy every moment, again, if I feel the FLOW.
So, I guess this is all for now. I would really appreciate if you leave a comment expressing whatever idea came to you while reading this post.
Read you soon!
PS.I guess you have already noticed it. English is not my first language. I am really sorry for all the mistakes I made. In all my live I only wrote stuff in English for my homework at school/college. This is the first time I write something in English for another total different reason. What’s it? Mainly that most part of the Supermemo/people looking for new ways of learning… community is English-spoken. Finally I would like to point that I taught English myself , mostly by reading. So I guess this proves that the Input Theory is true after all 😉
(*1)This means that I have been using it already for some days, but in a minor scale. The results have been positive so far.
(*2)Unless you repeat in a daily/weekly basis the same audio lesson over and over – trust me, I did… any problem?
(*3)Is this maybe one of the main reasons because of so many people give up the SRS method even when it has positive proven results?
(*4)I use a platform called Brainscape. It covers all my needs, including an iphone application. Cool enough if you ask me.
(*5)Always depending on how much attention/concentration you put in the whole process, of course.
(*6)If you feel related to this statement I hope you become a fellow reader of this blog and leave your comments.