We’ve all had excuses for not learning a foreign language faster. For some of us, we simply don’t have time to study. For others, we lack the motivation. For still others among us, we find it difficult to “pick up where we left off” after a long break from learning. Well Brainscape is proud to introduce Brainscape Spanish (iTunes), the first of many packages that will help solve all of these problems once and for all. As explained in a new white paper, our revolutionary new web/mobile study method – known as Intelligent Cumulative Exposure (ICE) – makes learning a foreign language faster, more efficient, and more convenient than ever before.
ICE leverages the convenience of the virtual flashcard to combine grammar, sentence construction, and audio pronunciation into an incremental and comprehensive language-learning experience. The secret to the methodology can be found in the precise pattern that ICE introduces new concepts. It essentially works in three simple, repetitive steps:
(1) Brainscape asks you to translate a particular sentence (e.g. “I have two siblings”) into Spanish – where the single underlined word is the only concept that has not yet been introduced in previous flashcards. (Translation is an extremely underrated tool for adult learners.)
(2) Brainscape reveals the correct translation (Tengo dos hermanos) on the back of the flashcard, and explains or annotates the new concept in smaller text. (e.g. “Although the word hermano usually means ‘brother’ when singular, the plural hermanos could mean either ‘two brothers’ or ‘a brother and a sister’.)
(3) Brainscape asks you, on a scale of 1-5, “How well did you know this?” which determines how soon that flashcard will be repeated. Cards rated a 1 would repeat often until you report a higher level of confidence, while 5’s are very rarely repeated.
The process continues to repeat one card at-a-time (with AUDIO accompaniment), at gradually increasingly levels of complexity, with previous cards being repeated on an as-needed basis according to Brainscape’s machine learning algorithm. Interspersed with these sentence-building exercises are simple vocabulary enrichment and verb conjugation-practice flashcards – which also employ a confidence-based repetition technique.
These educational software best practices seem very intuitive and simple, yet they have never before been implemented in a complete curriculum that is sliced & diced in such an incremental bite-sized process. Brainscape Spanish includes over 2,000 “Sentence Builder” flashcards (as illustrated above) as well as over 4,000 cards – most with audio – for key vocabulary words and verb conjugations. It is the first complete Spanish curriculum that promises to teach you the language from the ground-up, using nothing but an iPhone.
Overall, ICE’s easily “chunkable” yet progressively incremental curriculum is the most convenient and efficient way to learn a language on the iPhone. While some people may still prefer competitors’ apps that offer “fun” activities like hangman, word searches, and multiple-choice quizzes, those who are serious about learning a language will use Brainscape to optimize their limited use of study time.
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