Alternatives to memrise?


(Cos) #1

We had some discussions about this on the old forums in summer 2015, when it became clear Memrise was heading downhill, but we can’t continue that discussion since they deleted the old forums, and it’s possible some things have changed since then.

Here’s one such discussion:
https://web.archive.org/web/20160423214452/http://www.memrise.com/thread/1361504/

Back then, the two main suggestions were anki and cerego.

I tried cerego, but it’s not even close to being a replacement for memrise. It lacks most of the basic features. You can’t have synonyms columns, you can’t have multiple images or multiple audio samples for the same item, there are no mems, etc. Cerego is completely inadequate.

Anki, I looked at and rejected partly because there were no forums to discuss things with other people taking the same course. How funny! However, it also didn’t have mems, had very few courses, and defaulted to multiple choice for everything, with a lot of annoying effort to do typing courses. It seemed seriously inferior to memrise. Of course, as memrise gets worse and worse, maybe we’ll be down to anki-level soon anyway.

I’ve stuck mostly with memrise because, despite going downhill for two years now, it’s still better than any alternative I’ve found. But recent changes (bugs they don’t take seriously and don’t seem to care about fixing) have made it impossible to use memrise.

So it’s time to look again. Cerego hasn’t gotten any better (I know because I did start two courses there and have continued with them). Has Anki? Or is there anything else similar out there now?


Memrise is dead. Let's get together and build an alternative
Has there been a change in the way memrise treats commas?
Has there been a change in the way memrise treats commas?
Important Update: Upcoming changes to Memrise community-created courses
(Vuski) #2

I’ve found Lingvist to be an interesting app to learn a language based upon the various things that they cover such as reading and listening to audio but the caveat to this program is that it’s still in development as of right now and the only language that is usable for English speakers is French, which I am doing, but it still looks promising nonetheless.


(Kaimi) #3

I use both (memrise and anki) and in the past months I’ve been enjoying anki more and feel more motivated to use it every day. I miss the mems, the ranking and the interface, but for me the advantages outweigh the disadvantages: a flexible system that lets you choose different intervals, simple program and app that work offline and well synchronized, addons that improve the program, easy course creation, and great statistics which I love. I’ve found the same courses I use here and even more complete, with audio and pictures, and you can also import from memrise with an addon. Not typing doesn’t really affect me, I try to recall the word and the meaning and if I don’t see it perfect on my mind I just hit “hard” or “relearn”. I feel it’s working even better than memrise. It can take a while to get used to, it’s very plain compared to this, but really worth giving a try. I’ve been a memrise premium user for two years and if they don’t fix this bug that’s ruining a lot of my learning I’ll just cancel as it’s becoming frustrating as well as the lack of response. Here’s are my statistics for a new course I started a month ago.


(Kaspian) #4

In this thread, @rob.fuller asked about alternatives to Memrise. He pointed out that one reason to use Memrise over Anki is typing versus multiple choice. I haven’t used Anki much, but I know it IS possible to set your course up so that you have to type.

For example:
German: das {{c2::Leben}} ist {{c3::kein}} {{c1::Ponyhof}}
English: Life is not a bowl of cherries. (Life is not a pony farm.)

The way I have the German sentence set up, I’ll get three questions—one where I type Leben, one where I type kein, and one where I type Ponyhof.

If I wanted to type the whole sentence, I would set it up like this:
German: {{c1::das Leben ist kein Ponyhof}}
English: Life is not a bowl of cherries. (Life is not a pony farm.)

The front of the card looks like this:
{{English}}

{{cloze:German}}

{{type:cloze:German}}

(add the html code for line breaks; the forum software treats them as code, so they’re not showing here…)

Edit: Here’s the link to the Anki Manual section on cloze deletion: http://ankisrs.net/docs/manual.html#cloze-deletion


(Kaimi) #5

I’ve never used or seen multiple choice on any of my anki decks so far, same with typing. It’s the traditional flashcard system, front and back.



(Kaspian) #6

Another website I’ve been using and enjoying is Clozemaster. I believe it was created somewhat recently (maybe 6-12 months ago), hoping to complement Memrise, Anki, and Duolingo.

Clozemaster presents you with sentences in your target language where one word is missing. I love it because it exposes me to vocabulary in the context of sentences and because it offers so many language pairs. I’m not only practicing German from English, but also Spanish from German, German from Spanish, Turkish from German, etc. My ability to switch between languages has really improved since I started using Clozemaster four or five months ago. The sentences come from Tatoeba, and the audio is computer generated. (You can mute the audio.)

At the beginning of each learning or reviewing session, you can choose multiple choice or fill-in-the-blank. I almost always choose multiple choice because it’s ability to recognize correct alternatives is not well-developed (or non-existent). But that is my only substantial criticism. The creator/developer is very responsive. Both my husband and I have sent in feedback, and he has responded and made changes within a day or two.


#7

Thanks for the recommendation. I just gave it a try and I’m impressed; I’ll be keeping a close eye on this one.


(Dylan Nicholson 548) #8

Wow I was actually thinking of writing something quite like that myself. Only did one round but it seems kinda cool, hopefully they add the ability to add your own sentences soon.


(Overlord Hydroptère) #9

I’ve tried it for Bahasa Indonesia, but … strange vocabulary


(Dylan Nicholson 548) #10

But actually the main thing it seems to be missing is to gradually require you to provide more and more of the words until you learn the whole sentence.


(Kaspian) #11

@Hydroptere - I don’t know what you mean by “strange vocabulary.” For some language pairs, the sentences are separated into groups based on the frequency of the missing word. (Top 100, top 500, top 1000, etc.) I get a lot more uncommon words in Turkish from German and in German from Spanish—where the sentences are not sorted by frequency—than I do in the popular pairs, where I usually choose from the top 5000, top 4000, or top 3000 words.

Also, In my experience, the popular language pairs, such as Spanish or German from English, have fewer errors than those that are less popular, such as Turkish from German, or even German from Spanish.

Since the sentence database comes from Tatoeba, which is crowdsourced, it makes sense that language pairs with a lot of speakers would have more sentences, fewer typos, and more “polish” than less common language pairs.


(Cos) #12

One thing that that discussion makes clear so far, is that memrise is different things to different people, and just asking about “alternatives to memrise” leads to different paths depending on what you think memrise is for. I’ll try to break it down a bit…

A) Some people are looking for a place to learn a language. Lots and lots of resources exist out there for learning the most popular languages, using many different methods. If you’re just looking for resources to learn, say, French, Japanese, Russian, German… there are so many options! So this is not what I meant when I asked the question, but this is what some people are looking for.

B) A flexible system for using spaced-repeat to learn and review facts on any topic, be it languages or geography or nature or music. Anki seems to target this.

C) A community, crowdsourced, flexible learning system where you can benefit from a vast number of “courses” from other people on a wide variety of obscure languages and topics, and where courses are discussed and corrected and updated by that community at large. Also, a platform where you can publish your own such “courses” and make them available as resources for your friends or the larger Internet. This is what memrise is for me, and what I mean when I ask about “alternatives to memrise”.

I think most of the answers here so far are about A and B. Cerego sort of tries to be C, it’s just very thin and inadequate compared to memrise. Do people have any more suggestions for Memrise alternatives of the C variety? Even if their community is small now, if we find a high quality site we can expand its community.


(Lena) #13

I would add D) a place where you kind of learn something but what it is really about is playing a free online game.


(Ali Bee99) #14

Something like Quizlet is a bit like memrise with more games about the words. There are community and self made courses. You can play a few matching or asteroid games with the words plus flashcards. What its missing is actual spaced repetition although all your words do sort into categories based on how often you get them wrong so you can focus more on harder words.


(Overlord Hydroptère) #15

cerego is the leanest…i.e. not a gaming site, but a learning site (which is free). I did not use it recently, did not cross my mind memrise would again spiral down so fast. Hope memrise comes back in its full, old glory


(Tech Cat) #16

No course for me yet… but wow… this site looks so impressing!


(Mikatu) #17

I don’t seem to connect with Anzi. I tried several times but I don’t seem to understand it.

I love Quizlet. I used it many times in the past, before memrise, and even today I use it to send stuff to my smartphone to learn on the tram. I find it very easy to use and very simple.
The only reason I don’t use it full time is because memrise has an algoritm that shows the cards when you need (or so they claim) while in Quizlet you don’t have such thing. But Quizlet remains my plan B.

I am a premium user but today I tried to give up. But since I don’t get any kind of refund I will wait until expiration period and cancel it then.
I loved memrise 2 years ago, everything was working, simpler but reliable. Currently I am almost one week without using my main courses because I can’t type it…


(Dylan Nicholson 548) #18

I admit I’ve only tried to use Memrise for languages so far, and I think if the initial design had just been for a generic fact-learning site (with spaced repetition), it wouldn’t work particularly well for languages, as there are quite a few special features about languages. But even for languages there’s quite a few things that Memrise can’t really do - e.g. how would you create a course for learning how to pronounce the letters of the alphabet in a language (i.e. basically an audio-only course). Duolingo supports audio answering, which is pretty cool, though for anything longer than a 3 or 4 syllable answer you’d have to retry so many times as to be more frustrating than productive.
But honestly by far and way the main reason Memrise beats out the alternatives (despite everything wrong with it and its steady decline over the last 2 years) is the powerful ability to edit and maintain your own courses. There’s only one course now I keep using where I don’t have edit rights and it constantly annoys me that I can’t make minor adjustments and fixes to it. Sites like duolingo or busuu or any other number of language-learning sites with pre-set content just annoy me because there are always issues with the content, or there’s no good way to tailor it to help you learn specifically to what you most want and what you have the most trouble remembering.


When the web site will function normally?
(Overlord Hydroptère) #19

for Mandarin: I just played some flashcards on WoHok.com


(Steve Kaczynski) #20

I came from Quizlet to Memrise and may return there. Clozemaster also sounds interesting. But I will give Memrise a few more days to return to something like normal.