Production cards are most effective in the early stages of language learning

Damien Elmes's Avatar

Damien Elmes

10 Dec, 2013 05:03 AM

During the early stages of language learning, the words you encounter will be high frequency words that you'll often need to produce in conversation. For this reason, it can be useful to focus on production during this time - creating cards that test your ability to produce the foreign word when given a prompt, instead of just testing your ability to recognize the word.

As you progress in your studies however, transitioning over to recognition cards is advisable. It's natural to be able to recognize many more words than you actively use in your own speech, and trying to fight this by using Anki to force all words into your active vocabularly invariably leads to frustration. Switching to recognition cards will make reviewing a lot easier, so you'll spend less time studying and have more time to use and enjoy the language.

  1. 1 Posted by Andreas Tomasin... on 10 Dec, 2013 07:38 AM

    Andreas Tomasini's Avatar

    I think this is really good advice. I'm learning a language as part of school now and in the beginning I had cards for both directions. This gave me too much workload. Then I've switched to recognition cards and have had much less to do. At the same time I've could remember the words like I could before. There is no point in doing vocabulary in two directions.

    I'll try to change to recognition cards as soon as I'm done with the textbooks for the B1 level. I think I should have a reasonable amount of cards then. Thanks for your advice.

  2. 2 Posted by albert.lyubarsk... on 15 Dec, 2013 07:48 AM

    albert.lyubarsky's Avatar

    I fully agree with Damien.
    However I am afraid that such a practice can somehow negatively affect on memorizing.
    A recognition is much easier than a production. The same way it's easier to understand than to speak.

    I have my own way to deal with this problem:
    1. I allow a hint with prod. cards ( first letter ).
    2. Rec. cards have more rigid score policy than prod. cards.
    3. I can use a definition, a native translation and a partial sentence with prod. cards.
    4. I have a "defer" tag - to mark a prod. card as "HARD" (even if it's actually "AGAIN") and to give it another chance in next lap.

    However, I do rec. cards much better than prod. cards. And most of the time I struggle with prod. cards. Anyway, not to use prod. cards completely - I am just frightened from only an idea of this. It would be easier, but learning a foreing language is not a picnic.

  3. 3 Posted by Andreas Tomasin... on 15 Dec, 2013 07:49 AM

    Andreas Tomasini's Avatar

    Now this is just for vocabulary learning. It's not the only cards I have for my language classes. I always add example sentences (using the words I learn) from the textbook and exercises, too. This makes me know the vocab better, too.

    And for translating exercises I use cards to type in the translations until I get them right and then change them to non-input cards (being aware that sometimes you can translate differently, but it still helps to have one way memorized). I think you have to translate from your native language to the target language in the beginning as you don't have any other reference then. Later on we'll use dictionaries which are completely in the target languages, but the first 1 1/4 years we just have to learn a lot of vocab and grammar (from A1 to B1).

    After this we'll be ready to do readings in the target language along with the dictionary in the target language. And we'll have to talk about those readings and write essays about them.

    And I just use Anki accordingly. I think the most important thing along the vocab are the exercises. With Anki you can do them really well very soon and don't forget the exercises from book one while you're already studying book 7 (as we are now after almost a year).

    As I always add all the grammar rules, I really know why a sentence is structured like it is and when translating I start to see how everything fits together. I think this creates connections in my brain between vocab, use in sentences and the structure of sentences with all the conjugations and tenses etc.

  4. 4 Posted by Christian Klein... on 23 Dec, 2013 10:02 PM

    Christian Kleineidam's Avatar

    I don't think that there a clear distinction between production and recognition.

    I have for example a card [fr-en] ?(souvenir/oublier)? means forget. It requires me to produce by typing oublier. They card plays the sound of forget when it prompts and the sound of oublier when the answer get's revealed. I do both direction in terms of language. That gives me 4 cards for a word pair.

    This layout has the great advantage that it allows for multiple meanings of words without any ambiguity.

    The cards enforce minimum information in a very different way I first thought about the concept years ago.

  5. System closed this discussion on 22 Feb, 2016 11:40 PM.

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