Welcome to the first ever Smart Language Learner case study report.
I’m doing a case study on the Udemy video course: How to Learn and Memorize the Vocabulary of any Language. It’s all about using memory palaces to learn foreign vocabulary.
For more info check out my introductory post of the case study:
Note: the links to the course are affiliate links, which means that, should you purchase, I’ll receive a commission(at no additional cost to you). I’m still in the process of experimenting with this product, so far it looks very good but I can’t give my full recommendation yet. I need to spend more time using the course, first. Only the best language-learning tools will eventually get my recommendation.
I have decided against reporting weekly.
I think it’s better to report only when I have something interesting to share. If there’s nothing new to say, why post the same stuff I posted a week earlier?
That would be a bit disrespectful to you, my reader. So while all that may mean a new report every two weeks, it could just as easily mean a new one every three days! It depends…
Okay, with that out-of-the-way, let’s dive into the specifics of this case study report.
This report is about the first week of April. From the 1st to the 7th.
In this first week, I managed to squeeze in four 40-minute sessions. My aim was to have four or five of those sessions, so I’m satisfied.
Apart from the first session, where I had to revisit some course lessons, I spent all of the time on either creating mnemonic images (within the memory palaces), or rehearsing the memory palaces.
How did I do?
Let’s continue with the …
30 newly learned (mostly advanced) Spanish Words.
On average, I learned about 7 new words in each session.
Just did a check, and was able to recall all 30 words quite easily, which means a 100% recall rate. (I do expect this to drop, though, as I learn more and more words with this method)
Just a few words did take a little longer to recall. For them, there’s always the option to change the images and make them more memorable.
On the positive side, two things stand out.
The first one, is the impressive recall rate. No, we’re not talking about 5000 words, but I’m just a beginner and already capable of producing recall rates like this.
Secondly, maybe fueled by my early successes, it’s great fun to actually create these memory palaces!
To be honest, I wasn’t actually looking forward to doing all this. I don’t consider myself a good visualizer and it looked like a lot of work.
But right from the first session, I’ve enjoyed it. It’s more like play. As a bonus, you get motivated when you notice you’re remembering much more than you thought you would.
The origins of this method may be old, to me it feels like a novelty. It’s interesting. Even my wife was listening attentively when I explained her the method. She used some of the principles to help my step daughter remember the names of the major muscles of the human body. She scored a 95(out of a 100)!
I see lots of potential in this method. Not just for Language Learning, but for a range of other stuff. You could use it to remember boring stuff that otherwise just wouldn’t stick. And what about important life lessons that you always seem to forget just when you need them? Take a daily walk through the memory palace of your life’s wisdom!
One of the great things about the method is that you can remember in sequence. I can drum up the 30 words in the exact sequence I learned them!
Negative may be a bit of a heavy word here, but there are definitely some questions left.
In the very first session I had to substitute a word for another because I was stuck on how to create a mnemonic image for it. I’m sure it had a lot to do with a lack of confidence in my ability to create good mnemonic images. I found out later that it doesn’t have to be so complicated. Just use what comes naturally to your mind.
To be honest, I don’t consider it an issue anymore.
What I do consider a potential problem is the speed of implementation. If I get more experienced in using this method, does it get faster to create the mnemonic images?
Yes, it’s entertaining to make them. But is it an efficient way of spending your precious language-learning time?
Maybe I’m just slow at it, and you would be faster, but on average I was able to learn about 7 words in 40 minutes. So far, with a perfect recall rate. But 7 words in 40 minutes, is that good or bad?
I’ve always learned words without recording their success rate, so it’s hard to say for now. Maybe future case studies on other vocabulary methods will shine light on this.
Some things to remember: You can try to learn 50 words in 40 minutes with rote learning but you’d probably forget 49 and you’d have no method to re-remember them. And that’s where this course really shines. Forgot a word? Just take a walk through your memory palaces and you’ll likely find it!
All in all, it’s still early days. There’s quite some time left for this case study. Things can change. One thing is for sure: This is a valid memorization method and it’s fun to use.
If you’re already convinced by my experiences, you can buy the course here.
There’s still time to join me so we can do this case study together. However, as I said earlier, note that I can’t give the course my full recommendation yet. But … so far, so good.
I will be back to report soon. We’ll see if the impressive first results hold up.
Also, keep an eye out for the next Ask the Experts post. I hope to finish it in the coming week!