I've been a long time lurker at HTLAL, but after all the discussions here about Anki vs Goldlists vs Iversen Wordlists, I thought I'd finally make a post about a technique I'm experimenting with instead of those techniques. I've dubbed it a "Focus Logbook". Sorry if this is a bit rambling... A few points up front: - There is nothing new here, in fact it is simple variation on what people have been doing for centuries. - It probably isn't for all levels, total novices and very advanced learners will likely get less from it. It is quite simple: 1) Get yourself a nice lined journal 2) Get some native content, preferably something long and somewhat level appropriate (books, TV series, etc. repeat vocab is good) 3) Read/Watch Intensively, at each unknown a) Lookup the unknown, find the meaning appropriate for this usage. b) Carefully HAND write: L2 (+ phonetic, if appropriate) + L1 meaning on one line c) Read that word/phrase out loud and "Savor"* it for a few seconds --- FOCUS d) If you hit the same unknown (with the same meaning) in the same session (30-60 minutes?) and don't remember it --- go back and "Savor" that existing line you already wrote. e) If you hit the same unknown in a later session and don't remember it (> 60 minutes?) write a new line for it again. 4) When done with the whole book or series either: a) Throw the logbook away and start another one. b) Occasionally skim through it for "fun". c) If you insist, go through the logbook in reverse order and cherry pick items to put into an SRS / wordlist. Keep your decks small. ---------------- The good: 1) People have learned languages in a very similar way for a long time (i.e. look up the word, write the meaning in the margin of the book.) 2) It is comprehensible input that you are paying attention to. 3) Low stress / affective filter 4) Real content == natural SRS, particularly with long content (books, series) 5) Writing by hand seems to aid memory (probably because it makes you pay attention) 6) If you forget an "important" word, it will probably come along again. Unimportant words won't matter. 7) You are ALWAYS seeing stuff in context. 8) You are ALWAYS (ok, usually?) using interesting content. No time is spent drudging through context-less cards or lists. 9) You don't have to find seperate time to create cards and other time to review them. The bad: 1) You can't do this in elevator/waiting-in-line time. 2) Since it doesn't have an electronic output, it is not easy to search, reference or take metrics from the logbook. That said, that isn't the point. (And I strongly believe that typing will greatly reduce the effectiveness.) 3) Your spaced repetition is tied to actual usage in your materials. If you have specific vocab you want to learn and you don't have materials that use it a lot, this isn't your technique. 4) Some people dislike the start-stop nature of Intensive reading/watching/listening. My critique of Anki: The value of "testing" in the Anki sense is three things: a) comprehensible input b) the "testing" forces you to PAY CAREFUL ATTENTION / CONCENTRATE. c) some people find metrics/tracking funBUT it has the downsides of stress (i.e. "affective filter"), bordem, often a lack of context and often extra time spent on finding / creating the cards vs. reviewing the cards. I haven't seen any evidence that "testing" would provide any extra memory benefit OTHER than to force you to pay attention. I also assert that many failed Anki reps LACK this: I'm sure many Anki users have had that big backlog of due cards with not a lot of time to spend on them. So they do their reps in a bit of a rush. They hit one of those newer/murky cards and stare and struggle with it for 10-15 seconds trying to remember... then finally tap "Show Answer" and the answer flashes on screen. In a small fit of defeat, they say "aw crap, yeah" and nearly instantly tap "Again"... and its on to the next card. Notice that they spend only a fraction of a moment with the full data in their head for that card, i.e. this L2 == that L1. And they aren't really FOCUSING on it. And their "affective filter" is probably really high. No wonder so many of these cards become leeches. That said, if you can stand Anki, when done well I think it is probably very effective if not the most effective way to quickly cram vocabulary in your brain. Why do I call it a "Focus Logbook"? "Focus" --- This is primary point, to make you really focus on a L1==L2 association for a few seconds. "Logbook" --- This is really a running log, I wanted to avoid the word "list" as it implies something like a "to do list" or "task list". Like many other "logs" this logbook can be used as a future reference for specific things or simply never looked at again. It shouldn't be viewed as a mountain of future work to be "finished". * What do I mean by "Savor" the word? For example, see this Glossika video starting at about 31:40 and notice the small gestures Mike (the guy in glasses) is making as he repeats the phrases. I believe there is something very powerful going on when you really "feel" the meaning as you say/hear/see the L2 word. I'm going to experiment with this for a while and see how it goes, but I'd love to hear feedback and/or advice. Thanks!