Our recipe for effortless learning has 3 simple ingredients:
The first is Science. We're obsessed with using brain science to help you learn faster. This isn't a marketing ploy- we're really experts in this stuff. And from day one we've built Memrise to embody the very best knowledge about how your brain works, and so help you learn as quickly and effortlessly as possible.
We use 'mems' to help you form vivid, sensory memories. We test you continuously, always making sure to give your brain just the right workout. We remind you of what you've learned at scientifically optimized times so your memories are always growing stronger, and never forgotten.
Want to learn more about the kooky scientific principles that make Memrise tick?
In order to learn anything, you first have to connect it to what you already know. Memories aren’t stored nowhere, you know, they’re always made by creating connections to existing memories. Now, the more your brain does to encode a fact or word ["encode" is a fancy word for connect or associate with what you already know], the richer and more robust the resultant memory.
Memrise has been designed to help you connect every new word in the densest, most vivid fashion possible. We do this with mems. Mems is our natty word for the morsels of interesting and relevant information you see beneath every word on Memrise. Mems can be mnemonics, etymologies, amusing videos, photos, example sentences: anything which helps connect what you’re learning and bring it to life. Memrise is a wonderful community of mem-makers: we believe that there’s no idea or fact that isn’t made easier to learn with a choice mem.
Mems work best when they stimulate your senses, imagination and your emotions. The memories that result from such processing last longer, stand out better are just plain enjoyable and satisfying to recall.
We're memory athletes here, so recalling memories is what makes our brain muscles flex. It's one of the most powerful ways to make those memories robust, durable and cogent.
The science of how different kinds of tests strengthen memories in different ways is exceedingly complex, and, not boring. In a nutshell, the more your brain has to work to recall a memory, the more it will strengthen that memory while recalling it.
At Memrise, we take painstaking care to test your memories at the time and in the way that will be most beneficial to them. We're expert cultivators in the garden of knowledge, with a bona fide farmer's almanac of scientific research to guide us as we guide you. We've got loads of nifty cognitive science tricks up our sleeves that we translate to the Memrise platform, so that we can adaptively calibrate the tests we give you.
Sour milk. Moldy bread. Freezer-burned fish sticks. Like most organic matter, memories gradually decay over time. So it's vital to review what you have learned in order to keep it fresh.
Our memory experts have spent long, sleepless nights tinkering with exotic algorithms so as to be able precisely to estimate the point at which you're about to forget it. That's the best moment to be reminded, when your memory will get the biggest boost in strength. Makes sense, right?
By tracking when you should review and practise material, we do the hard work for you- making your learning as effortless and fun as possible.
The second is Fun. We want to make learning your favourite playtime activity. That's how it should be: we learn best when we're relaxed, curious and confident, and, after all, the world is a very interesting place.
So we've turned learning facts and language into a game where you grow a colourful garden of memory. You grow and water your memories in a garden of memory, you zoom up the leaderboards, and you learn alongside your mempals. It's like a guiltless video-game.
Want to learn more about how the Memrise Garden will help you love learning?
How the Memrise Garden works
Memories, like living creatures, are born tiny and delicate. In early life they are very vulnerable, and they need time, care and a well balanced diet to grow to strength.
And even once full-grown, a memory will, like any young creature, still require regular nourishment to stay fit and healthy.
On Memrise, inspired by the organic nature of your memory, we’ve turned learning into a game where you grow a Garden of Memory. Every word begins life as a seed, you nurture it til it sprouts in your greenhouse (short term memory), and then you transfer it to your garden (long term memory). Once in long term memory, you have to water it (review it) to keep it from wilting (fading).
Phase 1: Learn new words by planting seeds
To learn words on Memrise, you plant seeds (new words) in your Greenhouse (your short-term memory). This is the where your memories are at their most delicate and require the most love and attention. So during this early phase, we make sure you are tested on them and reminded of them very frequently, so they get a secure root-hold in your brain.
Science shows that a large number of such early repetitions and tests have a huge positive influence on the long-term health of a memory, so we’ve made it so that it takes six successful tests for a plant to finish growing.
Phase 2: Reviewing long-term memories = watering your garden
Once a word is fully grown and in your Garden (long term memory), it requires less attention than it did when it was in your Greenhouse, but you will still need to “water” it periodically. Watering is refreshing and strengthening memories, which one does by means of Memrise’s carefully calibrated tests and reminders.
Memrise helps you target your watering to only those plants that need it, so that you can keep your long term memory in fine health with the minimum of time and effort.
The third is Community. We believe learning should be as rich and varied as the world you're learning about. So with our community we're building a kind of multimedia wonderland of learning, where videos, audio, usage, mnemonics, etymologies and much more bring your learning to life.
We believe that every learner is partly a teacher, and we hope that once you get started, you'll soon be supplying little nuggets of wit and wisdom to help the rest of the community as they learn!
Want to learn more about the beliefs that energize our community?
Anyone can learn anything
We believe that learning’s quite simple, and that there’s nothing that can’t be learned with the right help and enthusiasm. Beginning with vocabulary, we’re on a mission to make acquiring new knowledge so simple, intuitive and engaging that anyone can do it- whenever and wherever they wish.
Together we are smarter.
Millions of people have learned what you want to learn. That’s why on Memrise we’re collecting all the most effective ways people have found of remembering all the most interesting information.
As you learn, you share your ideas to help others, just as you benefit all the time from the ideas other people have shared.
This way, we all learn quicker and more effortlessly. Memrise is the creative community for those who share the joy of learning.
We’re at our most receptive when we’re at play. Discovery, curiosity and surprise- these are the watchwords of pleasurable learning.
So we’re taking learning out of the classroom and turning it into a game. We want to make learning your favourite playtime activity.
Your memory is a garden, not a storehouse
We believe that what you know -memory- is at the heart of how you see and imagine and feel about your world. It’s colourful, vibrant and dynamic, not something grey stored away at the back of your brain, or in your phone.
We think memory is more like a garden than a storehouse. So we visualize each word you learn as a seed, growing into a plant; we represent your mind as a colourful garden, and your knowledge is then something you’ll want to tend and cultivate, to lovingly keep alive, not let wither as soon as you’ve passed an exam.
School shouldn’t interfere with your education
Some of our team had a hard time in school, while others excelled: between us, we’ve aced or flunked almost every imaginable qualification. All of us, though, feel let down by our formal education.
We believe learning should be something you choose to do, and that you should do it with your peers; and we reckon it’s best done out of curiosity and joy, not fear and ambition.
It’s with this commitment to learning for the joy of it that we’re building Memrise: a pleasure-garden of learning for anyone who wishes to come and play.
Humans first and foremost
At Memrise, we think technology is wonderful, but we think humans are much more wonderful. We're deeply committed to harnessing technology to make people smarter, more curious and more individual. And we're deeply opposed to any technology that makes people dependent, ignorant or addicted to something meaningless. That's a big part of the reason we’re so obsessed with combining every last nugget of wisdom from cognitive science with the best web technology to help you grow your mind.