Is Memrise really free? So how will you pay the bills and keep the site running?
Yes, the Memrise platform is totally free for everyone to use. Currently all of the courses on Memrise are also free.
In the future, publishers and individual people will be able to create courses on the platform, and to charge for those courses. Memrise will take a 30% share of the revenues from selling any courses, and Memrise will vet courses before they are published on the site to ensure that they are of sufficient quality.
We will devote our efforts to helping the Memrise community make better and better free courses. If the Memrise community can make courses that are better than the people who are charging for their courses, then the people who are charging for the courses are going to have to up their game. That is part of the disruptive improvement that we are going to bring to the world of learning.
In the meantime, we have raised funds from an inspirational group of investors, which keeps the servers running and the creative team expanding in the meantime.
How can I create a course?
To create a course go to http://www.memrise.com/course/create. Alternatively, to find out more about the course creation tools before you dive in, go to the course creation manual http://www.memrise.com/documentation/course-creation/
What's a mem?
A mem is anything that helps you learn a new connection between a word and its meaning.
A mem might be a photo, a mnemonic, a video, a cartoon, an example sentence, an etymology or perhaps a witty remark. Anything goes, so long as it’s relatively brief and enriches your learning.
Learning on Memrise is all about imaginative, real-world richness, fun and exploration. By adding your mems to Memrise, you enrich everyone else's learning at the same time as enriching your own.
What makes for a really good mem?
Like all great creations, great mems are concise and vigorous. They evoke an emotion. They amuse, inspire or enlighten. They make learning fun.
We will be creating more materials to help with this very soon.
Do I get any credit for making Mems?
You certainly do. We track how many people use your mems, how successful they are in helping people remember, and how often people interact with them lovingly. Lots more rewards are on the way!
Does the Memrise garden have any historical precedents?
Good question. The notion of the mind as a garden to be cultivated does indeed have a long history. The Latin word for page, “pagina”, also meant “a row of vines joined together”. Learning from a page was like harvesting the grapes from a vine; indeed, the word for to read in Latin, “legere”, connotes “picking”, “harvesting” and “collecting”.
Hugh of St. Victor, a great 11th century monk and innovator in memory techniques, conceived of memory as a pilgrimage through the vineyard of the text (think: information) towards Paradise, which he conceived of as a garden. That’s a little stronger than how we think of our garden, but same sort of story all the same.
Organic metaphors do not always lean towards gardens, however. Stuart Hampshire, in Innocence and Experience (1989, p.121) talks of memory as a compost heap in which 'all the organic elements, one after another as they are added, interpenetrate each other and help to form a mixture in which the original ingredients are scarcely distinguishable, each ingredient being at least modified, even transformed, by later ingredients'.
What is the science behind Memrise?
Memrise improves your ability to learn vocabulary by adding three powerful ingredients to normal flashcards.
We have mnemonics- vivid images that link words to their meanings. These lead to deeper processing, more long-lasting retention and better motivation. Such mnemonics have been scientifically shown to do as much as triple long term retention e.g (Raugh and Atkinson, 1975).
Memrise reminds you of everything you have learned according to an optimized schedule, to help you review what you have learned as efficiently as possible. The reminders- initially very close together- space out more and more, as the strength and health of your memories gradually increases.
Memrise quizzes you in various ways as you progress, in a scientifically determined fashion that helps strengthen your memories in the most efficient and long-lasting fashion possible. Actively recalling a memory is among the most powerful ways of strengthening knowledge.
There's lots more going on behind the scenes, but these are the things you want to know about!
- Vivid encoding
I have found an error in a course - what do I do?
If you leave a comment in the forums for the course, then you can let the course creator know directly if you spot any problems or if you don't understand something - or if you just want to say, "hi!" and "thanks for the great course!".
I want to learn a language, but I can't find a beginner's course for it on Memrise.
One of our dreams is that there should be exceptional quality courses to help anyone learn any language.
Accordingly we have put a lot of work into helping people to use the Memrise structure as effectively as possible. There are a couple of strands to this:
Our testing has shown that the ideal length for an introductory course is around 20 - 25 vocabulary levels, each teaching 5 - 15 words and phrases, and 2 - 5 levels that each teach a single grammatical or cultural idea through a slideshow. That structure gives enough real progress to give a real sense of progress, and good base for further study, whilst never feeling too heavy and getting boring.
Based on our findings, we have designed a "template" course. This is a loose template: each language has very different requirements for what is important to learn, so each beginner's course will have different content. This template gives a starting point though, and will make sure that you at least consider including all of the words that are important to know in most languages.
We have found that people create the best courses when they can work together in small teams of people with slightly different skill sets. So we help you to put together a team of people to build your course. Ideally teams will have at least three members:
At the core of each team is at least one "enthusiast" who wants to learn the language and gets the whole process going.Their job is to make sure that everything is explained in the way that a new learner will understand it, and enjoy learning it. They also need to keep the course oozing with their own enthusiasm for learning the language.
The expert is usually a native speaker. They make the important choices over which levels from the template course should be included, and exactly which words are the best to learn. They can also record audio for the course and check it over for accuracy.
Every course needs good mems. The mem maker might be an artist or an animator… or they might just be someone with a wicked sense of humour, a glorious imagination and a bit of skill at image searching. Either way, their input is crucial to creating a rich learning experience.
If you fit one or more of these of these roles, then please email me at email@example.com and I can link you up with other people to get a team started!
- The enthusiast
What if I find a bug?
A "bug" is essentially when the programming goes wrong. You might see it as a button that doesn't click, or a page that doesn't load.
Memrise is developing very fast, and we are a small team. We do everything we can to make sure that no bugs make it out onto the live site, but mistakes do happen.
It is HUGELY appreciated if you can report such bugs by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with "the title "BUG REPORT", and we will get them fixed as fast as is humanly possible. In your bug report it would be amazing if you could include:
- Which browser you are using
- The url of the page that you have had trouble with (the url is the text in the address bar of your browser that starts "http://www.memrise.com")
- Your username
Why does Memrise accepts answers without the correct accents?
Language courses (usually) mark leniently on accents. This is due to the varying requirements of different people learning in different situations: it can be very demotivating to be forced to click the buttons to type the correct accents, particularly if you are more concerned with pronouncing the words correctly than with spelling them correctly.
There is a course database setting that allows strict typing mode to be turned on—this enforces every character being correct though, on case as well, so may not be suitable for every language course.
What if I find a mistake in a course?
Course creators generally make huge efforts to make sure all the words and definitions in their courses are correct, but if you do find an error, please do leave a comment on the forum of the course to let them know, and they will either spring into action to make the edit, or explain why they don't think it should be edited.
I want a Memrise Mobile app - where is it!?
There used to be a Memrise beta iphone app that went along with the Memrise beta website. Now that we have launched the Memrise 1.0 site, the Memrise beta app has been retired.
But the Memrise will be back in the app store soon, and better than ever!
We will have a first, bite-sized little gem of an iphone app out before Christmas, which will be light-weight beginner's language learning app that is already looking sensational.
As well as that, we are working flat out to get the cross-platform Memrise 1.0 mobile app built. This is going to be much more than a mobile version of the website: it will give an authentically mobile learning experience, leveraging the features that are uniquely mobiles to break your learning down into ever more manageable chunks, and to help you slot your learning into spare bits of time throughout your day: that is how learning can happen most effectively.
It will take a little while yet to get this finished, because it is such a big step up. But it will be on all platforms, and it will be worth the wait!
How can I change the kinds of tests that I see?
We will soon be adding in a tool to let you control the way that you are tested in the next learning session - all multiple choice, all typing, or just presentations, with no tests. This is high on the priority list and will be there soon.