Ed Cooke: Memrise Founder's Story

From cognitive science nerd and memory champion... to turning language learning into a fun and fast game, tailored to real-life interactions. Hear Ed Cooke's Memrise founder's story.


Ed Cooke is a cognitive science and memory expert, and a big believer in the power of language.

Funnily enough, these interests came together to inspire Memrise. The language learning app combines videos of real native speakers with memory-enhancing tech to transform learning languages from a boring classroom discipline... into a fun and addictive game.



Ed Cooke on founding Memrise:

Before Memrise, Ed Cooke made his name as one of the world’s best memorisers at The World Memory Championships. In fact, he was awarded the title ‘Grand Master of Memory’ for memorising the order of 10 decks of cards in an hour, a random 1000-digit number in an hour, and a deck of cards in under a minute at The World Memory Championships. Impressive... you might say.

Despite this, Ed insists he’s not a genius; he just loves making things fun. His passion for cognitive science, memory and entertaining learning drove him across the UK to teach people to learn faster using his best memory techniques. During which, Ed realised that:

  • Learning languages has become boring, charmless and unadventurous. Fixated on rules rather than real-world competency.

  • My memory techniques can turn anyone into a genius!

That’s why he created ‘the ultimate language learning system’ – using memory techniques to create a fun and fast learning algorithm for acquiring languages. Traditional language textbooks and classroom learning were set aside to make way for an outrageously fun language learning game: Memrise.

Founded in 2010 with co-founder Ben Whately, Memrise has developed into ‘The world’s most entertaining language learning app’. Today, close to 60 million people from 189 countries can testify to that fact as they learn over 20 languages on the Memrise App and website.


What's so good about Memrise?

Memrise uses online language immersion to push learners to acquire words and phrases they can use in real life interactions with people.

By using over 50,000 video and audio clips of native speakers in different scenarios, Memrise gives you the fullest immersive language experience other than living in the country of the language you want to learn.


‘To teach language in a way that is genuinely motivating, rich and interesting and fun…You have to connect with much more than the words and phrases. You’ve got to connect with the people, the culture, the places...’

Ed Cooke 


Saying just one word in someone’s native tongue forms an instinct emotional connection to that person. That’s why Memrise encourages you to acquire language you can use in real life (it sounds obvious... but most language teaching overlooks this) Connect with locals. Uncover and explore cultures. Meet the world.

The result is a fast, efficient and fun way to get proficient in a new language. With Memrise, learning is like a ‘recreational sport’, not a burden. 


The Memrise language courses are driven by people’s interest in order to help them acquire language to use in the real world.


‘When we’re enchanted by the outside world, we can pick up enormous amounts of information incredibly fast.’


What are you waiting for? Remind yourself of how fun learning can be. Pick out your perfect language today.

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