Wokabulary is an iPhone app about which I cannot speak without enthusiasm. Being an English a Foreign Language major myself, I spent endless hours by learning words by having little cards in front of me with the English word on one side and its meaning on the other. I picked a card, read the word, told its meaning and in case I knew the meaning I dropped the card. I could not even dream of doing it in an easier, more sophisticated way. But Wokabulary made me surprised.
Wokabulary is a tiny little piece of software based on the card technique I mentioned above. It gives the user little quizzes of words, so they can check their performance, which is, believe me, can be vital for an exam. It is very easy to add new words to the existing list (it is able to read CSV files), and the words can be tagged and grouped to form thematic lists like “traveling” or “learning”.
To the top of all, Wokabulary has a clever little trick. It can assign difficulty levels to your words based on the user’s former answers. More difficult and newly added words are asked more often than those which were in the system for long.
Using this technique to learn is a good idea in many ways. For first, it is easy to test if we managed to learn a certain list of words or we just remember the order of them in a our vocabulary booklets. (True story…) Secondly, it provides kind of an active type of learning instead of looking at two columns of words on a page. Thirdly, it is fast and portable, so it helps saving time by allowing the user to learn actively while travelling, queuing or waiting for the bus.
Wokabulary has a clear and simple design, which makes it suitable for classroom use as well. Moreover, the app allow screen splitting, enabling you to multitask your iPad (which is, in fact, sometimes good to your memory).
Although this app is great thing when it comes to learning languages at school, there are, of course limits which you shall know. Learning words from lists mostly provide you passive knowledge: when a world is seen in a text, the reader recognizes its meaning, but cannot use it actively. Tis app is not the best in this aspect, since it is not able to show the world in context, e.g. in a sentence or a short conversation. It is also a pity that it cannot get the word voiced: hearing the pronunciation would help a lot in learning the words properly. However, it seems that this function was sacrificed for letting the user adding new examples.
Despite of all the weaker points, Wokabulary iOS app is cool for those who want a simple, time efficient and fast method for learning. It supports multitasking, works cleverly, provides motivation – and helps a lot in performing well at tests and exams.