I don’t have a terrible memory, but I do struggle to memorize information. My brain works better with systems than small bits. This is a problem for many of the types of information one needs to be familiar with to be a midwife (or other birth worker).
To help me memorize, I have started to use some digital flashcards. I have found there is truth to the theory that repetition is the key to memorizing information. So I make my flashcards and go through them over and over and over.
I have two programs I have used, they work a bit differently and each has some advantages. I can’t say one is better than the other, but one might work better for you.
The first I tried was Mnemosyne. This is a free program that allows you to make flashcards that you rate as you work through them. For example, a flashcard that completely stumps you would be rated a “0” and would be shown more frequently than a flashcard you remember pretty well and rate a “4”. In all there are five levels to rate a card. The other trick to Mnemosyne is that it sets the cards up to give you a specific number to work on each day – so you can have the daily repetition without being overwhelmed, and there is an emphasis on the cards you do not know well.
Mnemosyne is compatible with smart phones, but the connection is through sync. You make a selection about what groups of cards to send to your phone, and then send them. While the cards are on your phone, they continue to be tracked in terms of your proficiency. You can also export your groups of cards to share with others.
I loved the way Mnemosyne knew how often I needed to see cards – it really helped me to master information to see difficult cards over and over. I also loved that the cards were always available to me, so if I was waiting to pick up my kids I could work on my cards.
I did not like the way Mnemosyne couldn’t handle having the cards on the computer and the phone at the same time. If I had cards on my phone, I couldn’t make flashcards in class without breaking the sync and losing some of the mastery data associated with the cards on my phone. I also couldn’t go through the flashcards on the computer if I had some on my phone without losing some of the mastery data.
The other thing that always bothered me was the small volume of cards Mnemosyne would assign for each day. I usually had a week to memorize the information for a quiz, and couldn’t take the amount of time Mnemosyne recommended to get through the hundreds of cards I made. This was a problem when I was using the phone, because the only cards sent to the phone are the cards scheduled for the next few days. To get more I needed to connect to the computer and resync.
Overall, Mnemosyne worked well for me. I did adjust to having to deal with getting new cards frequently, and didn’t have a problem only making cards on my computer.
Tomorrow, I’ll share about the other digital flash card program I used.
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