Five Open Source Flash Card Apps to Make Rote Learning Easier

by Ostatic Staff - Sep. 14, 2009

Chances are, when you've needed to learn something by rote memorization you've turned to flash cards (multiplication tables, anyone?). There are plenty of ways to learn things that require instant recall but few are as effective as flash cards. The next time you need to memorize a bunch of facts, give one of these desktop and mobile open source flash cards applications a try.

Anki - In addition to running on a desktop, you can also use this app on portable devices like mobile phones and the iPod touch. It synchronizes across multiple machines so you can pick up right where you left off, and lets you share card decks so several people can access the same information at once. Instead of predefined styles, Anki allows users to input data in many ways and generate several different views of the same information.

jMemorize - This app features a progress chart to keep you motivated, comes in several languages, and even lets you attach images to each card. jMemorize lets you assign categories to your data and keeps stats on how well you're learning. If you decide to print out your flashcards, simply export your data in XML, CSV, RTF, or PDF format.

Pauker - Available in nine languages, Pauker is a basic but effective flash card app. Dozens of card decks are available for free download, including geography, pharmacology, vocabulary, and computer-related acronyms. If you want to take your lessons on the go, then check out MiniPauker for mobile devices.

Genius - Here's a little flash card app for Mac OS X that's designed with a big purpose. Genius "exists to enrich the creative commons [and] to elevate rationality with social-environmental responsibility. Ultimately, it aims to increase the level of cognition and compassion in humans -- not computers." Really, what else is there to add to that description?

Vocabulary Cards for Palm OS - This app was designed specifically for learning foreign language vocabulary on a Palm OS handheld device. It has two teaching methods -- drill and learn -- that help reinforce words until they become second-nature. If you're not learning a foreign language, this app is still useful for memorizing other types of information because it lets you switch easily between vocabulary and general flash card mode.

Flickr image courtesy of guy schmidt.