Byki makes the flash card experience more fun
Byki (stands for “Before You Know It,”) is a free (premium version available) language-learning application. The software uses a clever combination of animated flash cards and robust gamification, which involves the learner in a multi-sensory vocabulary-building experience.
Download the free version of the application after choosing from an array of 67 languages — Afrikaans to Zulu — and start right in with the basics of situational vocabulary learning, common phrases, asking directions, etc. The gamification element is what makes experience especially unique:
Students who need to memorize terms — vocabulary, definitions, etc. — know the value of flash cards. You write the term on one side of the card and its definition or translation on the other. Byki starts with animated, pop-up flash cards, shuffles them and displays them for learning drills:
Step 1 – You preview the cards, both sides. Your vocabulary is broken into distinct groups of cards. You just view and study them.
Step 2 – You begin self-testing by seeing the foreign word, press the “Flash Card” button and see the translation. Percentage meters for the step and for the vocabulary list track your progress as you report your frequency of correct answers. Whatever you report as incorrect shows up in increasing frequency as the program flashes additional flash cards during that session.
Step 3 – You run through Step 2, but this time you enter the response from your keyboard. This step is relatively easy when translating from the foreign language to English, but gets rather challenging as the process is reversed.
Once you have mastered the vocabulary list through extensive flash card drills, Byki takes you through an array of reinforcement and some interesting matching games. The latter includes games called “Concentration” and “Four Square.”
Concentration consists two groups of nine hidden terms with the English vocabulary terms on the left and hidden matching foreign terms on the right. It’s a simple matching game with two levels of challenge: knowing which cards match and remembering their position. Four Square has fewer cards to match, but the goal is the same.
Finally, the “Word Whirl” offers an almost Zen-like review experience where selected groups of words float in a cloud array, stop and present both sides of the flash card terms. As they pause you hear a sound recording in English and the selected foreign language.
Byki is a great example of how gamification reinforces and makes learning fun. Whatever your learning style, the flash cards and self-testing combine with progress tracking and time-tested ways of teaching that makes this gamification-rich application worth downloading.