I’ve been aware of and have occasionally used Anki since it came out 15 years ago. Some folks are put off by the bare/crude design, but I never cared too much about that. What did put me off was the enormous number of settings, and frustration with it wanting to delay cards to far into the future. But really, I was just lazy to learn the program, which is why I gave up so many times.

Fast forward to 2021 and I found an entirely new use for it: reading drills for the kids. This time around I actually read about the scheduling algorithm and settings, and made a few tweaks to better suit a child just learning to read. It has been working great. Each kid has their own decks, and we’ve been tuning the amount of new materially per day to a level that is both productive but not overwhelming. The highlights:

  • There is a definite “done” point each day. The screen says “Congratulations!” and we’re done drilling.
  • The kids get into the metrics. They know well what new/learning/review cards are, and understand how the ones they struggle within keep coming back.
  • They get into the choice of whether something they got right was “hard”, “good” or “easy”.
  • They like the stats and graphs.

Now I have a renewed interest in Anki for my own learning.