Learning French really isn’t very complicated:
Ce n’est pas sorcier.It’s not rocket science.
But it is a big project and that can be daunting. So one of the main challenges can be managing your workflow.
Perfect your ability to learn just one thing and you’ll unlock the ability to learn many things.
An online tool that can help you with this is Trello. It’s intuitive to use and has a free edition.
Trello is a tool for breaking projects down into small achievable tasks, written on cards. These cards then pass from list to list as work on them progresses. On the left of your board is a Backburner list with all the tasks you can possibly imagine. From the Backburner, you move cards to your Priority list. The cards continue their journey from left to right until they are Completed.
This Kanban method of organisation was developed in the Japanese car industry in the 1950s. Today it’s very widely adopted, particularly in the IT sector. Trello alone has 50 million users.
Kanban for vocabulary building
The Kanban method is very well suited to vocabulary building. Create a Trello board with five lists: Backburner, Priority, Wrong, Right and Banked.
As you progress with your studies, using the materials on this site or through everyday contact with French, when you come across a word or phrase that you’d like to add to your repertoire, create a card on Trello and add it to your Backburner. Make the title of the card a clue and the description of the card the expression you wish to retain.
Each day, move a couple of Backburner cards to your Priority list. Run through your cards. If you can recall the expression correctly move the card to the Right column, if not move it to the Wrong column.
You need to come back to your cards regularly to check whether expressions you’ve learned have actually stuck in your memory. If they’ve been forgotten, you need to move the card back from the Right to the Wrong column. Only when a card has been in the Right column for several weeks should you drag it into the Banked list.
Why this method works
- Returning to knowledge repeatedly over time is the way it enters our long term active memory.
- By building your own lists, you will ensure you remain tightly focused on words and expressions you want to acquire.
- Trello’s ease of use gives it the edge over dedicated flashcard applications such as Quizlet and Anki
Give it a try and see for yourself