Why Custom Flashcards are the Most Effective Study Method
Whether you’re learning how to spell or learning phonics in elementary school, memorizing the periodic table in high school chemistry, or learning Spanish vocabulary words in college, flashcards are an extremely effective way to learn.
There’s a reason flashcards have withstood the test of time: they work. Teachers can use them in school to introduce new topics and students can make custom flashcards on their own to study at home. Either way, flashcards help students learn and retain information.
Keep reading to learn why custom flashcards are so effective and why you should incorporate them into your (or your children’s) next study session.
- They Are Portable and Easy to Create
Flashcards can go anywhere with you. Waiting for an appointment? Pull out your flashcards. Going on vacation? Throw them in your suitcase. Not only are they portable, but you also don’t need the Internet, a charged phone, or an electronic device to use them.
You can also make them yourself pretty easily. You can make basic old school flash cards with index cards and a pen or you can get fancy and make them on your computer with this best free online flashcards maker app.
- You Can Create Games with Them
If you want to keep things basic, you can play a simple game of “flip and reveal” or you can get creative. You can make a memory game, set up sub-groups of flashcards, or even separate them into “know” and “don’t know” piles to really enhance your learning.
The sky is the limit here and that’s the beauty of flashcards. They’re simple by versatile.
- They Engage Active Recall
Active recall is a study technique where you ask yourself questions and then answer them, which reinforces your understanding of the material. To engage in the active recall, you should ask yourself a question, give yourself time to come up with an answer, answer the question (or don’t, if you don’t know), and then repeat this process. If you can’t answer the question, you should revisit the material.
The great part about the active recall is that you can use it any time: immediately after learning a concept, days later, or even weeks later as you are getting ready to study for an exam. Your custom flashcards will help you remember the different concepts and terms you should be asking yourself.
- They Allow You to Use Metacognition
When you use active recall to answer the questions and then check if you are correct, you’re engaging in metacognition, which is the act of self-reflection. Basically, metacognition allows you to evaluate your own thought process.
You can evaluate how closely your answer was to the correct answer or how far off it was.
Custom Flashcards Are the Way to Go
There’s plenty of anecdotal evidence that custom flashcards are an effective learning tool, but they’re also lots of empirical evidence that they work as well.
If you find yourself struggling to learn new concepts or to help your children understand what they’re learning in school, give flashcards a go. Decades of research tell us they work.
Check out some of the other resources on our blog for digital or more interactive learning techniques.