The absolute best way to study vocabulary

drops_round icon_200x200Hello everyone,

I hope you all had a great and relaxed Easter. And it’s not completely over yet because today you’ll get kind of a late Easter egg. No, not this.  Today we’ll take a look at an app for studying vocabulary. Is it the really the best ever? Of course not, I just said because it’s a catchy headline. But the app has a really great concept.  So let’s take a look.

“Studying vocabulary”… ugh. Booooooring. Learning vocabulary sucks and almost everybody hates it. But it is quite important for learning a language and there are many tools and apps out there try to help with it. One of them is Drops.

 

Drops – learning vocabulary with a twist

Drops is an free app for studying vocabulary. The vocabulary is provided by the app and for every word there is an illustration so you’re not bound to one word translations and it offers various modes for the studying like typing the word, or ordering syllables or – and I really like this one –  you are shown the word as well as a super blurry image which you can sharpen by swiping over it with your finger. So you can bit by bit uncover the image and see how quickly you can recognize it.
Now, all this is nice but it’s nothing special and most of it is part of other language apps and programs, too.

But Drops is different in one very crucial way!

You can have the best learning software out there… it won’t help the users if they only use it once a week for a short amount of time. So one of the main challenges for language learning software is to engage the user.  With fun little games, and motivational emails, and rewards, and extortion.

“Hey Unicornmaster80, you had better study your deck today.You wouldn’t want your naked selfies on your Facebook timeline, would you?!

Well, okay… I haven’t seen an app that does THAT yet. But they all try really really really hard to get you to use them a lot.
Not Drops.
Drops  lets you use it 5 minutes per day and then it’s essentially like “That’s it dude. Come back tomorrow.” And then that’s it. You cannot use the app anymore that day.
And that plays with one phenomenon about human nature: things we can’t or don’t have are much more interesting than the ones we do have.
Like… women will find you much more attractive if you have a girlfriend. And you’re much more likely to buy something if it is “for a limited time only” or  if there are “only 10 left”.

Drops uses this mechanism in a language learning app and I have to say… it is pretty damn genius!

Instead of being like “Hey, come on. Use me. Why don’t you use me a little longer. Hey, hey, I’m fun. Come on. Here, have a cool lingot.” like a desperate single asking for a date, Drops is like “I don’t care how much fun you’re having. After 5 minutes it’s over!” like me in bed…oh… wait, fo…forget that last bit, please.
So yeah… that’s what’s special about Drops. Drops limits your access. In fact, they’re even so bold as to make you PAY for extra time. DAMN! Someone paying to be allowed to study vocabulary … that sounds crazy.But I don’t think it’s completely unrealistic either. The pull of an app that won’t let you use it might be very strong an actually make you it app everyday.
Reverse psychology style.
And that’s why I think it’s really worth checking out. Oh… and it’s completely free … unless you want more than 5 minutes :)

drops-screenshot

Drops at iStore      Drops Website 
(there’ not much to see on the website, so maybe just go to the store right away)

And  I’d love to hear your thoughts about Drops. How do you like the idea of it? And if you’ve try it, does it work for you? Does it make you want to use the app? And how’s the handling?
I’m really curious because… I never even tried the app.
Yeah… laziest reviews ever :).
Nah… I don’t have an iPhone, so that’s the main reason I didn’t try it. I just immediately loved the idea when I heard about it.
You know… there are those things where you basically know that they’re good as soon as you hear the concept. Like payed vacation. Or sex.
So… I’m really looking forward to your thoughts on this. And also, if you have other cool apps let us know what they do and why they’re cool.
I’m out for now, have a great week and bis nächstes Mal :).

for members :)

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Gabi
Gabi

I don’t have an IPhone either but I assume it can be done on my computer. if so, I will be trying it. it would be nice if it comes with the gender. so not Buch but das Buch. because that’s where I’m weakest.

DantesDame

No gender?? That’s half the part of learning vocabulary!!!

Daniel Marrero
Daniel Marrero

They need to have an Android version.

Aoin D

I don’t have an iPhone either. It sounds fun and looks attractive (so why not?) however just 5 minutes a day sounds a bit of a tease and like it could be a slow way of attaining a wide vocabulary. I’m about halfway through the 5,000 word German pack on the Memrise android app and that’s taken me 3 months averaging two hours practice a day. It appeals to my competitive streak as it gives out points for practising and ranks you alongside the other users that week / month / since forever. It features lots of user generated aide-memoire content, much of it pictorial. The thing that drums it into the skull is the speed test – five-minute time-limited tests of 100 words with bonus points for getting to the end. Saying all that, if they brought out Drops on Google Play I’d definitely get it in addition just to break things up a bit.

Anonymous
Anonymous

This sounds great, but I don’t have an iPhone. I do have an iPod I use to listen to podcasts in German. When I have a chance, I’ll check to see if there is a way I can use Drops on my iPod.

Daniel Farkas

You can use Drops on ipad though the proper ipad design optimization is yet to come.

JackR
JackR

Im was going to a language school when I was in berlin and learned there more then with an app.
Maybe Im the type to learn in groups much better :D. I learned here (http://www.speakeasysprachzeug.de/en/evening-courses-german) in the evening.

Daniel Farkas

Ladies and Gents, Daniel here, we created Drops. Let me reply to the questions.
@gabi: it’s mobile only for now and @DantesDame yes, nouns in Drops come with “gender” :)

Android version is in the pipeline but not expected before the summer.

Gabi
Gabi

awwww. but thx for answering my question.

Chuck Gleaves
Chuck Gleaves

I downloaded it today. For someone who knows perhaps zero to one hundred words in German it might be nice. The glacial speed of five minutes a day would either try the patience of anyone familiar enough with German to find your newsletter interesting or cost them a lot of money. For example, “abhängen” is neither on the horizon nor even likely.

Brightstar
Brightstar

I find Drops far too basic and there isn’t a way to get to a higher level. Progress would be far too slow at the app’s pace.
As you have already the software to connect letters I’d say that it could be modified to connect words. Word connection could be done based on subject for instance: house could connect with various rooms or could connect with various building types or with specific expressions like zu Haus oder nach House etc.
In its current form I’m not interested in Drops.

Daniel Farkas

Thanks for the word connectting suggestion, definitely on our list!

Anonymous
Anonymous

Don’t use apple, I have android phone. When is there going to be an app in the google play store?

John
John

For now, I create flash cards with the free software Anki. The front of the card is usually a short sentence in English. The back of the card is an idiomatic German translation with words I want to learn. I have to know some grammar, the German words, their genders, declension, conjugation, etc. to guess correctly what’s on the back of the card. If I immediately get it right, I click Easy. Otherwise, I click Hard. Anki shows the hard cards more often than the easy ones. Creating the cards is helpful as well as testing myself on them later.

Defiant European
Defiant European

What happened in Brussels? Did Trump kill anyone there?

You are just a snivelling little cuck addicted to virtue signalling.

botbot
botbot

But is it open source?

Chuck Gleaves
Chuck Gleaves

Dear Mr. Defiant: I have been thinking about that word “cuck” you used. I’m not familiar with it, but I have concluded it is a misspelling of a Middle English word for deficate, or its short for cuckold. Based on your sentence structure, I am guessing you are not clever enough to resort to Middle English for your profanity, so I am going to go with “cuckold”. Now, I find that a strange epithet. It’s like saying, “you sniveling little victim of you wife’s infidelities”. A strange choice of an insult.

Herr Dr Ahmed
Herr Dr Ahmed

Können Sie bitte “also” erläutern? Und darüber hinaus einen post machen über die heimliche Weise um Zeichen der maskulin und die feminine zu unterzeichnen?

Anonymous
Anonymous

Zwischen

mpferrig
mpferrig

I tried the app and agree with the comment above that it would be helpful for those starting out in the language.
One thing I didn’t see here was the tip that dict.cc offers for $0.99 a year extra features which include flash cards for any word found in their dictionary. I have found this feature invaluable, and use almost all of my U-bahn time reviewing the latest batch of German words that I can never quite seem to memorize…sigh….

Herr Dr Ahmed
Herr Dr Ahmed

I meant how to distinguish between genders and trying to memorize every word with its gender doesn’t work! Isn’t there some secret way to distinguish between them? That’s my only remaining problem with German, well that and the fact that I have zero practice lol.

Herr Dr Ahmed
Herr Dr Ahmed

Yeah I knew it was a long shot, but thanks for the pep talk it did help raise my spirit

Alan
Alan

I am going to regret asking this but what do you do with the keypad/letter quiz bit. No matter what I do I get the angry red cross bit for that part of the process. Bin ich Dick?
Steady with the answer please!

Daniel Farkas

Thanks for the question, Alan, there is nothing to regret. If it’s not straightforward, then the current ux is not good enough. If you are referring to the micro-game where you have letters thrown on the screen and popping sometimes, then you have to tap and swipe-pull the letters in the right order into the box on the bottom. If you are refering to the the game where you have seemingly random letters in tidy order, then you have to connect the letters in the right sequence (you have to look for the word of the illustration on top) with one continous swipe. Hope that helps, if not, scream! :)

Herr Dr Ahmed
Herr Dr Ahmed

I have a question, in the sentence die Firma widerruft alle defekten Produkte. Why is it defekten and not defekte? It doesn’t have an article so the plural accusative has an a for plural,Or is alle produkte genitive?