Wednesday, 21 January 2015

vocBlocks and your Foreign Language Journey: a Smarter Way to Travel

So, you have decided to learn a foreign language? Brilliant! It's a rewarding and exciting journey! Though at the beginning it might not seem as such. Like a mountaineer you face a challenge of climbing up the mountain before you are able to enjoy the view from the top. And not the least of this challenge is learning loads of new words and phrases, the more of which you know the more you understand and the more rewarding and exciting your foreign language journey becomes. And it's the early stage when it's the easiest to give up as the volume of unknown vocabulary is just overwhelming and the amount of time needed to memorise it seems much larger than you can actually afford to spend on it.

Luckily there's different software available like our vocBlocks (i.e. “vocabulary blocks” that's what we called mini dictionaries with words and phrases organised by topic, e.g. supermarket, car, human body etc.) which helps you learn words and phrases easier and quicker thus saving a lot of your time and energy for more advanced exercises in reading, writing, listening and speaking which you'll need to do to learn a foreign language.

So, vocBlocks is not a magic tool that guarantees you learn a foreign language but it does help you structure and automate your vocabulary learning and thus build your vocabulary quickly and efficiently so you will not give up on learning a foreign language so easily ;)

Check out the video to see how it works! It's VERY simple: you take a ready vocBlock or create your own and send it to Memoriser to learn.

If the foreign language you have chosen is English we thought it would be handy for you to have some ready vocBlocks (see the video) so you could start learning some English vocabulary right away. Most ready vocBlocks include pictures and sound so it won't be boring, we promise! We are constantly working on adding new ready vocBlocks and welcome any suggestions! If a ready vocBlock you like contains too detailed vocabulary or needs some to be added to it, you can easily edit your copy of this vocBlock before you start learning it.

Also check out shared vocBlocks created by the site users. You might find a vocBlock in a language and on a topic you need so you won't have to create your  own from scratch. You can also share your own awesome vocBlocks via our site! Just tick the box “share with other users” in the vocBlock settings and tell your friends they can check it out in the Shared vocBlocks section on our site. If you are a teacher, we are sure your students will appreciate this easy way of sharing your information with them.

Creating your own vocBlocks cannot be easier: just go to My vocBlocks, click “New” and start adding words and phrases to it. The built in dictionary will save you looking up and typing in transcription and translation for your entries and you can format your text the way you like it: choose colours, fonts, font sizes, etc. to make certain entries stand out or colour code entries within a vocBlock. You can attach pictures and sound to your entries to make learning them more effective and fun!

If you already have lists of words and phrases or you'd like to use ones from Lingvo Tutor, why not import them to create new vocBlocks? You'll then have all your vocabulary organised in one tool. And you can keep adding words and phrases on the go whenever and wherever you need: while you are out and about via your mobile, when you are at home watching TV or reading a book via your tablet or at office via your laptop or desktop - all you need is internet connection and that awesome word or phrase you want to learn! See a quick video on how to create your own vocBlocks.

Stuck in traffic? Waiting in a queue? Use every spare minute to learn your vocBlocks quicker. Choose “multiple choice” question and “word → translation” direction for your memoriser unit if you are just starting to learn these words or “free type” question and “translation → word” direction if you feel quite confident, and run memoriser sessions till the words are ticked off by the tool as learnt :)

If the vocBlock you are memorising has difficult words in it and you want to spend more time learning them to make sure you know them well, you can make your memoriser sessions longer by increasing the number of correct answers per word and/or number of words in a memoriser session. For recap learning sessions, choose more than one vocBlock you have been learning to include into a memoriser unit and you'll have a mixture of words from different vocBlocks as a final challenge.

Get organised and plan ahead your learning by setting the start and end dates and times and choosing repeat pattern (hourly, daily, every weekday, every other day etc.) with the email reminders sent to you from the tool to keep you on track. There's a short video on how it works.

We wish you a happy foreign language journey. You have a high mountain to climb there but the view at the top is magnificent! Hope you'll find vocBlocks helpful to take you there quicker, with less effort and more fun!