But I can't help but think it could be a lot better, a lot more efficient, perhaps even 2x more. Anki allows you to customise many aspects of when cards are shown. But presumably those settings can be tuned for a individual, a subject, or even a card. One person probably doesn't have enough data to know what would be most efficient, so they guess, or stay with the defaults.
Part of this is due to the lack of data - and the privacy concerns that would accompany Anki harvesting it all and feeding it to a machine learning system. But if an SRS system were recommended by and developed by a national curriculum, I suspect it could be a lot cleverer and more efficient.
As one example, consider if you had to learn the translations of 2 words. And students often got them confused. Then perhaps getting one wrong should also prompt a test of the other, or indeed maybe it should delay the test of the other? Who knows...
Instead of thinking in the target language, your mind will create strong associations with the words in your original language and make it difficult to think in the target language by always having to refer to the original language. A better task design would be receiving images and coming up with the word in the target language.
Learning words by translation is totally fine. The point is not to use this as your ONLY learning method. You use it to SEED words. Once you know like 5000 words, you will be able to read books and also look up words in same-language dictionaries. But still learning more words with translation still should work well as long as you get 90% or so of your language exposure without translation. Learning words is just a tiny part of the task.
The advantage of images is first of all that visual cues are very powerful for memory, the more senses you associate with a memory the stronger it will be (I wonder if anyone has ever tried to incorporate smells into SRS?). Furthermore, it is not always easy to find a decent image but the mere search for this image will make your brain work with that word in mind and create associations.
Granted, it is not easy to find images for words such as "philosophy" but with a bit of creativity it is possible and if not, it's always possible to explain the target word in the target language to stay immersed.
It is doable. There is a book called Lingua Latina per se Illustrata that does it for Latin. I have to admit that it has some limits. At some point you want to go back to using your mother tongue. English is not my first language. I live in the UK everything I read is in English. There are some words I have seen a thousand times and I sort of know what they mean but they become mine only after I look up for their translation.
It is an interesting point. When you first learn words in your mother tongue, you don't do it by outside reference to another language. Why is it different for you when learning a second language?
This is required, to some degree, to become fluent (i.e. intuitive) in a new language too, which is why there is an emphasis on immersion/input in most language-learning circles/ideologies. But when you have an explicit goal, you're more likely to be compelled to want the mental shortcut/jumpstart that a translation provides. There's also the fact that, as a language learner, the context itself often isn't understood very well (or at all), which makes the natural process even slower. This is where the idea of "comprehensible input" comes into it, see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Input_hypothesis
I'm writing my own knowledge base / SRS system and i'd like to start from a mostly fresh dog-food-esque approach. I want to try and record information in such a way that it has the meat of that byte of memory, but pair it with something that could be used to trigger that memory-byte - like your image example.
In the end i'm sure it won't be a revolution, but nevertheless i'm hoping to find ways to bridge knowledge store & retention (ala SRS/etc).
I'm also quite interested in areas of learning. Eg i expect/desire to store far more information than i can retain. So i want a system that can help me move areas of knowledge based on my ability (or time availability) to retain.
Duolingo open-sourced a data set and a model for learning the best time to present ideas for review; however, the model seems to be extremely limited and I could not get it to work at all.
I think the best open source solution here is Ebisu: https://github.com/fasiha/ebisu. It uses a custom statistical model which incorporates the idea of memory half-life, which is supported by learning research.
There's no point in learning the sentences if you haven't sufficiently mastered the vocabulary, so what if the app showed you the sentence cards only if it has determined that you've learned the word cards sufficiently?
Just to restate what you said, adding nothing. Imagine you had Anki for a similar cohort studying a coherent single course. You’ll be able to get a sense of what topics confuse everyone and what correlation there are in confusion. If you had trouble with X, then you need extra guidance on A & B.
do problems, say in math, map to concepts? students don’t know concepts? Or is it more subtle?
I found it very disappointing when Duolingo released their paper on optimizing their global SRS on data they collected from the users. There was no context, only curve fitting for a better multipler of fail and success.
I use Anki for more than a decade, and every single time there is a touch of frustration that Anki UX stuck in mid-2000.
Another super annoying feature is that historically Anki is free except iOS – somehow mentality of "iOS users are rich" sneaked in – and Anki for iOS costs ~25$. This makes it prohibitively hard to recommend Anki to non-Android users, especially to younger generation which virtually don't use desktops, type much faster on mobile rather then PC keyboard, etc.
This is just not true. The android app is an open source project by the community, whereas the iOS app is made by the original developer of anki.
It's "subsidized" by iOS purchases I believe.
Regardless of the reason behind it, you’re right, it is admittedly hard to convince a large portion of iOS users that $25 for an app is worth it, which is unfortunate for Anki. But I don’t know if a free version would be worth the trade-offs.
Anki UX just sucks. I agree. Even if it were year 2000, its UX is not great.
iOS users spend an order of magnitude more money than Android users, so that was the creator's logic - use them as the "whales".
It's 100% fine and honestly he should be charging a subscription for such a great app, on every platform.
Back then when I was using Nokia N900, I made PyQT version of Anki for Maemo platform, but I reused some of the python code of Anki, instead of reimplementing it from scratch. I'm still thinking about creating open standard/ecosystem for flash card and space-repeititon software, but it'll take ton of focus and person-time to do right.
(I also question whether there are really a significant number of people who type -- at least Latin characters -- faster on mobile than a PC keyboard, but that's a digression)
Therefore, after years of Anki, I've stopped adding new cards and doing repetition; instead I now focus on keeping a code diary. I've published the first couple of hundred entries here so you can see what this entails:
I see the relationship between my days of ankifying tidbits of knowledge and my current diarying as one of tactics vs. strategy. The Anki-stage was necessary to drill the basics. But now, a decade later, the focus is on the bigger picture — and trying to capture this bigger picture onto a double-sided flashcard is about as fruitful as trying to contain an ocean in a bathtub.
In my experience it was much more useful and engaging to learn by doing things (creating, writing, experimenting) that the facts were related to - then the most necessary facts would become deeply embedded in my memory, with others at just the right level of vagueness necessary to look up the details if needed.
I use it with Spanish, but without conversations with my wife and others or trying to read Spanish language content it would be a useless exercise on its own.
The app has an Anki-like backend, and augments the flashcards with guidance, feedback, and challenges with your wife. https://learncoupling.com
Why would you need to "stare at fact flashcards for hours on end"?
The whole idea is the opposite, to minimize learning time, and only stare at a flashcard periodically at the time when it makes more sense.
How would you solve this?
The largest factor determining your daily reviews is your daily new cards - it depends on retention somewhat, but in general daily reviews after a few months stabilize at around 10x daily new cards.
So the best way to use Anki is to limit your daily new cards to an amount where you can easily handle the reviews. And yeah, you basically can't take a day off ever.
Anki is very powerful, but you also need to structure your learning/routine around it somewhat, or maybe another way to look at it is that you need to make Anki work for you. I currently spend about 15-20 minutes a day on Anki, earlier on in my language learning it was over an hour a day.
One day I just stopped and deleted it all.
that said it certainly doesn't help that anki takes a non-trivial amount of time and study in and of itself to properly set up to be really efficient.
And it worked stunningly well. You see, I figured that whatever I targeted I'd do about 80% of the time. So, 35 a day is about ~1000 a month, and I reckoned I could hit that 10 months in a given year.
My first year of Japanese was basically RTK + KO2001 and JLPT2 grammar study. I was a few points off passing JLPT2 inside 1 year of study. At the time it say I had around 2 to 3 thousand vocab, and could read all Jyoyou kanji, plus understand almost all sentence structure used in daily life.
My 2nd year of Japanese I acquired an additional 10k vocab. I passed JLPT2 and came a few points short of passing JLPT1.
6 months into my 3rd year of study I passed JLPT1 and never touched studying Japanese again.
It has always been a big part of my life since then, and I credit that brutal effort with me really turning my life around. It was an absolutely epic adventure.
For example all downloadable Kanji decks basically ask "Kanji -> meaning, kun readings, on readings, nanori readings, translation, example jukugo, example sentence, pronunciation, stroke order, ...", i.e. not atomic at all.
I have instead made my own deck where each Kanji has multiple cards that ask for different pairs of information. One of the important reasons is that I may have more trouble remembering one of those than the others, and that should not make me have to redo those others, since SRS should ask when I'm about to forget.
I think I found your problem.
Try this cycle:
- Add however many cards you like
- Got bored and didn't finish all your cards? Stop and don't add any new card until you can finish quick enough to not get bored
- Finishing quickly? Add more cards
The exponentially increasing interval is your friend. Before you notice you won't be studying more than 10 cards a day :)
It doesn't feel like it in the first ~10 days of a block of cards, but there's a jitter in the spacing function, so you will see the same block at the same time 2 or 3 times but then they'll start dispersing and be a lot less overwhelming.
And most important of all: don't be afraid of slow progress: progress is progress!
I learned analysis a long time ago. Forgot most of it, despite applying it a lot.
I learned statistics twice, applied it, and still forgot most of it. The third time round I made flashcards and I haven't forgotten much.
I studied a textbook on floating point arithmetic for work (mathematical - with theorems, etc). Because it was secondary to my main work, I would have gaps - sometimes for months, before I could return to it. Yet whenever I did return to it, I could continue where I left off without reviewing much - because of flash cards.
Memory is useful.
While "stupidly" learning a one-two word definition might not allow you to understand how a word is actually used, it will allow you to get its meaning should you encounter it in native material, delaying understanding to that moment.
The definition is "what is it?". There is nothing to understand here. It could be taught to a parrot or child to repeat this information.
What you're mentioning is a bunch of cards on top of that: how does a red black tree stay balanced on insertions? When is the self-balancing property of red black trees useful? When is it not? Etc etc.
You cannot answer this if you mistake a red black tree for another tree for example. It's essentially vocabulary.
Another one would be notations: what's the symbol for a cross product? Again, nothing to understand, but you must know it to work on actual math problems involving cross products.
And the great thing is, because of the spaced repetition, you don’t need to spend hours on it at a time. You can learn a lot in 5/10 mins a day.
(This may not apply if the target domain is actually itself rote memorization, e.g. medical exams)
It was using flashcards of cats with funny captions and it actually worked. Sadly my old phone eventually broken and the app can't be installed from the appstore anymore.
Settings > AnkiDroid > Notify when (X number of cards due, etc.)
never go full Duolingo...
You can make cards for those.
Of course, if you're making cards on those without understanding and internalizing, the cards won't help you.
First you understand something, then you convert that understanding into flashcards so it sticks in your long-term memory.
It's spacing + testing effect: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Testing_effect
Suppose you can solve some problem or prove some theorem today. Then you try to do it again next week, next month and so on. It's very different from rote memorization.
I have trained people in my environment and they have improved enormously.
It is a very good idea that you read a book about mnemonics, and all the techniques, things like exaggerating pictures or places in your head, remembering faces, what a neural connection is and so on, and start applying it.
My upper limit (in anki) is over 400 new words in a different language (like chinese or japanese) per day with extreme exhaustion, not doing anything the entire day but memorizing. This is the equivalent of running a marathon for me on the mental field(I have done real marathons too).
My lower limit is learning 40-50 new words per day. It takes 1 hour,more than a minute per word and no significant effort, I do this as daily routine with now consequences for my work.
Over time, learning new languages become easier and easier.
The world opens a lot when you can go to places like China or Japan and at least you understand what the symbols on the street or the people say. You get a much deeper knowledge about things.
Anki is one of the most amazing things ever invented.
Most people that feel they need a language class, but those are terrible for learning vocabulary. Vocab learning is best done solo.
Do you have any particular books in mind? Thanks!
I'm also using Anki for Finish vocab, and it had helped me a lot. To the point it does feel like a super power.
If you are going to use Anki, it's important to switch the knobs to adapt to what you are learning.
I will share some of the things that have worked for me, for Finnish vocab:
- Intervals for new cards (until they are considered 'learned'): 1 10 15 50 240.
The 240 is critical for me: if I forgot it after 4 hours, it goes back to 1 again... if I got it after 4 hours, then it will have better chances in a couple of days.
Of course this is personal, I have been tweaking those until something makes sense to me.
- Lapese (when a known card is forgotten, and how to re-learn): 10 30 240. Again the 240 check.
- Set an ammount of new cards and max reviews per day that does not make you feel misserable... there needs to be some joy on learning...
If I may ask, are you just learning the vocab ? have you taken courses? Where are you getting the vocab from ?
Memory is also a skill. People have all kinds of techniques to remember things more easily, for instance med students use a lot of mneumonics. The key is to make memories stronger by building associations. Memories that are islands die faster. Associations with places are especially strong, which is the genesis of the "memory palace" technique where you imagine a palace with rooms containing the things that you want to remember. But any association will do. For instance, when I'm learning a language I like to make up a little story for each word. Using your episodic memory is a great way to increase strength of memories.
Lack of motivation, some mental issue like depression, attention problem while learning. You can't learn stuff like you sweep a floor, tune out and just do the movements.
I am incredible good remembering faces and facial expressions, very good remembering places. I see a place on a picture, I know where it is if I have traveled there.
But I am very bad remembering sounds. So I never try to remember using sounds like other people do.
You should learn about yourself, what are your strengths and use them. Buy different memory books and just try them like I did. Some techniques will work for you, some not.
The people that popularize things like Anki the hardest are those that built and stuck with their own systems from the start. That's more of a referendum on their personality type than on the utility of their way of using Anki.
My hunch is that most people end up struggling because a lot of the most popular systems end up doing the exact opposite of spaced repetition once you consider the complete universe of foreign language input a learner is getting.
I've found that for me, Anki works really well for the first 1000 words, letting me jumpstart early vocab while most of my other time is spent on basic grammar.
For words 1000-5000 or 10000 in frequency, it's easy to get stuck in a trap I see a lot online: every time you encounter a new word, add it to Anki. This is a great way to burn out. You'll encounter most of these words with a natural spacing as you read native materials, if they're in the higher frequency bands. Doing reviews becomes excruciating, since you're losing the efficiency benefits of using the SRS unless you adjust review frequency based on the native input you consume (a good machine learning side project, perhaps?)
I've had a lot more success using Anki for words off in the long tail that I wouldn't otherwise have a chance to remember.
I’m trying to combine the “rote-ness” of anki with learning by doing.
In Deliberate Python I’m combining spaced repetition lessons with small exercises that encourage you to really focus and get the question right the first time.
The encouragement to get it right the first time, as often as possible, is something I learned from learning music. Practice makes permanent
 https://www.sendfox.com/deliberatepython Note: this project is pre launch so this is a newsletter where I’m giving progress updates. Plan to launch into beta in a month or two
I also find it can be helpful to have a single card that prompts review of related definitions, for instance:
"What are the four subspaces of a matrix A? What are their dimensions with respect to the rank r of A? What are they subspaces of? (Fundamental theorem of Linear Algebra part 1)"
Remembering these things together is easier for me than breaking this down into multiple cards as one piece of this in isolation doesn't make as much sense as a part of the whole.
This is all to say that I disagree with the author on the point that it's important to find ways to break up cards to be bite sized. Otherwise great post IMO!
I think my more important point was about problem sets, for instance:
Construct a matrix with the required property, or explain why you can't.
- left nullspace contains [1 3]^T
- rowspace contains [3 1]^T
breaks down into a few steps, and trying to break that down into bite sized flashcards such as, "what's the key idea in constructing a matrix with left nullspace [1 3]^T" and "given a matrix that is the product of L with row [1 3] can you choose a U so that combined they form a matrix with row space [3 1]?" seems like it could risk in resulting in me not being able to figure out the entire problem together. But maybe not?
Bringing it back to the post's proof example, what if you had completely nailed every step of the proof such that Anki doesn't ask you about it for a while, and then 6 months later, one of the harder steps comes up in isolation:
"What is the second adjustment we make in the proof of the ratio test, a < 1?"
what if you can't remember the first steps? Would having the rest of the context help? I guess it's a tradeoff.
To save my own kids from such a regret, I've created Boethius, a SRS web application for the classical liberal arts to augment our homeschool curriculum. It's now in public beta here: https://www.boethi.us/.
Let me know what you think!
In language learning, memorizing words in a shallow way tends to not be as helpful as memorizing them in a sentence (shallow vs deep encoding). One can try to ankify sentences, but it's too easy to click on the green button and fool oneself that one has mastered the sentence. Anki works great for snippets of atomic knowledge but doesn't work as well for sequential/series knowledge like sentences.
On the other hand, there's another method called the Gold List method which is a pen-and-paper based SRS system which requires writing out complete sentences and testing recall every 2 weeks or so. Pen-and-paper folks like it, but due to the limitations of paper, implementing a proper SRS is far too tedious.
What if one were to use Anki for the SRS part, and handwrite the responses? Handwriting sounds tedious, but I wonder if it helps deepen the encoding? (by forcing reconstruction of the sentence, slowing one down enough to dwell on the form and grammar, as well as adding a physical element to the task)
WIP: Achenes: A small typing-only flashcard app
The point of writing atomic flashcards is to prevent the loss of resolution reviewing questions about wholes (sentences in your case). Mind that atomic does not mean that it has to be about details, I usually create flashcards for each abstraction, that is, besides asking for details, I also write a question for the full sentence.
This is one way to prevent the loss of resolution, but sometimes it is time consuming to write all those flashcards (think about a long proof).
Another way to do it, is to write down the answer pen-and-paper, that way you are forced to focus on the details, not just the big picture: no loss of resolution.
For instance, you could have the idea of a “template” such as
<Pronoun> <Tense of to go> <Place> and <Same Tense of to see> a <Noun>.
A lot of times things probably would be a bit non sensical such as
“They went to the bank and saw an apple.”
“She will go to the Eiffel Tower to see a motorboat.”
But I always thought it would really help me a lot more than the more rote aspects.
Of course, then the spaced repetition might be less effective due to the variety of the same card, and it may be more like studying something new.
The thing that would always get me would be that I would make a card on the phone and forget to manually sync it or something and then make a card on the computer and have to resolve conflicts.
They really just needed an “add all cards from all sources” feature since that was generally all I wanted.
For language learning I found it works way better to use another technique: ridiculous imagery and word association. Higher initial time investment (have to spend some time for each new word in the first time I see) but after that I don't EVER need to recall it again. It just sticks. I also used that to memorize different alphabets and it's WAY easier and does feel like a superpower as opposed to just brute force memorize something by repetition and recall with no other brain connections between what we're memorizing and what we already know.
What did work for me was really simple. A single 8 1/2 by 11 double sided sheet of paper could usually fit everything I needed to memorize at one given time. I'd write out a cheat sheet (a very valuable exercise in condensing and distilling while reviewing) and then reproduce it from memory before and after bed three days in a row allowing a tapered amount of cheating/peeking (with the first few being pretty much all peeking). After three days, it was pretty much good as memorized.
As I understand it the benefit is to have strong recall over longer than just an exam or university course; more like for an entire career stage.
How far into your career are you, and how much of the material you learned in this way have you retained? Have you fairly tested the retention?
As an example, here's a simple card: What is the recommended way to traverse all the files (including subdirectories) in Python?
Answer: scandir and not os.walk
os.walk is my standard goto. Then I learned about scandir, but kept forgetting that there was a better alternative to os.walk. So I made a card for it.
The other answer, of course, is speed. If I'm going to Google "what is the alternative to os.walk?" or something similar every time I need it, it adds a lot of friction and I simply won't bother. And no, I don't do this often enough that looking it up each time will force it to become ingrained.
And frankly, when you do math/physics, you do need a number of concepts in your head. Solving a complex problem requires multiple parts/stages, and solving requires you to have them in your head so you can put them together. My biggest mistake when I was in grad school was thinking I could get by without memorizing. It worked fine for undergrad level math, but it was a real problem when I took higher level courses. The professors were split on whether memorizing is a good idea, but the fact is the professors used this stuff a lot more than I did.
For your Python example I'd just use a snippet. On the other hand, Google's pretty fast and always updated.
It's all a personal trade-off I guess. I wouldn't say it's common for me to forget I knew something. But maybe the cost of creating, maintaining, and reviewing card decks is worth it for you.
I used Anki to learn molecular biology. I work in bioinformatics and understanding molecular pathways means I can more fluently build hypotheses with colleagues. Without having memorized these pathways, unknowns unknowns and lack of knowledge availability would prevent a lot of discovery.
I will say this is easier for some and harder for others. I've noticed some people have a lot of difficulty recalling facts without a specific cue when using Anki. It's best used with traditional learning, but you can focus more on the why.
- It worked great to memorize cyrillic alphabet.
- It's working not so well to memorize Polish words (I have around 500 in a custom-made deck). Reading Polish news simply works better for me but I don't know why.
If you're casually doing like 20 cards a day on the train while commuting to work, this will definitely not apply.
A. Anki is almost never used alone in medical education. It's used as an aid to retaining information within a heavily-structured curriculum where you're going over the same concepts over, and over, and over in the form of lectures, clinical encounters, supplemental videos, more lectures, anatomy lab, histology lab, boards-prep, etc. So, like the author said, there's a ton of med students using it, but context is very important.
B. Lots of people don't use the algorithm. They use it in cram-mode to drill a subset of a pre-made deck into their head before an exam. Even if you never use the SRS algorithm, Anki is by-far the greatest flashcard program ever built (cloud sync, TTS, robust image support, open-source, etc.).
C. Many of the people grinding thousands of cards a day have a lot of factual knowledge, but really aren't great at stitching it together for practical application. If you need to memorize random facts, great, but be very aware of that potential limitation.
D. Game-pads are the secret weapon. Joy2Key, or roll-your-own in Python like I did with the Inputs and PyAutoGui packages.
E. Use it with a very specific goal in mind. Med students are by-and-large using it specifically for the USMLE Step 1 exam, in which you have to memorize a finite, well-delineated set of information, much of which is irrelevant after the first two years. I've never met anyone who has graduated med school and kept using it, because grinding cards sucks and life is short.
F. Don't be afraid to commit deck bankruptcy. If you're reviewing 900 cards a day, and you don't know why anymore, delete the deck and start from scratch.
G. There's a distinct balance between reviewing cards so frequently that you've memorized the cards not the concepts, and making the cards so challenging that it takes too long to review efficiently (I did 871 cards in about 2 hours today - that's a common number for a med student, some kids are doing thousands per-day - like, they roll out of bed and start tapping on that game controller). Be very, very aware of that memorizing the cards thing. You probably don't know as much as you think you do.
So, in summary, it's a really cool program. I wouldn't characterize it as a superpower, however, since it has some glaring downsides, and is not particularly noteworthy when used in a vacuum. Again, that's from somebody doing >500 cards/day.
When I am exposed to some new thing, parts of it will stick immediately, and other parts will need some kind of processing on my part before I internalize it. When you are exposed to the same new thing, those parts that stick and those that need processing will usually differ from mine. Hence it's hard to make a deck that works well for the majority.
I think Anki is a great tool, but I think there are so many aspects of it that can be improved, so I decided to write my own app.
I'm hoping to refine the SRS algorithm, lesson UI, and card layout over time as I get input from folks about what works and what doesn't. I think there's a lot of potential for improvement in this space if someone devotes some time to it.
Is iOS/MacOS only?
Any chance it's going to be open-sourced?
I don't have plans of open-sourcing this.
I'm sure you've heard of it, but not sure people realize how mature it is and sick its internal design is, which allows writing native beautiful UI apps for iOS/Android/Desktop and web from the single codebase. While desktop and web support is still in dev/beta state, I successfully use it in production already and it's total game changer in terms of productivity and fun to code.
SRS app like yours will work on all 6 platforms with near-native performance (web might be a bit slower, but will produce pixel-by-pixel same UI as mobile/desktop) and I don't see any obstacles.
It's not like my backlog is not overloaded, but I would love to join a project if there is a chance to contribute. I want great SRS too badly for too long :)
The main thing I do differently, however, is I attempt to predict your retention score instead of having you self-report it. Unlike Anki where you choose how well you were able to recall the answer (essentially a score from 1 to 5), I use a combination of your CORRECT/INCORRECT signal as well as how quickly you reveal the answer to determine a recall score.
From my own testing, it works reasonably well, although there's room for improvement over time.
I strive to keep the app as easy to use as possible.
You can customize the intervals yourself per deck to adjust for the subject (e.g. vocabulary cards with only one word per card probably can have longer intervals than, let's say, an anatomy card with details about a muscle, bone or nerve).
It shows how outdated our education system is and how much better it could be.
For example, I don't care if for the question "In ruby, how do I get the previous regex match" the answer is "$&". If I ever need it, I'll just look it up.
What’s that you say? You downloaded premade decks? Don’t do that! Constructing your deck yourself is an important part of the learning process.
Emacs is vast and deep and there's a lot to learn and remember.
It also serves the same purpose for key-bindings and functions in various modes and packages.
That’s not silly at all, a lot of people use Anki for things like that. I’ve seen a couple of premade decks but I would avoid these.
When it comes to keybindings its better to make your own deck otherwise you end up learning a load of bindings you’ll never use. I like to add them as and when I need them.
It's not always that easy to find - even with C-h a or C-h m, etc.
But the bigger benefit is even knowing that feature X exists and there is a key combination for it. I found flash cards useful because I would get an occasional "reminder" that X exists and I should use it more often!
A trivial example: flush-lines and keep-lines. I never knew these existed till I read them somewhere. I put it in my flashcards, and over time I would remember its existence and use it more and more.
You could also try searching for "apropos" with apropos-command to find other related commands.
Seconded on all counts! Ruthlessly delete cards you don't care about; make your own cards so that they reflect your own mental structures. In the article, I allude to this by talking about how people can undergo very different mental motions to obtain the same "serialised" fact like "78% of the air is nitrogen".
Suspending on the other hand, takes the card out of rotation, and if at some future point one cares about the card again, it is easy to unsuspend.
If it's a superpower, it's at best a rote learning superpower.
Can you use Anki to learn quantum field theory, and solve the lamb shift problem without looking at the existing solutions?
Cut out the hyperbole please.
When you learn facts, they are easily accessible for thinking and the connections start forming even unconsciously.
The idea that you can keep the facts in a book and the brain is just like CPU that processes them is wrong. You have to remember if you want to learn complex stuff like physics.
Learning has many components. Even on its own, brute memorisation is a powerful tool. But see e.g. SuperMemo's creator on Incremental Reading (https://supermemo.guru/wiki/Incremental_reading) for a more generalised view of how to use spaced repetition for what you might refer to as "actual" understanding.
Can you learn quantum field theory if you have to keep looking up Schrodinger's equations, and all the EM equations?
“ Tod mach’s mir leicht, wenn du kommst vor deiner Zeit” reading it and understanding it is trivial. If you have to look up each word individually your comprehension will at best be enormously slowed. The same principle applies if what you’re reading is a chemical formula, a logical proof or a description of a historical event. Knowing the 200 or so most important events of the French Revolution by date with two sentences of explanation for context makes reading further on it enormously more productive.
If you're trying to learn the content of the book, the process of converting the information into flashcards entails engaging with the material, so that isn't skipped.
There are frequency lists of vocabulary words for languages: basically some words are used more frequently than others so memorizing the most common 1000-3000 words is enough to get very high comprehension rates for everyday conversation and reading.