(updated 2016-09-08)

Learning a new word generally seems to follow a typical progression. First you notice a new word, then after you've encountered it a few times, it starts to feel familiar and you decide that maybe it's worth learning. You then more actively try and commit it to memory and perhaps try using it out in the wild a few times, and eventually it joins all the other words that you feel you've mastered.

Here's what this process looks like:

Learn stages

At WordSwing, we make this process explicit. You can place any character or word into one of these three learn stages. These learn stages have the following interpretations:

  1. Discovered - This is a word that has entered your radar. You've seen or heard it a few times and it seems worth keeping your eye on.
  2. Learning - You've continued to encounter this word, and it seems like something you'd really like to know and something you would like to actively practice.
  3. Mastered - You feel confident that you know this word well.

These learn stage ratings have two main purposes:

  1. WordSwing uses these to personalize your language practice. Specifically, WordSwing will include words in the learning stage much more frequently in the more drill-like activities, and WordSwing will assume that words in the mastered stage will be helpful context with which to learn other words.
  2. You can use these to keep track of what you've learned, what you're learning, and where the gaps are, for example by using Character knowledge map.

While practicing on WordSwing, you'll have opportunities to tune what learn stage each word occupies, for example, by using the brain tool in the drill-down pane:

Learn stage drill-down tool

The three buttons at the bottom of the above screenshot let you control whether the ratings are shown to you while you study. This can be helpful for getting a sense of how much of some text you understand or for identifying words you would like to provide ratings for but haven't yet.

You can also see on the Dashboard how many words you've rated a particular learn stage and what fraction of the typical text these comprise:

Learn stage summary

So, come over to WordSwing, and start tracking your knowledge of Chinese and reaping the benefits of personalized practice!

Hope to see you soon!