Advance English Vocabulary with Flashcard Technology Tools

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Have you ever thought you are not making progress learning new vocabulary words in English? If you are frustrated not advancing to new levels, you can use technology tools to assist you in learning the language.

You will need more advanced vocabulary to achieve English fluency in reading, writing, listening, and speaking and to perform well on exams such as TOEFL, IELTS, GMAT, and GRE. So, why not take advantage of any number of online technology tools to practice vocabulary that can assist you in progressing at a faster rate?

 

  • Make digital flashcards

 

In the past, flashcards may have been thought of as a boring way to study English words, but that is no longer the case. New online technology tools creating fun flashcards with games will make learning English vocabulary interesting and effective because it optimizes your ability to retain knowledge.

  1. Recall the knowledge by engaging “active memory”; when you look at the front side of a flashcard and flip it over, it creates a strong connection in your brain, enhancing the chance of you remembering the word choice.
  2. Looking at the second side of the flashcard helps to advance your memory because you use your self-reflective abilities in learning the language, and investigations show that applying meta cognition builds knowledge into your memories.
  3. As you repeat flashcards in study session practice, you will boost your confidence in your ability to recall the new words. Research has shown reviewing words is an optimal way to improve your memory performance.

Creating flashcards using online website tools is a useful way to maximize your vocabulary advancement in proficient English. Since you review the cards repeatedly, the word choice becomes ingrained in your brain. With the cards, you will recall the new terms. Here are some websites with tools to create flashcards for university students:

  1. QuizMeOnline offers online flashcards and social networking for students
  2. StudyStack offers free online English language flashcards with the fun of games
  3. StudyBlue is a free study app for smartphones that allows you to study with partners online
  4. Quizlet allows you to practice cards, spell, test, play games
  5. Examtime has free 3D flashcards, study plans, and other online tools like mind mapping and notes
  6. Flashcard Machine a service that offers making study flashcards for free to share with study partners

You will find any of these online tools helpful to improving your study progress mastering English vocabulary.

How to Learn New Vocabulary

Over the course of many years of teaching adults English writing, one of the experiential goals of university courses was to aid students in building vocabulary. If students employ a systematic strategy to increase their knowledge of English words, their level of English, particularly for TOEFL, will go up. You may be asking yourself, “How do I learn new vocabulary?”

First, make a plan to expand your reading, listening, speaking, and writing in order to be exposed to more English vocabulary. You can speak to native speakers and write emails to them to gain knowledge of new words. For both reading and listening, strategize how you can incorporate the time to read English articles and listen to lectures into your day: either at a set time daily, in the early morning before your work schedule, during your commute, or after work in the evening, for instance.  When you are reading, you do not need to identify new words. Only after you have finished the article and understand the main idea and key points can you scan the article once more and look for new words to make note of. The same goes for lectures. If you are listening for note-taking, just focus on the task of taking down effective notes such as the topic, main purpose and key points and details; do not get distracted by writing new vocabulary. Once you have completed the listening once, you can notice if there were many new words that you did not understand. If so, you can review the lecture transcript (or listen again) to take down the new words in your vocabulary notebook. If you see too many new words, focus on just a few for each article or lecture to avoid becoming overwhelmed.

Once you become more exposed to challenging vocabulary, you can start identifying new words and create a vocabulary journal to use daily. A vocabulary journal can be either a traditional paper notebook for English words or an e-vocabulary list in your smartphone. Use whatever is most convenient to study from every day. A vocabulary notebook divided into specific sections will help to have a better outcome in learning more English words. When you start your word notebook, divide the notes into different sections such as by where you discover the new words like from an online newspaper, an English prep book, or Tedxtalks. Then, separate the notebook into categories by unique theme like medical, science, food, idioms, law, finance, business, meetings, etc. Be sure to write the date of when you jot down your new words since you will want to track your vocabulary progress. Going back to a specific date, you can notice what words you remember. If you keep your notebook organized, it will be easier and faster to review and recall words to build your language.

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You might be thinking, “What else do I write down in my vocabulary lists?” If you divide your two open notebook pages into columns, you can have a list of the new words on the left, the definitions in the second column, the examples (in sentences) in the third column, and a few synonyms in the fourth column. So, when you open your notebook, each page would have two columns, but an open-faced book of two pages would have four columns related to just one list of words on the left side. It would be the same structure if you have a digital vocabulary notebook on your smartphone. The advantage to taking notes on 1) the new word, 2) the definition, 3) an example of the word in a sentence, and 4) synonyms is that you can remember the language more easily when you review daily, every other day, or biweekly, depending on when your study sessions are scheduled.

To see language results, reviewing the new vocabulary is essential. Carry your vocabulary notebook with you everywhere you go, and if you have five minutes of downtime, pull it out of your bag to review your word lists.