Fun Spaced Repetition



In this post I wanted to share some ideas about language learning gamification with my fellow internet readers. Why? because I think they’re worth a thought or two. I believe they have the potential to improve the language learning field and make it more fun to learn languages (if done right). But honestly, not just the language learning field.. any field that can be studied through spaced repetition in an efficient manner.

My ideas revolve around an imaginary game that would implement spaced repetition in a fun and engaging/competitive way. The whole chain of thoughts about this started a year ago, when I wanted to build a fork of osu!lazer that would help you study japanese. I didn’t think of integrating any spaced repetition at that time though. I merely tried to replace numbers of each circle with random japanese characters before giving up.

But 1-2 months ago it struck me: “Why isn’t there still a game for studying kanji/words?”. Think about it, there’s all sorts of games for the two japanese alphabets (katakana and hiragana). Both of them can be learned in a relatively short period of time. After you learn them you usually move to kanji or vocabulary building - the step that takes the longest (usually 3-6 years from what I’ve heard).

So why is every developer focusing on those two alphabets, that represent a mere 2-3% of the whole learning material (excluding grammar, language immersion, etc.)?

I say there should be more focus on the other 98% of the language - which is where the main problem lies.

Now for the fun part

This is where the fun begins. It’s time that we, as people, stand up and build something that will be fun and engaging.

It doesn’t have to be osu! level addiction. It just has to be fun and keep the user coming back. Allow me to (finally) share some examples:

  • Game similar to Space Invaders where vocabulary words are falling from the top of the player’s screen. The player has to guess their meaning by typing the correct translation of the word, or picking a choice. If the correct choice is made, points are awarded. Else the player looses points.
  • Multiplayer website where a group of friends can challenge each other by doing reviews of spaced repetition cards. When a player selects a choice correctly, they have the freedom to select the question card for the next person. Whoever fails gets disqualified. Essentially creating a fireball game.
  • 2D multiplayer open world game where players get rewarded by doing small routines like arraging foreign vocabulary with translations, rephrasing sentences, etc.
  • Uno (website) alternative where each card has a (spaced repetition) word attached to it. Essentially allowing players to match cards together by vocabulary as well.
  • Chess (website) alternative that allows players to combine attacks from points that they earn by selecting correct translations of foreign words that popup during gameplay.
  • (Feeling inspired yet? Hit me up!)

At this point, the only limit is truly the imagination.

Time for development!

I’m honestly surprised at the fact that nobody has built something like this so far. There’s of course KanaInvaders, which is where a good part of my inspiration comes from.. but as I’ve said earlier, we have to focus on the other 98%.

I would be super glad to see more people open up to those ideas, team up, and create amazing open-source projects that will make learning so much more fun!

At the time of writing this post, I’ve started working on MonR (spaced repetition backend for games/apps), MonW (the first Unity example game that implements MonR), and some other projects that are yet to come on Github.

At this point, any help is indispensable - because I’m afraid I’ll not be able to keep it up alone. Therefore, if you want to contribute, and you know you have some will power within you, I say don’t hesitate to spread the word, hit me up, or do some ‘passive’ contributions directly on the mentioned repositories.

Thank you. Cheers!🍺