When I lit upon Memrise as EdLab Review material I did my customary googling to ensure nobody had done it before. I found that Stephen had written about it...exactly one year and 10 minutes before. He reported it as being a bit buggy, but the mnemonic learning tool has come a long way this year and the awesomeness bears repeating.
Mnemonics are a proven strategy for learning vocabulary in native and second languages and Memrise sticks to what we know, offering memorization of English terms and several introductory languages. The herbs course Stephen demoed is still quite robust and effective, but creating an account unlocks courses in the sciences, history, geography, and hobo symbols. The mnemonics are anecdotally effective too, I’m not sure I’ll be able to look at bay again without imagining myself keeping wild animals at bay by waving its leaves.
The mnemonic strategy is limited and Memrise does a good job of self-regulating to a handful of well-thought courses. This could be an effective tool widgeted out to an LMS, but it’s hard to create effective mnemonics which might limit the capacity for user participation in Memrise’s future.
Memrise does a good job of enforcing an old assumption with a fun and fast-paced spin. It’s a classic, self-moderated, slick little system and while it may not wield game-changing clout, it’s very successful at what it does. It doesn’t seem to have a revenue model at this point, but the system itself seems very marketable.
Memrise may be little, but it is fierce.