Got Any Informal Learning Goals This Year?

It made me realize most of us are so mentally unfit today because of things like PDAs & Google.

That’s the final sentence in this Chris Khoo Supermemo User revealing interview with Chris Khoo, a Brisbane-based programmer and user of a software tool which claims to help you remember learned information forever.

If you’ve set any self-directed learning goals this year then Chris’s experiences with spaced repetition learning methods may inspire you.

Not convinced?

OK, in these dodgy economic times, where job security now feels like skating over ever thinner ice, here’s another quote from the same interview:

I definitely have more confidence now. I can rattle off memorized material at work meetings and people have noticed the improvement.

That got my attention.

Imagine starting a consulting assignment and being quickly up to speed with all the most pertinent facts.

Of course, this is not a free pass; regular practice is necessary and there’s a big initial investment of time, but the payoff can be spectacular.

As one of my informal learning goals this year includes passing a Japanese language exam, I decided to check out the spaced-repetition software mentioned by Chris: [Supermemo] ( (mine is the older 2002 version).

Unfortunately, I still find the supermemo interface a little clunky to use and have begun testing a much simpler tool called Jmemorize; an open source Java Flashcard program based on the famous Leitner system.

jmem leitner

(Note to Supermemo purists; yes, I know, this is somewhat different to PW’s ideas. I may end up using both programs for different goals.)