Spaced Repetition Listening with Anki

I just figured out that you can upload audio as large as you want onto the front of flashcards in Anki, and you can put the transcript/translation on the back.

That means that you can use Anki to do spaced reviews of your listening (vocabulary in context) – I’m doing this with the extracted dialogues and transcripts from

Anki gives you four options for grading your comprehension/performance:

Again – You’ll see the card again soon
Hard – You’ll see the card again the next day
Good – You’ll see the card again in 3-4 days
Easy – You’ll see the card again in 7-9 days

Of course, each time you see a card and choose one of these options, Anki recalculates the interval accordingly, and over time all of these intervals will become longer, eventually to the point where you don’t have to review certain items for years.

In the context of listening, this means that the levels would be such that:

Again = 0-25% comprehension -> You’ll see the card again soon
Hard = 25-50% comprehension -> You’ll see the card again the next day
Good = 50-75% comprehension -> You’ll see the card again in 3-4 days
Easy = 75%-100% comprehension -> You’ll see the card again in 7-9 days

Obviously these levels are based on your subjective opinion of your rate of comprehension, but I think that if you use Anki in this way with short (max 1-2 minutes) content containing new vocabulary, over time you will see rapid progress and passive to active vocabulary transfer (especially as a beginner).

The ‘Who is she?’ or ‘Eating Out’ series on LingQ would be perfect to use with this method if you’re just starting out in a language:)

For more advanced learners, this could be used as a supplement to your regular, more extensive listening and reading.

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. John.w.s
    Dec 04, 2009 @ 15:49:33

    Just imagine if there was an iphone app with SRS repetition of short audio clips. I’d buy an iphone in the blink of an eye.anyhow, found your blog through your posts on lingQ forums. I’m also learning chinese, hope we can help each other out.anyway, I’ve also been using just the dialogues from chinesepod, I made the mistake for a very long time of actually listening to their podcasts… and I found for the longest time that I couldn’t get away from the beginner(or elementary, whateever their 2nd level is) podcasts, but then I found lingQ and the lingQ “method” in august or september, and since that time I’ve just been listening to the dialogues. In that time I’ve completely left the beginner dialogues behind and have been on intermediate dialogues and now I’m moving onto upper-intermediate. I think that’s cuz I was really at the intermediate level but I didn’t really know it…anyway, I just thought it would have been nice if someone had told me that just the dialogues and transcripts were the most important parts of chinesepod.


  2. Gintaras
    Dec 04, 2009 @ 22:32:38

    My daughter uses Anki and I use Supermemo for a year. One thing I can say definitely – it’s very beneficial to my English learning.First of all I listen to a new article several times, then I save phrases with a new words at LingQ. Later I cut audio files to the parts and move my vocabulary to the Supermemo. This moment is the most important for me, because I see and I hear the whole phrase at this moment and here comes the understanding of more difficult words and phrases.I spoke with Steve about this, but he said that he does not have time for spaced repetition (he just has to much of new words) instead he prefers a lot of listening. I’ll try his method later, when I will learn more German.Those systems are very relaxing. You just know that you will learn all this stuff sooner or later. It’s impossible not to learn. By the way my retention rate over the first year was more than 97 percent.I wrote an article about these things on my blog in Lithuanian, but you can watch the numbers for sure.My blog Anglu Kalbos KursaiArticle Supermemo


  3. Gintaras
    Dec 04, 2009 @ 22:49:02

    By the way, there are a lot of interesting articles on this topic on But unfortunately for me there is no sound. When I will improve I’ll buy a basic account and I’ll ask you for help with sound for these articles so I could learn from them. It is “interesting and meaningful content” for me :)Now I am on my silent period for a while.


  4. dolmetscher777
    Dec 04, 2009 @ 23:47:56

    @ JohnI know how you feel – I had the podcast content for a long time and, unlike you, didn’t listen to it because I didn’t want to hear all the English content. What I didn’t realize is that you can use Audacity to cut out just the dialogue, and since I’ve started doing this I’ve been improving in giant leaps.What’s your username on LingQ, and content are you using?@GintarasThose results are fantastic! It’s good to hear first-hand from someone that such systems work in the long term. I’ve only really just started.Thanks by the way for your blog (I wishh I could read it in Lithuanian!), and I’d be glad to help you by recording content some time:)


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