Review: Ebbinghaus 1.5 (Mac OS X)

Published on Sunday, February 18, 2007 in , , , ,

EbbinghausWhat iTunes is to music libraries - free, simple, flexible and effective - Ebbinghaus is to flashcard libraries.

The influence of Ebbinghaus by iTunes is immediately apparent when you start it up. As you can see in the screenshots, you have your libraries on the left side of the of the window, and the details of your items in the main body. The titles of you libraries and how many flashcards they contain are listed in the library frame. The details include not only the text of the front and back of the flash card, but also any graphics used for the flashcard, their activation status (whether or not they should be included in quizzes), the name of their library and a progress rating. Also just as in iTunes, you can sort your libraries in the order of any of these details.

The progress rating is very powerful. As you quiz yourself with the flashcards, the progress rating will go from empty to red (critical), then yellow (warning), then green (mastery). In the preferences, you can set how many times someone must be quizzed on each card before they can progress from the various levels, and how many quizzes constitute total mastery (up to 20). If you sort your flashcards by progress rating and then highlight the ones with the lowest rating, it's a simple matter to quiz yourself on your trouble spots.

Across the top are the main controls, including study, statistics, export/import and inspector. Study is the button that starts quizzing you on highlighted libraries and/or cards. The Statistics button give you an average rating of your progress for a particular library, or an overall picture for all libraries. Import will load up files in a special XML format, as well as the standard comma separated value format (CSV) that can be generated by many database programs. The Inspector button shows you all the details of a particular card, and makes it easy to edit any mistakes.

Export, though, deserves some special attention. Export can, of course, create the aforementioned XML and CSV files for easy sharing with other Ebbinghaus users. However, there is also a feature to export your cards to iPhoto. When you select this option, your cards, including any graphics, are turned into images and added to iPhoto. From here, you can sync these images into your iPod, and quiz yourself on the go (albeit without any saved progress).

Speaking of importing and exporting, you can easily upload and download to the online flashcard directory. If you're looking for standard quizzes such as languages or world capitals, you might save yourself some time by looking them up here. You can learn more about this aspect of the program in the Ebbinghaus 1.5 release notes.

Apparently, the author doesn't plan to rest on this version. He's already taking feature requests for Ebbinhaus 2.0!

I've discussed other free applications for memory training before (here and here), but Ebbinghaus really stands out. I've found myself actually using it more than the others I've previously mentioned. I highly recommended it!

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1 Response to Review: Ebbinghaus 1.5 (Mac OS X)

8:24 PM

I love this program in theory. The only problem I'm having is taking the massive lists of conjugated verbs and vocabulary and re-creating them again. I'm having a heck of a time importing them. If you have any tips let me know. (the original files are from Genius!)