Verbatim vs. Loop&Learn

Published on Sunday, May 02, 2010 in , , , , , , , ,

Loop And Learn app image(UPDATE - July 14, 2011: Verbatim has been updated and improved. Click here to learn about the update!)

Many of you know that I've been working on converting my Verbatim web app (What is a web app?) to a native app (The kind you download from the iTunes App Store). However, a new app has just been released that blows Verbatim out of the water!

It's called Loop&Learn (iTunes Link), and it's so new, I couldn't have included it in Thursday's iPhone post, because it wasn't available yet!

The focus of Verbatim is the poem memorization approach I first learned in J. J. Hayes' article, in which you memorize a poem (or monologues, presentations, scripture, scripts, song lyrics, speeches, etc.) by learning the lines in larger and larger groups each time you go through it. Loop&Learn is the first program I've run across that allows you to use this same approach for learning.

Had the Loop&Learn app just stopped there, I might just think of it as competition for Verbatim. However, I haven't even begun to scratch the surface! Much like Verbatim, you start by entering the text of what you want to remember. Besides things like poems and speeches, this could also be any sort of list, such as presidents, elements, and so on.

Here's where the differences begin. After giving each “loop” some basic information, such as title, tags, and description, you record a snippet of sound for each item on the list (determined by where the RETURNs and/or line ends are in the text you entered earlier). If you're running Loop&Learn on an iPod Touch, you'll need to purchase an external microphone (preferably ones with built-in earphones) to make us of this app. The sounds will be played back as you go through your loop later.

Optionally, you can also include graphics to go with each sound snippet. This is a very handy feature, as it not only allows you to have pictures of the things you're memorizing, but can also be used to depict mnemonic associations to further strengthen your ability to remember the contents of the loop!

When you play back your loop, the most basic way is to play the whole thing straight through. However, you can also play back individual segments individually, or in groups. You can also choose to either have it play the segments as if you're repeating them along with the app, or to pause, so you can repeat after the app. The ability to play segments in groups and to have a listen-and-repeat mode makes Loop&Learn perfect for the approach in the J. J. Hayes' article I mentioned earlier.

Already, this is an extraordinary app, but there's one other feature that's very important: it's social networking features! Once you've developed your own loops, you can upload them to the Loop&Learn library to share with others, and download loops developed by others, too. In addition, you can rate each loop, and announce loops via Twitter and e-mail., all within the app itself!

Below is a video to give you a better idea of the look, feel, and capabilities of Loop&Learn. You can find more about Loop&Learn in their Video Tour page and their YouTube channel.

Getting back to the Verbatim comparison, Verbatim does have a way of reviewing items that Loop&Learn doesn't offer. In Verbatim, you can review your pieces getting hints by either filling in blanks or seeing only the first letter. If you enjoy this feature, and would like to see it in a native app, iByMemory (iTunes Link) offers this functionality, and would make a good companion app.

If you go into Verbatim itself, click on Manual, then on Related resources, you'll find a whole host of resources that are useful for not only Verbatim, but Loop&Learn and iByMemory, as well!

All in all, I find Loop&Learn to be an incredible value, and highly recommend this app, especially because of the incredible multimedia and social features. It's easy to develop, and fun and effective to use.

On a related note, I've stopped development on a native app version of Verbatim. The Verbatim web app will remain available, but I am now free to pursue other native app projects that have been put off until now.

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