Ok, so after my post detailing my failures in using SRS, I’ve got some excellent feedback! Makes me just realize how great the online Mandarin learning community is. So, here’s the dealio: I was doing it wrong. Well that’s at least my view of it. I’m going to test this now.

Jacob, Peckish Laowai and Greg all gave excellent advice on how they use SRS services. Here’s the summary:

  • Use it to review, not learn new words.
  • Therefore, DON’T use pre-rolled decks. Create your own.
  • Don’t let SRS start to control you. Be its master.
  • Take responsibility for learning: stop when it becomes boring.
  • Make it fun!

Furthermore, after asking for advice on reddit too, I got linked to AJATT’s SRS series. This was an amazing read. I recommend it to every SRS learner. Once again, it stresses creating your own decks. Greg and others said this too. Also, make it fun. If you are not having fun. Stop. Immediately. Cut sentences and words from your deck that are boring. This should be like your prized collection. A trophy of sorts.

This is what I missed in SRS, the autonomy that comes from taking control of your learning. SRS seems awesome, but when it starts to control you, then it becomes a chore.

So from this day on, I’m going to start building my deck. These sentences and words, will come from tech blogs, music, movies and Mandarin blogs. Anywhere I can get my Mandarin hands on them. I’ll keep you guys updated on my progress. I’ve already added my first sentence.