My current (primary) personal learning project is learning Mandarin. I started last November (2013) and I’m planning to travel to China this coming November. The goal has been to learn, within a year, to speak sufficiently well to hold a 20 minute conversation with a native speaker. But how to do it?
One of my matras is “ask someone who knows”, so I went onto a bunch of language learning websites* and asked a few people whom I knew had learnt languages before (and quickly) how best to approach it. One answer was unanimous; “SRS” or Spaced Repetition Software.
I much prefer to explain this kind of stuff by talking rather than writing, so watch this clip below to see the why, how and what of SRS.
Anki is definitely worth the (small) time investment to familiarise yourself with the software. It will revolutionise your learning!
For a summary of the research on spaced repetition, see this article on Gwern.
Update: Just found this great guide on how to use anki from Alex Vermeers. Check it out!
Edit: See this great page for some info on SRS research: http://tiny.cc/srsresearch