App

Learn about almost anything with Duolingo’s revolutionary education app

Price: Free
Version: 1.0.2
Size: 17.7 MB
Platform: iPhone and iPad
Developer: Duolingo

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Having revolutionised the process of learning languages by turning it into a game, Duolingo’s turned its hand to the entire rest of education. Reasoning that people often learn and memorise languages by way of flashcards, Tinycards has rethought that system for iPhone, and applied it to pretty much anything.

The front and back of a typical card

The front and back of a typical card

Launch the app and you gain access to an ever-increasing selection of flash cards, covering all kinds of subjects. Duolingo offers its own, drawing from science, language, geography and history. The cards echo Duolingo’s language app in being straightforward, focussed, and illustrated in a sleek cartoonish manner.

This results in a vibrant, breezy experience, although occasionally the visuals aren’t quite distinct enough, such as in a solar system deck, where it’s not terribly obvious what an overly simplified Neptune looks like.

There are loads of subjects to choose from

There are loads of subjects to choose from

User-submitted decks are more variable in nature. Some that we tried usefully expanded the subjects on offer within Tinycards and had thoughtful, logical learning structures. Others were more hit-and-miss, or tried too hard to shoehorn in complex subjects Tinycards isn’t suited to (including a rather weird self-help guide with imagery of people shaking hands and grinning at each other with impossibly white teeth).

Still, if you were paying attention during that last paragraph, you’ll have noticed a major plus of Tinycards: the ability to make your own decks. Doing so is almost disarmingly straightforward, and you can import your own images or ‘borrow’ them from the web. Decks can be private or shared with the world, depending on whether or not you’re on a quest for global domination of the teaching kind.

Drills randomise inputs, from multiple choice to typing out answers

Drills randomise inputs, from multiple choice to typing out answers

On that last bit, it’s clear you’d have a tough battle against Duolingo. Tinycards may have its quirks and is naturally limited in scope to cramming fairly basic sets of facts into your head, but from sign language to the countries of Africa, there’s plenty to get to grips with – and loads of potential to aid anyone willing to learn, whatever their age.

With a system as friendly, usable and engaging as Tinycards, we can imagine many iPhone users starting to fill odd moments with gorging on a set of fact nuggets rather than firing up a social networking app or hurling balls at collectable cartoon creatures.

Review: Tinycards – smarter flash cards for iPhone
A breezy, modern take on flashcards, bolstered further by the option to make your own decks.
For
  • Loads of decks to try out
  • Make and share your own lessons
  • Genuinely helps you remember stuff
Against
  • The odd parser niggle
  • Some decks are a bit rubbish
4.4Overall Score