Learn about almost anything with Duolingo’s revolutionary education app
Size: 17.7 MB
Platform: iPhone and iPad
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.
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.
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.
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.