This is a continuation of my series of little but often exercises. The basic idea is that sometimes the mot efficient way to learn a language can be to spend 10- 15 minutes really doing, rather than one hour getting bored. This works particularly well internet based exercises, for those times you are sitting in front of your computer and you feel the need to do something else for a bit.
Learning vocabulary with Verbalearn
The little but often approach is really relevant for learning words, as most experts would tell you that you need to reuse a word at least 5-6 times before you can be said to have learnt it. This is what Verbalearn does for you. It builds a wordlist for you to study and it gives you a series of questions on those words. Each time you log on, it tests you on the words. Once you have got those words right you move on to the next list.
What is right about the program is that it gets you to look at the same words over again. Technically this is just right. Also it gives you short dictionary definitions with sample sentences to show you how to use the words. What I am not so sure about is whether the exercises are interesting or varied enough for people to come back to time and again. That’s for you to decide. Also, the wordlists are contain very complex language – language that is unnecessary for IELTS. Typically, it’s not the big words you need, but the short ones used well. So my recommendation would be to start with the ESL intermediate list.
If you’re interested, go take a look at it here.