Help organizing daily schedule
I am hoping to draw on the collective organizational skills of all the podders'.
Having started learning three years ago, with a modest plan of one lesson per day, I found myself having failed miserably. I probably finished about 120 lessons in this time, but I want to get back on that track.
I find my greatest weakness is organizing the lesson and review mp3s into a daily routine. Similar to a pimsleur system, I want to have a daily playlist, with one lesson, and 4 review sessions in it, resulting in about 45 minute investment.
now for the question:
Is there any way to use the chinesepod website to create a set of playlists like this, and then sync them to the iPhone automatically?
I have tried doing it on the main PC, but found it cumbersome, and difficult to sync, hence I am looking for a way to do it via the website. I feel this lack of organization is one of the major barriers to adherence to the study plan. Can you share any ideas, guys?
I see there is a Course functionality, but I don't see a way for myself to create a custom course. I imagine this would be what I need, but I don't really know, has anyone tried the course thing?
pretzellogicApril 03, 2012, 02:42 PM
First of all, great job going through the 120 lessons. You didn't say which level of lessons you went through, but I congratulate you for persevering. You could have given up long ago.
I came at cpod having used pimsleur, and tried to use cpod in a "pimsleur way". For me, "cpod as pimsleur" doesn't work at higher than cpod intermediate level.
The more I reread your request, I realize I'm not much help. Generally I don't use the website to create playlists of lessons. I'm wouldn't be surprised that the capability exists to do what you want, but I don't know how to do that either. I download the mp3 direct to my PC's hardrive (both to permanently store the mp3s forever, and to prevent me from being locked into Apple's proprietary iTunes system). I do use the website to create flashcards to download into my iPod, and into Pleco. Suspect that's not what you want.
I am preparing the "fix" files (or reviews, as I call them). Generally a daily playlist would have a new lesson, and a fix from yesterday, a fix from 5 days ago, 25 days, and 90 days. I need to generate these playlists on a daily basis, and ideally access them from iPhone, and be able to access the extra voc, tests, etc
And ye, I am right in the middle of intermediate level, you are very right. It seems that this approach is becoming a bit less useful than before, but I don't have any idea how to modify it yet. I just want to make this process a bit easier so that I could work it into the daily routine without too much overhead and pre-planning.
pretzellogicApril 03, 2012, 03:06 PM
By the way, when you say,
I want to have a daily playlist, with one lesson, and 4 review sessions in it
for review sessions, do you mean the cpod fix? if so, is that four separate fixes from 4 different lessons?
A very thought provoking question. Even CPod's flashcards don't use spaced repetition, so I don't think the programmers ever considered the possibility of having lessons bubble back up just in time for a timely review before being forgotten. Now that you mention it the idea seems so blatantly obvious that I am embarrassed that I never thought of it, especially since I am familiar with Pimsleur. I guess CPod's "practical language" approach has led them away from sequential curriculum planning, and the "your time, your place, your pace" ethos probably also works against the idea of structuring prescribed reviews. I suppose I sort of haphazardly try to review recent material by selecting it from the first page of recent lessons on the iPhone app, but even then I find myself tending to want to group things by theme rather than arrange them in the order studied.
I think the Chinese Pod audio reviews are quite a bit different from Pimsleur. Within a single review, they do seem too be spaced repetition, but in a more random way. Also, I never seem to be able to "use the words in context" by translating the given cue, so it just ends up being a memorization exercise rather than me generating an actual sentence. Also there are not long enough pauses for the material to sink in, I feel.
I don't think "Courses" is going to get you where you want to go.
I doubt if CPod would implement something like this anytime soon (I think they are more focused on other enhancements, such as video and new programming) rather than computer code. Maybe a third party users with access to the API could create something that would analyze your personal history and feed you refreshers from 5 days, 25 days, and 90 days ago, but other than that I don't have any good suggested solutions.
Everything that you said, I totally agree with. I'm also embarrassed to say that I didn't think of doing a 5,25,and 90 day review with a cpod fix. I would also love to integrate the fix into a daily routine.
Regarding the API.... yeah, the more I think about it, the more I think that would really be cool to have something on the cpod site to do this type of "tailored to your lessons" SRS. Cpod used to have the cpod uservoice, where we could suggest improvements to the site. Not really sure where to make this suggestion these days.
rootApril 04, 2012, 08:09 AM
Great to hear you guys like this study plan. While not quite SRS, it would be much easier to implement, without any point tracking. And yes, I did find the pauses are sometimes too short in the fixes, hence I have to use a fairly convenient MP3 player to pause manually. But the structure of the fixes fits perfectly with the Pimsleur method: question, recall, correct answer, adjust and repeat. In fact, this is what gave me the idea to keep with the Pimsleur timing as well.
As far as SRS, there are many specialized tools, I use 3: anki, iknow and pleco. Would be lovely if I could integrate CPod audio content into that , but that's another project.
I guess what I am looking for here is a special rss podcast with my daily playlist (lesson00, fix01, fix05, fix25, fix90), instead of (lesson00, fix00, dialog00, PDF00). That would be ideal, for my version of "study on my own terms" -- I can study anytime without thought about content choice, I have a 45 min lesson always ready.
I just got a new iPod shuffle, that's what got me thinking about it again. I would just load one day's worth of files on it, and carry it with me everywhere until I have that chunk of time. The pause function should work very well.
I really need to improve my motivation, I don't know if this would do the trick, but here's to hoping...
chrisApril 04, 2012, 02:05 PM
My thoughts echo many of the comments made above already. Spaced repetition on Anki has worked wonders for my character recognition, particularly now that I am doing my reviews religiously each day rather than letting the occasional day slip. I have about 6000 chinesepod vocab in various decks in Anki now and I'm amazed at how quickly I'm whizzing through the daily few hundred that come up for review now. My only concern is whether I am "truly" recognising the individual characters in each of the words, or am I simply recognising the general shape and making an educated guess at the word because I've reviewed them so many times now, e.g. would I recognise the same word completely out of the Anki context in a newspaper say...
I also had never thought about adopting this SRS approach with my library of studied CPOD lessons. Given the progress i'm making with Anki, I should probably consider this. To be honest, with the high frequency of new CPOD content, I actually never review a lesson once i've studied it. This is probably slowing me down since i'm always focusing on new stuff and not properly embedding the old stuff.
In reply to your comment about not knowing if you are "truly" recognizing characters. I have had exactly the same issue. I began to be amazed at how often I would use my scroll over popup dictionary on a website to find that I already "should" know the word quite well.
The problem I find with SRS, is that it is easy to recognize a character when you have just added or recently failed it because your mind knows that you recently added or failed a character with that general shape. This does not mean you would recognize it in a sea of characters with a similar shape!
As for how to fix this... I am not quite sure but it is something I am trying to figure out.
One thing I am doing is going back to writing and using SRS for testing it (I use Pleco with an English translation on the question side with Mandarin audio of the word playing out to help with those cards where the same translation may relate to multiple different chars). First I went with the radicals then onto a list of the most common 13000+ characters ranked in order of use. I have finished the radical and up to about the first 300 most common chars and can say this has helped a lot with recognition and being able to recognize the different components. The only downside to this is that it is time intensive.
The second thing I am trying it just reading without the "aim" of learning. So I will go to a website and read some articles. Anytime I come across a new word, I will scroll over it with my popup translator so I can understand the sentence but then I won't give it much thought after that. The idea here is to get used to picking words I know out of the pack and add a bit of relaxed learning. Also I hope that the more common words that I don't know will start to stick in time anyway because you will be encountering them frequently.
I would be interested to hear other peoples suggestions on this. Perhaps it is something for another post though so I don't hijack root's thread!
Hmm, I suppose you could make decks of cards with each deck having 5 ~ 10 "families" of similar-looking characters, maybe 2~5 each, for a deck of 10~50 cards. You might be able to find a list of such characters as a source. I have seen such lists in the appendix of books. Based on your strategy I might try doing this in Skritter.
Wow, very awesome you can do your Anki review every day. I can only hope I can get to that consistency with CPod. Somehow it was pretty easy to maintain with Pimsleur, but then again, it was at a very easy level, I don't know
As far as similar shape characters, it is very true. I mostly use iknow for characters, and the review sometimes has multiple-choice parts -- which often includes similar looking unlearnt characters in the test. That's when I really find out if I know it or not. It is very helpful, especially since you've never seen the other characters.
Hi root, I have a 20-25 minute commute to work each morning. I find that if I force myself (reviewing Chinese characters at the crack of dawn doesn't tend to be that appealing!) and focus on Anki during my commute, I can generally get through all my required reviews.
The additional incentive of course is that if you miss a day, it just means more cards are included for your review the next day...
I also like Podster's suggestion above - grouping similar shaped characters/words into a separate Anki deck would really help to ensure one is recognising the character rather than the general shape.I actually have a lot of words starting with "bao", "fa", "fan" and "fang" that keep coming up in my reviews at the moment, due to me continuously getting them wrong! There really are a lot of words beginning with different characters that each have these pinyin, e.g. baoshou, baoqian, baochou, baozhi, baokan, baogui, etc, etc.....
The commute time is perfect, that is a very good point. I usually go to work with my colleagues, but when I do get to travel alone I do find myself naturally motivated to use that time for study...
Maybe i can figure out how to rearrange my commute so that I will have more time to study and get motivated !! Or finally break down and get a car, is anyone listening to CPod while driving , in China or otherwise ?
When I lived in the US, I used to have a 1 hour commute from home to office (1.5 hours or more if it snowed/rained). I was using Pimsleur and Living Language in those days. I listened to the entire Pimsleur series (mandarin 1-3), and listened to about 2 of the 4 Living Language Mandarin CDs. Then I discovered Cpod around February 2008. I would burn cpod mp3s onto CDs, and listen to them in the car during the commute. I listened to about 100 newbie lessons or so in about 8-10 months. then I got bored. I stopped for about a month. then another few months listening to Elementary lessons. Maybe I went through about 20-40 elementary lessons. Again, I started getting bored with Chinese learning. It was during that period that I started thinking "if I go back to China, it won't be for years! when am I going to need this?" Little did I know that I'd move to China in another year or so.....