Users create flashcards to memorise and review vocabulary or topic content. They match language to text, images, sounds and video through games and activities. There’s also a live team game for use by a class in a lesson.
Users can access Quizlet via a website or app. Sign up is easy and the app in particular is easy to use. The website isn’t tricky but there are a few more menus and icons there to navigate around. The free version is ad-supported which means that adverts appear on the page. This can be a bit distracting but it’s obvious where the advert begins and ends, unlike ads on some sites which trick you into thinking they’re part of the site so you click on them; something I’ve fallen for more than once!
Language level and skills.
Reviewing vocabulary is an activity that learners don’t always find the time or motivation for outside the classroom, and yet it’s so important for language learning. The ability to remember the meaning of a word or recall a word is essential for the development of reading, writing, listening and speaking skills. This tool provides learners of all levels with the opportunity to memorise new words and phrases efficiently and in a fairly engaging way in and out of the classroom.
Language learning content.
Quizlet provides some paid-for flashcard sets although at the moment these don’t include English as a foreign/second language. I personally think this is fine, because to me Quizlet works best when learners create their own sets or take another user’s set and edit it (after all, why reinvent the wheel?). Learners are forced to think more deeply about the language, essential for creating connections in the brain. Learners can also get creative when completing the back of the card. Rather than just a definition, they could have a collocate, an antonym, or a gapped example sentence about themselves.
Once learners have their vocabulary set, they can complete a number of different study activities or games that help them to memorise the vocabulary, each with useful feedback on where they went wrong and what they got right. The Learn option is designed to recognise which items learners struggle with, and recycle them more often. By doing activities, learners can reflect on strengths and weaknesses, and set goals. They can identify progress which helps to build confidence. In addition to that, if they upgrade, teachers can monitor learners’ progress which helps to inform future lessons.
Quizlet offers an in-class game called Quizlet Live where learners work in teams and compete against each other. This game allows learners to share knowledge in a fun way in the classroom. Other than that, collaborative opportunities come, not through the site, but in the way the tool is exploited. For example, teachers could have pairs of learners creating sets of flashcards in class and then sharing a link to them with other pairs who work together to do activities with the set.
Learning through language.
The focus of Quizlet is on helping learners to memorise something. This is essential for language learning, but it does mean that the tool doesn’t really help learners to develop other skills, such as intercultural understanding or critical thinking skills. Learners learning other subjects in English, however, can create flashcards to help them learn key items e.g. terms related to earthquakes for science students, or terms related to portrait painting for art students.
Supporting teaching and learning.
If learners have a device and access to the internet while on the go, they can review words of their choosing any time, anywhere. No excuses! All it takes is a few minutes each day to make a difference. After all, spaced out learning is better than cramming it all in just before a test. Teachers may need to spend some class time motivating learners to review the vocabulary, or asking them to feed back on their progress to highlight the importance of vocabulary learning. However, they may also find that they spend less time in class explaining previously taught vocabulary.
Technical: user safety and data security.
Learners can access a set of flashcards without the need to register or log in. However, if they want to create their own flashcards, they must register and be over 13. Teachers and learners must be aware that adverts and other users’ flashcards may be inappropriate for a particular set of learners. Quizlet say they only collect users’ data when necessary and will only share it to provide their own services. Users have some control over their privacy when creating card sets. Finally, Quizlet has a very useful Help Centre to help teachers and learners use the tool.