Providing students in your online courses with a variety of methods to interact with your lessons can greatly impact their retention, completion rates and general satisfaction with the course. Among the “classic” ways to add variety of interactivity, along side quizzes, polls, videos and discussions, is the flashcard. These are particularly useful when there is a set of information you want students in your online courses to memorize.
Studyblue is an online learning platform dedicated to modernizing the flashcard. It includes a web-based flashcard creation tool and a flashcard player that works in the browser as well as on mobile and tablet via Studyblue provided apps.
Here’s how the system works. You can log in to Studyblue and browse the categories of learning available. Then, you can select to launch a flashcard to study it. Studyblue includes the option to first review the flashcards, then a quiz option to test yourself, which is generated easily off the same content in the flashcards. Here’s what the launcher looks like:
Once launched the flashcard behaves pretty much the way you would expect it to, and is very intuitive and easy to use. The first side of the card or the “term” is first presented to you. Here, an image of a piece of art is shown, but it can be any image or text that you’d like:
The student can then click on the term to see the “definition.” While the definition can be quite long, we find that for online learning, the shorter the definition the better, particularly because the longer definitions require scrolling, which defeats the “flash” element of this memorization method. So, on click of the “term” card, the app flips over to the “definition” card:
The student can continue on by marking with a thumbs up or down if they think they got the answer right. This is self-scored, not tested at this point; later the quiz option will allow for marking. But the student can continue as they like until satisfied that they’ve got the answers more often than not.
On completion the student gets a nicely formated “score” for their session. This is what that looks like:
The tool also allows for the automatic generation of a quiz based on the terms and definitions provided. Here again the UI works best if the definitions are not overlong, otherwise it gets a bit awkward to use. This is not a fault of the Studyblue tool by the way, it is just something the card creators need to keep in mind. This is what the quiz looks like:
Overall, for what it is designed to do, Studyblue is a well executed tool. It is, however, a single focus elearning content type. It can work well in the larger elearning context as a supplementary tool. However, deeply integrating it with your courses that might be hosted on Siminars, Udemy, or other site isn’t easy. At writing, there is no integration API for Studyblue so we’re not sure that the multipurpose learning tools can even do anything about this, short of building their own flashcard tools which will doubtless be less powerful than the Studyblue tool, at least in their first version. However, there are ways you can use Studyblue with your courses hosted on other platforms:
1. Use Flashcards as a Marketing Tool. The flashcards are a fun, visual way to explore concepts and function as a “low threat” quiz. You’ll notice that Studyblue tool includes the option to share on social media. At the end of your deck you can invite users to learn more or improve their score through your course hosted on Udemy, Siminars, or Skillshare.
2. Make the Flashcards a Shareable Assignment. One of the great things about Studyblue is it is designed as way for students to create their own tools! So, in Siminars, for example, you can create an action task that tells students to create their own flashcards. Add a link to Studyblue and invite the students to submit their study guides to your Siminar community to be upvoted; the best guides will float to the top and can benefit all participants.
3. Use the Flashcards as Follow Up Gifts. Create a set of professional grade, shareable flashcards as special tools available to participants a certain time after they complete the course, as a “refresher.” These can be outside of your course, for example on your blog/website as a way to keep students coming back for more.
If you don’t want to use Studyblue, you can always create flashcards in PDF format for download in your full online course. It is not nearly as interactive and rich, but it gets the job done in a pinch.
What other ways can you think of to use the concept of e-flashcards in online learning?