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Friday, March 4, 2016
Memrise is easier to get started with, Anki is more configurable.
They have a lot in common. Both use SRS, images and audio and both have online and mobile support. The greatest difference for me was Memrise’s philosophy of using memorable mnemonics. With Memrise you either choose a “mem” (a memorable image) that a community member has created or you can create your own. Memrise encourages you to create your own associations for items and has a built-in image search and “Mem” creator, unlike Anki where you need something like Multi Search to help with browser tabs and research. Anki certainly *can* support unique associations, as Gabe has shown with the “Personal Connection” field, but they are foundational to Memrise (although you can delete them if you wish.) With Anki, I found my decks got a little boring over time whereas Memrise “mems” are easy to make ridiculous and memorable.
Studying with both is similar. I would say that the Memrise web interface is stronger for studying but not deck creation, and doesn’t have a desktop app like Anki. Both mobile apps are strong for studying, I would say. Memrise has a social/game element that can be motivating for some people.
Anki has more options. Memrise lists are simply word pairs (“cat”/”gato”) with optional audio file and part of speech label (“noun”). There is no way AFAIK to add new fields like “IPA pronunciation” or “Extra Info.” Memrise has bunk import but it’s not pretty. Most people on Memrise use established word lists.
I prefer the ease of use of Memrise, but now that I am following the Fluent Forever system, I am back on Anki and happy with it. Both are great tools within a larger system of learning. Again, these are just my meagre opinions!