Disclaimer: Oliver Antosch, owner of the Antosch & Lin company offered me a premium account on his website so I could check his program.
What is it?
Learn with Oliver is a website that offers flashcards for language students. The words are divided by levels and topics. But as I always say, the important thing is context; this is the biggest advantage of the site Learn with Oliver that offers not only words, but also phrases and texts with audio. In addition, you can write your own text on the site and be corrected, besides that you can add your own words and phrases.
Currently the site offers flashcards for the following languages: Chinese, Danish, Dutch, French, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish and Thai. It also offers English for German , Korean, French, Portuguese and Russian speakers.
I tested the version to learn German and to start learning is quite simple, you just have to indicate the language you want to learn and a username, password, e-mail and your level.
This first part of putting your level is a super important step. Your level will determine what kind of vocabulary will appear to you.
To learn new vocabulary, you have several options, divided between learning phrases or words; I recommend always learning through complete sentences.
Word/Sentence Game: In this game, you have to select the sentence (or word) correctly in 20 seconds. Each correct answer earns you points that vary according to its difficulty.
By clicking on the correct answer, a new page will open and you will hear the phrase. Plus, you have the option to save it and look at each word (translated into English) of the sentence, and may even save the individual words. If you want to learn more about a word, you can choose to look at other sentences with the same word. Still, you can make word lists and add personal notes to these lists.
If you miss the answer or reply out of time the game ends. The game has no limits of questions, the goal here is always to challenge yourself and make the maximum points.
Multiple choice (word/sentence): basically the same as the above, but no points or time to respond.
Review Word/Sentence: after learning the phrases, you should review them from time to time. For this serves this part of the site. The phrases appear randomly and to see the answer you just have to move your mouse pointer over the “See Answer” button and choose when reviewing the word again. The site features an automatic time system for review, but if you want you can edit these options, including never see the word/phrase again.
Writing Exercise (word/sentence): here you have to write the sentence correctly. If in doubt, you can click “Show Hint“, which always shows the first letter of all words of sentences. In the case of words, it shows the first letters of the word.
Review Words (reverse): This part of the site is only available for words. Instead of seeing the word in your target language, you will see the word in English and you have to remember the word in the target language. Much more challenging because you are obliged to remember the word actively and not just recognize it.
Word Order Exercise: one of my worst problems in German is to get the word order right. This exercise is perfect to train it.
Game Gap Sentences: one of the most common exercises in books is also available on the site in the form of a game.
Game Sound Word/Sentences: you just want to test your listening? These games are perfect for this. The difficulty is higher than the normal game.
Mixed Word/Sentence exercise: instead of choosing a type of exercise, do it all at once.
Text Analyser: Here you can type or paste a text and ask the site to analyze it. Instead of translating, it will show the recognized words below. If you want, you can save all these words in a list.
Texts: are all translated with audio, divided by level categories and topics.
Write an essay: as the name says it, in this part of the site you can write your text and have it corrected.
Correct Essays: here you can help the community by correcting texts of other users.
Combo Mode: In this exercise, words and phrases are played automatically (in English and German) and you don’t need to look at the screen. Good for practice listening or hear phrases and words while you’re doing something else on the computer.
Progress Tests: You can test yourself from time to time and check on a graph how much you improved. Each test lasts 500 seconds. The clock stops when you got the word/sentence right and see the word on the “sentence page”, where you can add it to your list of words.
Newsletter: the site also offers a newsletter (daily or weekly) with phrases to be studied. Moreover, it sends words of your own lists to be studied.
Customize your experience
This is one of the most interesting points of the site. In “settings” you can customize your level, if you want to receive the newsletter and how often. Also, you can pause the newsletter, for example, during your vacation. You can also customize your exercises and menu. And, the most interesting, the “fluency settings“:
In this option, you can choose how quick you want to learn the language; three months, one year, 10 years? And the site will calculate the daily use time required to achieve your goal. And don’t worry, you don’t need to stare at the clock, the website shows you exactly how much of your goal you’ve achieved.
You can add a word or phrase to the site. This contribution is visible to administrators of the site, which will eventually include the word on the site.
How I use the site
I start studying a few sentences, if necessary, I hear a phrase several times to get used to, I do the same thing with difficult words. Then, I add all the words to my list. I mark as “known”, the words that I know very well. When I find a word that I really want to learn, I choose “Example sentences” and I add almost all of these sentences on my list (unless the sentence is far above my level). By doing this, I see the same word being used in several different contexts, in addition to retaining the word more easily; I can understand better the meaning(s) of it.
Basically, I do the same thing with the texts. I hear several times, add all the words and I choose some that look more interesting/important to my studies.
The best thing about the website, for language lovers like me, is the various options of languages, despite having used only the German version. I can use the site to review my other languages or learn a new one and only pay one price.
The site is quite “customizable“. You can edit your lists, your level and how fast you want to learn. By indicating this, you know how much you have to study each day to achieve your goal.
Audio, this is a missing element in many flashcards, but it is essential for good pronunciation and to listening.
I can add my own sentences.
Easy to contact. Typically, the site developer, Oliver, answers quickly to e-mails and accepts suggestions for improving the site.
The website design is not very attractive.
Sometimes the site is confusing. To find some options, such as games with audio or sentence order, I had to keep looking (read it: hunting). And, I found only one possible way, putting these options in my customize menu.
Another problem was
finding my corrected texts [EDIT: After I published this post this problem was fixed] . Whenever there is a comment, I get an email, which is great. But I cannot find it on the site. The only option is to save all e-mails. Something that is not practical.
The Learnwitholiver.com site have several games options to lighten the learning process. Moreover, the fact that you can edit many of its options makes it personal. See a word or phrase in 5 minutes or never is extremely valuable for a language student. Still, the fact that words, sentences and texts are accompanied by audio makes of it a complete flashcards system.
Most of the site’s features are free; the premium account costs $8 a month and serves for all languages on the site, so I recommend it, especially for multilinguals.
And you? Do you know the website? What is your opinion about it?