Because you need to learn a programming language.
You need to learn it fast. You need to learn it cold.
You don't have years to spend learning the intricacies of SRS and Instructional Systems Design.
(I Got a Feelin' I'm Not the Only One)
Somebody looking to learn via spaced repetition (SRS) has many options when it comes to selecting an SRS system (apps and websites). But when it comes to the content (the cards) there are only two choices:
Unfortunately, both of these approaches are more challenging than you might initially expect.
There are some good decks out there. For certain things.
If you're looking to learn a spoken language, you can probably find a deck that meets your needs.
If you're looking to learn lists of things (e.g. geography or anatomy), you might find something useful.
But if you're looking to learn concept-intensive subjects - subjects that are structured, which require developing knowledge incrementally - there is very little available.
Even if you do happen to find a deck for a concept-intensive subject, it was probably created by a student, rather than experts. Which means that it was made without any real understanding of the subject, or of how students learn.
For most subjects, then, making your own deck is the only option.
But... in order to make your own deck:
To no one's surprise, it turns out that students don't have the skills needed to make an SRS deck. They don't have the time needed to make a deck. And they're not typically willing (or able) to dedicate themselves to a payoff that appears uncertain and far off in the future.
SRS technology has been widely available for over 20 years. Yet the vast majority of students and educators have never even heard of it, let alone successfully learned from it. That's not because it doesn't work - SRS has been proven to work better than anything else.
It's because developing a high quality deck for a concept-intensive subject is impossible for all but the very best students or in the simplest of learning tasks.
Professionally developed SRS flashcard decks are therefore the only realistic option for the vast majority of people trying to learn concept-intensive subjects via SRS.
This is who we are. This is what we do. This is why we exist.
SRSoterica integrates three essential areas of expertise in the development of every SRS deck:
Our decks aren't made by students - they're made by practicing professionals.
The curriculum and content of each deck is developed by multiple authors and/or editors, integrating diverse perspectives and backgrounds.
The result is decks that are comprehensive in their coverage of the subject - without being exhaustive.
ISD helps us to define learning objectives, and to identify the best teaching methods for achieving those objectives.
It takes into account the progressive (structured, incremental) nature of the overall subject, as well as the varying complexity of each topic within the subject.
It ensures that you don't just memorize things, you develop conceptual understanding.
Our decks aren't just sets of facts. You get tested on your ability to apply what you learn. You will analyze and evaluate the kinds of situations that you encounter in common practice.
The 20 Rules is a good start, but it's just the start.
You have to know how to present different types of material.
You have to develop different question patterns, and understand which patterns work best for which types of knowledge and/or levels of understanding.
You can't just rely on the SRS algorithm. You have to build in layers of reinforcement, both within and across individual topics.
When it comes to learning via SRS, none of these skill sets are optional.
This isn't the kind of product where you can start with something that's "good enough". You can't iterate your way to a great product. It has to be as close to perfect as possible. Before people start using it.
It took us six years to create our first deck. We discarded countless attempts over the years, starting anew each time.
In the process, we gradually acquired the SRS and ISD expertise. We gathered it into a sui generis pedagogy that informs the curriculum and the content of every deck that we make.
Every deck that is not just best in class, but wholly without peer.
Try one of our decks. If we don't live up to our claims, you can have your money back.