Small and beautiful – TinyCards

I am experimenting with Tinycards. Originally by Duolingo, the amazing language learning app, this may be useful for drills & preparing students for exams.

Here is a first attempt: a TinyCard deck for basic information on one of my teaching subjects, information systems – “IBIS Basics“. If you get it right, TinyCards reward you with a smiling face. If you complete a lesson, you get a golden smiling face. Simple enough but even after decades with smileys, it’s hard not to smile when someone smiles at you!

Image: screenshot of the dashboard – creating these cards is trivial and fun, too. I made this one in about 15 minutes.


TinyCards work equally well on the smartphone (where I do all my verb drills for my Italian language learning) and on the desktop. If you need to type in a little more text (as in my example) then the desktop is perhaps better. For simple drills, the smartphone rocks.

A card question – you get these during the “drill” phase after you’ve seen both sides of a card. At the top you see lesson progress. All text is read out loud by a pleasant female voice.

I’ll be making a few more of these and wait to see what the students think!

Here is how the cards look during the “new card” phase when you learn simple content. As the deck creator, you can decide if one or both sides ought to be learnt.

Image: one side of a card. You can design these as questions or as equivalents (as I have done).

Image: the other side of the same card. When you pick equivalents, the card can be learnt and used from both sides.

The last image shows TinyCards on my smartphone: as you can see, there’re not only language quizzes – this morning, I learnt something about muscles. You can decide to publish your content privately (only for yourself or to be shared by link) or publicly for everyone to see and use.

Image: screenshot capture of TinyCards on my smartphone.

Once you started a card deck, the app will also remind you to keep at it. The email lets you know what cards are up next to learn. Some people call this push-notification harassment, others like it (I rather like it).

Image: e-mail reminder from TinyCards if you did not complete a lesson.

Below is a video tutorial and review (5 min) by Richard Byrne that does a good job of explaining the details on how to create a set of cards yourself. As I am watching this, I wonder if it’s worth creating this for your own personal use. Perhaps not just for/by one person but students might collaborate on creating a card deck in a team or a study group – it’s that fast and simple.

2 thoughts on “Small and beautiful – TinyCards”

  1. Genial! Hab mir während den Prüfungsphasen oft exakt so eine App gewünscht! Zwar geht ein Teil der Lernerfahrung verloren wenn man die Karten nicht selbst erstellt, allerdings dürfte der Gamification Aspekt so weit zusätzlich motivieren das das wirklich ein ganz großes Projekt sein könnte! Ich hoffe sehr es geht nicht zu sehr in Ihren anderen unter, ich erinnere mich das ihr Modul damals etwas arg überfüllt an optionalen links und ideen war.
    Großartig Birkenkrahe!

    1. Dankeschön! Man kann die Karten auch im Team erstellen – als effektive Form des Transfers zwischen verschiedenen Studierenden, die sich bspw. auf eine Klausur vorbereiten oder Wissen zu einer Hausarbeit sammeln müssen. Meine Module sind nach wie vor mit Tools vollgestopft bis zum Bersten & das wird sich voraussichtlich auch nicht ändern, solange der gegenwärtige E-Learning Tech-Trend anhält…

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