How to study with podcast decks

I created a tool, that converts podcasts to Anki decks (but only applied this to the Nihongo con Teppei podcast so far ;)). The purpose of these decks is to practice listening comprehension efficiently. Here are my recommendations for using them. In a nutshell, use Anki as a stop-and-go podcast player that automatically pauses after each flashcard. Here’s how this works:

  • In one session, try to go through an entire episode of the podcast. You don’t have to understand everything, getting the key message is enough. Sometimes it may be helpful to just listen to one episode first and then do the Anki deck.
  • Don’t read the text on the card, unless you don’t understand something. The decks are for practicing listening comprehension.
  • If you don’t understand something, press “r” to play the audio again.
  • Most of the time, you continue “playing” the podcast by deleting the current flashcard (ctrl + del, the audio between flashcards is seamless).
  • Immediately delete parts that are: too difficult / too easy / too boring / sense-clear-although-not-everything-understood.
  • Keep: Interesting sentences / phrases / words, perfect are cards with at most 1 new term (word or grammar).
  • Using my Anki addon, you can easily look up unknown words by selecting text on the card.
  • If an entire episode is too boring, delete it completely.
  • Whenever what’s being said on a flashcard makes no sense, click the YouTube link. This opens the podcast on YouTube five seconds before the current flashcard. The context provided by this often makes things clearer.

A few general remarks:

  • The transcriptions are generated automatically, thus contain errors. Most common are missing words, wrong words and wrong word borders. The overall quality is quite good, though.
  • The decks are designed to be used with my Anki addon, which adds many useful tools for learning Japanese (dictionary, kana & kanji trainer, furigana generation, card management). However, they also work without the addon.
  • The flashcards should only serve as a short term accelerator, which means to keep them in Anki only for a short amount of time. The jlab addon automatically takes care of this. Whenever you don’t want to do old cards at all, delete them entirely.
  • Instead of flashcard grinding, listen to interesting podcast episodes again or start with a new episode.
  • I recommend to set the “steps” of Anki’s answer button to “5 20”, this means: If you keep a card with the default answer button, the card will be shown again after 20 minutes and not pop up again while you step through a podcast episode. This can be done in the deck options, my Anki addon sets “5 20” as default for you.