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The ultimate vocabulary learning software

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o - Reviews & awards
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o User testimonials
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  Scholars   Educational websites  
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Prof. Olaf Böhlke (CALICO)
Bill Walker, MA
Prof. Jeff Maggard (CALL-EJ)
Prof. Guadalupe Aguado de Cea (Ibérica)
Prof. Lone Ambjørn
Prof. Paul Hulbert
Prof. Allan Krill
Prof. Dirk Siepmann
Prof. Timothy Takemoto
Asist. univ. Gabriela Mihãilã-Licã
Mara Balzer et al.
Markus Ertmer
Michael Jeffon (CALL-EJ)
Jochen Lüders
Paula Molloy
Tatsuya Nakata
Hugh Roderick Rosszell
Pavol Štekauer

Learn Spanish Rapidly
Memorization Software Reviewed
Spanisch Lernen Online
Top Ten Reviews
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    Prof. Olaf Böhlke
      In CALICO Software Review 11/02, Prof. Olaf Böhlke (Creighton University, USA) wrote about VTrain 4.0:
It may be surprising to some readers that the CALICO Journal is reviewing a drill & practice program in this day and age, since this type of activity is often associated with the early days of the personal computer. But there are compelling reasons why VTrain can be an excellent study tool." and "Using VTrain can be a time saving and efficient choice to study and retain knowledge at any level."

His scaled rating for VTrain (1 low - 5 high) was:
- -- - -
  Implementation possibilities:   4.5
  Pedagogical features:   4
  Use of computer capabilities:   4
  Ease of use (author + teacher / student):   4.5 / 4.5
  Overall evaluation:   4.5
  Value for money:   5

The only feature missed by Prof. Böhlke (a correction markup algorithm) was implemented later in VTrain 5.0.

CALICO is one of the best reputed online collection of educational software reviews.

Olaf Böhlke is assistant professor of German and director of the Hitchcock Language Resource Center at Creighton University. His areas of interest include real-time text-based communication and computer-mediated communication (CMC), web-based language learning, student-learning assessment techniques, and German Studies.
    Bill Walker, MA       In "VTrain", TESL-EJ, Volume 10, Number 3 (October 2006), Bill Walker wrote:
Learning how to use the program is not entirely intuitive. (...) However, patience pays off. (...) Overall, VTrain is a richly endowed program offering a great range of flexibility and options for users willing to put in the time necessary to create pedagogically sound training cards."

TESL-EJ, Teaching English as a Second of Foreign Language, .

Bill Walker holds an MA in TESL from San Francisco State University. He is a core instructor at the American English Institute at the University of Oregon.
    Prof. Jeff Maggard       In "Software Review: VTrain 3.0 - Virtual Flash Cards for Language Learners", CALL-EJ Online Vol. 4, No. 1 (June 2002), Prof. Jeff Maggard wrote:
[VTrain] is much more than a simple memorization device: it is also a powerful flashcard authoring tool. (...) Moreover, VTrain's flexibility and its student-centered approach to learning make it worth adopting, particularly in the Japanese context. If instructors and curriculum planners have basic programming skills, VTrain could become a valuable addition to any foreign language curriculum or self-access learning environment."

CALL-EJ Online (Computer Assisted Language Learning Electronic Journal) is a Japanese-Australian venture that features reviews on educational software.

Jeff Maggard has been teaching ESL and EFL for 12 years. He currently teaches content-based EFL courses in Sociology, Political Science, and Information Technology at Miyazaki International College in southern Japan. Research interests include sociolinguistics, peace studies, language policy, and CALL.
    Prof. Guadalupe Aguado de Cea       In her review "VTrain 4.1", published in Ibérica No. 6 (Fall 2003), Prof. Guadalupe Aguado de Cea (Universidad Politécnica de Madrid) wrote:
Nevertheless, many of such computer programs and publications on this topic lack a sound theoretical foundation that could serve as a framework for the development of multimedia applications building upon the empirical results of that technology. (...) VTrain (Vocabulary Trainer) is based on some of those theoretical concepts, as laid out in its Methodological Principles."

[Original text in Spanish: "Sin embargo, se echan de menos en muchos de estos programas y en las publicaciones sobre estos temas unas bases teóricas sólidas que, recogiendo los aspectos empíricos derivados de estas tecnologías, sirvan de marco para el desarrollo de las aplicaciones multimedia. (...) VTrain (Vocabulary Trainer) recoge, como explica en sus principios metodológicos, algunas de estas bases teóricas."]

Ibérica is the journal of the AELFE (European Association of Languages for Specific Purposes), located at the Universitat de València in Spain.

Guadalupe Aguado de Cea works at the Departamento de Lingüística Aplicada, Facultad de Informática, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Spain.
    Prof. Lone Ambjørn       In her working paper "Formalsproglig kompetence og IT" (2002) Lone Ambjørn mentioned VTrain among selected vocabulary-learning programs.

Lone Ambjørn works at the Fakultet for Sprog og Erhvervskommunikation, Aarhus School of Business, Denmark.
    Prof. Paul Hulbert       Prof. Paul Hulbert references the Scientific Background page of the VTrain website in his paper "Quizzes - Just a Matter of Fact?", which describes the results of an Action Research project analyzing a group of final year undergraduates on a one semester Technical Editing course.

Prof. Paul Hulbert works at the Faculty of Computing, Engineering and Mathematical Sciences, Computing Department, University of the West of England.
    Prof. Allan Krill       On the website of 2Know, a memorization software, Prof. Allan Krill says about VTrain:
This is off topic but it is such a terrific program, I just had to list it. This is a flash card program on steroids. Highly recommended."

Prof. Allan Krill works at the Carnegie Mellon University Computer Science Department and the Lancaster University Computing Department.
    Prof. Dirk Siepmann       Prof. Dirk Siepmann featured VTrain in his lecture "Psycholinguistic aspects of vocabulary learning" in the advanced seminars held during the summer term 2004 and the winter term 2005.

Prof. Dirk Siepmann lectures in the English department at Siegen University and in the English department at Bochum University.
    Prof. Timothy Takemoto       Prof. Timothy Takemoto says in Moodle.org:
I have been set the task of getting some "WBT" going to support our English education here at Yamaguchi University. I have been experimenting with a few different types of software. (...) VTrain is a great flash card program but we have the lesson module, and I don't think that my students would use it unless they are marked."

And yes, VTrain was devised as a training tool rather than an examination system. Check out the
What's New page to find out about the Teacher Mode we intend to implement in future versions.

Prof. Timothy Takemoto works at Yamaguchi University.
    Asist. univ.
Gabriela Mihăilă-Lică
      Asist. univ. (by then Prep. univ.) Gabriela Mihãilã-Licã mentions VTrain as useful for suggestopedic learning purposes in her paper "Suggestopedia - a wonder approach to learning foreign languages?", published in the 2002-2003 yearbook of the Land Forces Military Academy "Nicolae Bãlcescu".

Asist. univ. Gabriela Mihãila-Licã works at the Land Forces Military Academy (Academia Fortelor Terestre) "Nicolae Bãlcescu" in Sibiu, Romania.
    Mara Balzer
Anne Schilling
      VTrain was featured in the lectures "Vorträge zur Übung Multimediale Lehr- u. Lernsysteme" (2005) by Mara Balzer and Anne Schilling.

Mara Balzer and Anne Schilling work at the Lehr- und Forschungseinheit Medieninformatik, Institut für Informatik of the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Germany.
    Markus Ertmer       VTrain is mentioned in "Kognitionslinguistische und lernpsychologische Überlegungen für den Entwurf eines Tools zur Unterstützung autonomen Wortschatzerwerbs" published by Markus Ertmer in PICS (Publications of the Institute of Cognitive Science), vol. 08-2006.

Markus Ertmer is a member of the Cognitive Science Doctorate Program of the University of Osnabrück.
    Michael Geffon       In "VTrain and Vocab - Virtual Flash Cards for Language Learners", CALL-EJ Online Vol. 4, No. 1 (June 2002), Michael Geffon wrote:
Overall, I found VTrain quirky, and although not all functions operated as advertised or expected, motivated learners can probably overlook these blemishes and make productive use of the program."

CALL-EJ Online (Computer Assisted Language Learning Electronic Journal) is a Japanese-Australian venture that features reviews on educational software.

Michael Geffon has been the CALL Administrator at Sakuragaoka Girls' Jr. & Sr. High School in Tokyo since 1998. He is currently pursuing a Master's degree in the Educational Technology Leadership Program in the Graduate School of Education and Human Development at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
    Jochen Lüders       On his "Englisch-Seiten", a site addressing English Language teachers, Jochen Lüders wrote:
VTrain is the best commercial vocabulary learning software I know (being, however, quite inexpensive at 15 Euros)."

[Original text in German: "
VTrain ist der beste mir bekannte kommerzielle Vokabeltrainer (der mit 15 € jedoch sehr günstig ist)."]

On the other hand, in his paper "Wortschatzlernen mit der Lernkartei - Anspruch und Wirklichkeit" ("Learning vocabulary with Leitner's flashcard system - Expectations and reality"), published in PRAXIS Fremsprachenunterricht 1/2005, a German magazine directed at language teachers, he wrote:
Learning is even more effective if the students can be persuaded to get themselves a good [vocabulary drilling] software like VTrain."

[Original text in German: "Noch effektiver wird die Arbeit, wenn man die Schüler dazu bringen kann, sich ein gutes Programm wie VTrain anzuschaffen."]

Jochen Lüders teaches ESL at the Maria-Theresia-Gymnasium [high school] in Munich, Germany.
    Paula Molloy       In her thesis "An Online Tool for L2 Vocabulary Collection and Learning" (2005), B.A. candidate Paula Molloy wrote:
The VTrain program contains many good design features. (...) However, the flashcard system by nature does not provide a context for the new words, instead presenting them on an individual basis. As a result, the student will not learn the full range of meanings and usages of a word, so their vocabulary knowledge will be incomplete. Also, the limited and unhelpful feedback provided when the user enters an incorrect answer can be frustrating, and does nothing to help with the
identification of problem areas.

Obviously, flashcard-based learning focuses on the learning of fragmented information, and needs to be complemented with tasks aimed at contextual learning (see the Scientific Background section in the VTrain help file). On the other hand, Ms. Molloy's review refers to VTrain 4.0, and the feedback feature has been greatly improved in VTrain 5.0 with the introduction of the
Correction Markup capability.

Paula Molloy wrote this paper to discuss Lexical Organizer, a software developed at the University of Dublin, Trinity College.
    Tatsuya Nakata       Tatsuya Nakata reviewed VTrain along with other software titles in his paper "Computer-assisted second language vocabulary learning in a paired-associate paradigm: a critical investigation of flashcard software", Computer Assisted Language Learning, Volume 24 (2011): 17-38.

Onomasiology Online is a linguistic journal edited by Joachim Grzega and Alfred Bammesberger at the University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt, Germany.

The author is a PhD Candidate affiliated to the School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand.
    Hugh Roderick Rosszell       In his doctoral dissertation, the author calls VTrain "a good example of on-line vocabulary learning software".

    Pavol Štekauer
Don Chapman
Slavka Tomascikova
Štefan Franko
      Štekauer et al. reference the Classification of Languages page of the VTrain website in their paper "Word-formation as creativity within productivity constraints: sociolinguistic evidence", Onomasiology Online 6 (2005): 1-55.

Onomasiology Online is a linguistic journal edited by Joachim Grzega and Alfred Bammesberger at the University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt, Germany.

The authors work at the Department of British and American Studies, Pre
šov University, Slovakia, except for Don Chapman, who works at the Department of Linguistics and English Language, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, USA.
     Educational websites            


      VTrain was reviewed by Graham A Stephen in es-xchange:
VTrain provides a very flexible solution for learning virtually any subject by means of flashcards — which are, of course, an ideal method of reviewing vocabulary when learning another language."

es-xchange is a blog focusing on high-quality resources and tips for native English and Spanish speakers wanting to learn languages.

Learn Spanish Rapidly

      VTrain was reviewed by Rosana Hart in her blog about Spanish :
When I was looking for a good Spanish flashcard program to use on my computer, I came across several recommendations for VTrain... (...) VTrain actually gives you bunch of options. (...) The algorithms for remembering that those programs use is built in to the software, while VTrain gives you more freedom to set it up as you wish."

Rosana Hart is an American writer who lives in Mexico. Previously, she worked as a reference librarian and as a time management teacher.



      VTrain was winner (5 golden pencils) of the 'Memorization Software Reviewed' survey.

MSR features a specialized survey on more than 200 computer programs whose purpose is learning by flashcards (i.e. questions & answers). MSR is a project led by Rafael Barranco-Droege. His experience helped improve recent versions of VTrain.


      Schoolzone awarded VTrain 5 stars.

Schoolzone is a UK-based website that presents a variety of resources for educators.

2 out of 3

      VTrain 4.0 was rated 2 out of 3 stars by Spanisch Lernen Online.

SpaLeOn provides resources to German-speaking students of Spanish. [This site is in German]

      VTrain was included in the Top Ten of the 2009 Vocabulary Software Review at TopTenReviews.

In this review, the authors focus the educational contents (vocabulary and grammar information) rather than the technical capabilities of the programs. In addition, certain non-apparent capabilities of VTrain (sentence completion, multiple choice) were overlooked.

TopTenReviews is a project led by Jerry Ropelato. It originated in January 2003 from a simple question: "Where do you turn when purchasing something you know very little to nothing about?"


      Trainerlink.de awarded VTrain 4.0 their "Gut" ("Good", 3rd best) rating.

Trainerlink.de is a German website listing educational resources. [This site is in German]


      VTrain was featured on Vokabeltrainer-Test:
In its current version 5.5, the vocabulary learning program VTrain in its current offers a great number of features useful to learn vocabulary and languages."

[Original text in German: "
Das Vokabellernprogramm VTrain in der aktuellen Version 5.5 bietet eine Vielzahl nützlicher Funktionen, um effektiv Vokabeln lernen und Sprachen lernen zu können."]

MSR features a specialized survey on more than 200 computer programs whose purpose is learning by flashcards (i.e. questions & answers). MSR is a project led by Rafael Barranco-Droege. His experience helped improve recent versions of VTrain.
    Updated: 2017 October 30
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