LearnObit isn't a substitute for Angry Birds

Many spaced repetition tools recommend their users to log on during sporadic moments of downtime, like when they're in public transport or waiting for someone.

As if spaced repetition was just another simple, brain-numbing game to play for a few minutes here and there, like Angry Birds.

I always thought this was ridiculous. Here's why:

1) Trying to recall knowledge from nothing is the most difficult way to learn β€” it’s much more comfortable to read the original learning material a few times or attempt multiple-choice tests. (But guess which method is the most effective? The difficult one.)

2) Being productive in short bursts at random points in the day is much more challenging than concentrating for a fixed period.

Either the makers of these tools are misinforming their users on purpose or they're clueless about how learning actually works. My best guess is that they thought it would be a good marketing move to downplay the difficulty of spaced repetition, making it sound like a light activity anyway can add effortlessly into their daily routine.

Let me be clear: LearnObit is not a substitute for Angry Birds. It's a substitute to traditional, inefficient learning methods.

What this means is:
1) LO is neither light nor comfortable. In fact, it will be painful at times.
2) LO is not a replacement for Angry Birds that users can attempt for five minutes here and there. It should be used in carefully planned chunks of time with fixed parameters.

I suspect the teams behind other tools know the same is true of their software.

Think of it as a trade-off. LO might be tough, but it lets you learn as efficiently as possible β€” it's a tool for people who value time above all else.

Yes, LO will frustrate you and make your brain hurt. Using it will certainly require willpower. But it will make sure you learn whatever you need to know in the shortest possible time β€” and isn't that what you really care about?