Quizlet for learners: a step-by-step guide

Quizlet  is a website that enables anybody who wishes to learn anything to make flashcards related to that topic. In the case of English language learners, it is a very useful tool for learning and revising vocabulary.

Using Quizlet, learners can make their own sets of flashcards, then use these flashcards in various modes for studying, testing themselves and playing games to improve their recall of the vocabulary. I have just finished making a step-by-step guide to Quizlet, so that my learners can try using it themselves at home.

My materials contain step-by-step instructions and screenshots, showing learners how to:

  • find Quizlet(!)
  • sign up
  • create sets
  • use the different study, test and game modes
  • monitor their progress

Of course, if you, as a teacher, are unfamiliar with this website, you could also use these to help you get to grips with it, so that you are more comfortable recommending it to your students!

In my upper intermediate class, out of ten students only one had ever heard of Quizlet and he wasn’t sure enough how about it worked to be able to tell anything about it – he was just vaguely aware of it. Not all students use it already, then, so it can be helpful to introduce them to it, as another tool to support their learning. This is the class I have made these materials for, though I plan to use them with other classes too.

As with all my learner autonomy-related projects, I will be bringing Quizlet back into the classroom regularly, via discussion and use (along the same principles discussed in this post on scaffolding autonomy), to maximise the chances of learners using it regularly and independently, of their own volition.

Here is a link to the materials I have made: Using Quizlet!

I hope these are useful to you. (Of course I would be interested in any feedback from you or you on behalf of your learners, with regards to how user-friendly they are etc!)

I will write a follow-up post in due course (there’s a surprise! 😉 ), to let you know how my learners got on with Quizlet and these materials.


17 thoughts on “Quizlet for learners: a step-by-step guide

  1. Hey Lizzie. This is very timely. I have just had a job interview at the university of Sheffield. I had to mention tools for autonomous learners that I could recommend. Although I forgot about Quizlet I gave some other examples. In my pre task I had a text about independence and interdependence which was fairly linked to the concept of autonomy. You crossed my mind as I was doing the task and even threw a few Holec/Little quotes into the interview! Note to self: use Quizlet more with students. P

  2. Hi Lizzie!
    Thanks for your post. I used to use Quizlet quite a lot in my classes when I first discovered it about two years ago. I really like the tutorial in pdf you prepared. Very useful stuff.
    what I liked at the beginning about the website was its gamy nature. It made the process of learning new words more engaging and fun, especially for younger students.
    However, a big drawback that quickly came up was that the competitive nature of the exercises didn’t actually facilitate retention. It turned out that students would try to get the best time/score (e.g. space race) without actually thinking about the word or its meaning. What’s more, there seems to be no underlying logic or methodology behind revision sessions (the forgetting curve). In the end I stopped using it.
    But I’ve discovered a different website called Memrise (memrise.com). In a nutshell, it’s much less gamy than Quizlet. However, the vocabulary retention ratio is much higher, at least in my opinion. One of its big advantages is that it speeds up the learning process by forcing you to create mental associations (visual, audio, puns) called mems. The revision sessions are also spread out in time to minimise the forgetting curve effect. The website actually tells you which words you have to revise when. I wrote a post about it here: http://teflreflections.blogspot.com/2013/10/mem-up-your-memory.html
    I’d be interested to hear what your thoughts on it are. Your tutorial for Quizlet inspired me to prepare a similar guide for Memrise with some practical classroom applications.
    By the way, your blog is fantastic! Keep up the good work. really enjoy your posts. They’re all very thorough and inspiring.

    • Thanks for your reply, Marek.
      I’ve used Memrise before, but for my own personal use, to learn Italian. But I didn’t make anything of my own, I used what was already there. A Basic Italian course. I didn’t find the memory aides provided very useful (and some of them were downright weird!) but I liked the concept of growing memories and spaced review/watering etc. And I do still remember many of the chunks I learnt! As for Quizlet, I think the aim of the space race/scatter games is to encourage quick recall of the vocabulary being learnt? Which is better? I think using any tools in combination is good. And being aware of what is out there to use. I think introducing learners to the tools and raising awareness of benefits and limitations of all, means they are better placed to use those which they find useful, for different things, at different times, according to what is most fit for purpose. Perhaps if we discussed spaced review and why it’s important with learners, then they could use that understanding and apply it to their use of things like Quizlet. So that it may not prompt them, but they do it themselves anyway, thus erasing the need for the prompt. Thanks for prompting me to think about all this – I foresee some interesting discussions with my students 🙂

      • Definitely agree that providing students with different learning tools which they can choose according to their preference is really important. Very often they don’t know HOW to learn or where to find resources.
        I’m probably biased towards Memrise because I’ve used it much more myself and with my students (I’d create courses for each group/student and once they are in the swing of things, get the students to add vocabulary) and the effects are really good, as long as the students can actually be persuaded to use the website regularly, which I sometimes found to be a problem. How do you go about encouraging your students to use Quizlet?
        Yes, some mems are VERY weird. Actually, the other day my German friend said exactly this about some of the mems I created when learning German. I guess the lesson here is that many mems are unique and work for whoever created them. Funnily enough, I have got so used to it now that I instinctively come up with weird mental associations and puns when I see a new word.
        We’d probably need to design an experiment to see which website is more effective, which actually – now that I think of it – sounds like a good idea. I’d be interested to find out which website works better. What do you think?

  3. I use quizlet with my students, but sometimes in odd ways. For example I may write a sentence and they have to tell me if it has an appositive or a participial phrase and if it is extra or essential information. This is great when used in the flashcard section, but tougher when it comes to space race or the other games.

    I LOVE that it is an app. My students are always with their phone so being able to play this game while waiting for their parents to pick them up is helpful. http://eslcarissa.blogspot.com/2013/11/quizlet-for-at-home-studying.html is the link where I talk about the app specifically

    The best part is that students really do like it. The other day I showed my students the list as an option to study from and one boy actually sighed and said, “I love technology.”

    • 🙂 It is good that it’s an app, anything that is an app is automatically more useful to everyone with a smartphone/tablet and gets them studying more often….hmmm, maybe I should do it myself with my Italian! Practice what I preach!

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  12. Hi Lizzie,

    Thanks for the useful guide, I’ll share it with students and coworkers.

    You may also like an app I’ve developed, ‘Phrase Maze for Quizlet’ online/mobile game(free). It’s a fun game which has various modes with differing degrees of difficulty. It imports vocabulary/phrase lists from Quizlet (with optional pics), has TTS audio and tracks your progress.




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