Learn More About Leitner

Forget, what you just learned?

The German Psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus studied as one of the first psychologist the phenomena offorgetting? What we learn we forgot after a short period of time?

He found that under his experiment, we forget about 75% what we learned after 48 hours. Even after 20 minutes, we have already forgotten 42 %.

Forgetting Curve

After 8 days we keep only 20 % forever in our brain.

But which 20% we keep?

We can avoid forgetting the learned words, if we repeat them regularly.


Sebastian Leitner, a German psychologist presented in the early 70's a learning system that makes selective learning possible with less effort than the traditional method of studying a set of flashcards sequentially.



The principle of the Leitner System

Leitner's system consists of a cardboard box separated into a number of compartments. New words are added to the compartment 1. The compartments are filled with flashcards and the flashcards are moved from one compartment to another, according to the current level of knowledge. When a flashcard is answered correctly it is moved to the next higher compartment. When a flashcard is answered incorrectly it is moved back to the first compartment.

The Leitner System is a popular method of studying with flashcards using spaced repetition. The compartments should be reviewed after a certain time (or when they are full, if you use paper flash cards) and then, the flashcards should be moved up-wards or down-wards.


The Leitner System allows you to prioritize your studying, focusing on flashcard (words). Flashcards which you know, are moved without a lot of efforts to higher compartments, and flashcards, which you have trouble to memorize are more often repeated.

According to the Leitner System, when you can memorize a word after a long period of time from the 5th compartment, then you will be able to memorize this word forever.

The Leitner System


How does it work?

The idea is that the easier it is to recall the material on a flashcard the less often that flashcard will be repeated in the future. The reverse follows. The harder it is to recall the material on a flashcard the more often it will be repeated. The repetition of each flashcard is scheduled, or spaced, in such a way that the learner spends most of their time studying material that is more challenging. Material that has been retained well is studied only occasionally to ensure it has not been forgotten.

The Leitner System's implementation of spaced repetition works like this:

  • A container called a cardbox or a cardfile is set up to hold the flashcards. It is divided into multiple individual compartments. FlashcardDB calls the groups of flashcards in each compartment decks.
  • All flashcards start in deck 1.
  • When the material on a flashcard is recalled correctly it is moved forward by one deck. (See the green arrows in the diagram above). If the flashcard was already in the last deck then it remains there.
  • When the material on a flashcard is not recalled it is returned to deck 1: regardless of what deck the flashcard came from. (See the merged red arrow(s) in the diagram).
  • Each subsequent deck has a longer period of time before the flashcards it contains must be repeated. FlashcardDB’s default settings are:
    Time until
    next repetition
    One None
    Two 1 day
    Three 3 days
    Four 7 days
    Five 15 days




What are the advantages of the program?

  • You don't need to enter manually all the words. We have done this for you.
  • You can learn the word in small time units. Learn progress and number of repetitions are according to your memory..
  • If you know a words, it will not be repeated after 5 times (you don't waste time with repeating already known words = time saving)
  • Nerveless, forgotten words are repeated, until they are memorized.
  • You can interrupt your study for a short while, and the resume at the same point
  • After a waiting time, you can repeat the words any time in the higher compartments

What this program cannot:

  • Still - you have to study yourself
  • Replace a teacher and a good book. This program supports you to learn more efficient, but it cannot replace a good teacher.

How long should you learn:
You will have good success, if you can learn every day. This can be 10 or 20 minutes, depend of your learning speed and how fast you get tired. If you learn longer, please make sure, that you have a short break after approximately 45 to 60 minutes.





Different ways of memorising.

Learning with the Leitner System (Choose your compartement and start...)
The Test Words Mode is based on the Leitner System principle.

What are the advantages of this Mode?

  • Kown word are moved into higher compartements, not memoriezed words are repeted until they are memoriezed.
  • Different books and lesson can be added to the compartment with an easy mouse click
  • The words from different books are already entered
  • Not useful words can be easy deselect and they will not be added to your compartment box
  • The single characters of the word and their meaning can be displayed
  • Already learned words containing this characters can be easily looked up
  • You can create your own study list.