Common Sense Review
Updated June 2016

Quizlet

School-friendly study aid continues to add useful features
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Common Sense Rating 3
  • Quizlet has six study modes for students.
  • A sampling of flash card sets created by Quizlet users.
  • It's easy to add images to flash cards using Quizlet's database of Flickr photos.
  • Quizlet Live divides students into teams and allows them to collaborate and compete.
  • Quizlet's blog features updates and upgrades.
  • Teachers get advice on how to use Quizlet for classroom purposes.
Pros
The sheer number of flash card sets ensures that students will always have something to study, and, if not, they can easily create their own.
Cons
May require extra teacher supervision/moderation; user-generated content isn't always reliable or appropriate.
Bottom Line
A decent study tool for learning and memorizing facts; extensions to support higher-level thinking would be a nice addition.
Patricia Monticello Kievlan
Common Sense Reviewer
Foundation/Non-Profit Member
Common Sense Rating 3
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 3

A mix of options breaks up the potential monotony of studying. If students tire of flash cards, they can switch to a game or create a test. Still, the site's emphasis on memorizing terms and definitions is fairly dull.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer? 3

There are six "study modes." The ability to create custom flash cards helps students take ownership over their learning. While Quizlet won't engage higher-order thinking, it can be good for factual learning.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 4

You have to dig a little to find the helpful information (it's kind of hidden at the bottom of the page), but Quizlet offers detailed supports and a Help Center that answers most questions on how to use the site.

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How Can Teachers Use It?

This is a flash card tool, so choose wisely: Some lessons are better suited to this format than others. Encourage students to use Quizlet on their own time as homework or as a study aid or to create their own custom flash card sets for live use in the classroom, especially with the tool's built-in competitions. You might also encourage your students to create their own flash card decks to share with the class; this could be a nice way to help students collaborate as they prepare for a cumulative exam in your course or on an AP test. As your students learn new information, push them to move toward higher-order thinking, using what they've learned from the flash cards to apply, analyze, question, and create. If you use the Quizlet Live features for in-class formative assessment, make sure you encourage students to reflect afterward. See our Teaching Strategies page, Make Formative Assessment More Student-Centered for tips.

 

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What's It Like?

Quizlet is a web database (and Chrome app) of over 400 million flash card and quiz sets created by students, for students. All the information is user-generated and includes both text-based and visual study materials. The range of topics covered on Quizlet is pretty amazing. Students can browse these sets by category (Arts & Literature), then narrow down by type (Books), then specific subject (The Great Gatsby). For each set of flash cards, Quizlet also auto-populates a few study activities, including matching and fill-in-the-blank games and timed quizzes. For the $14.99/year Plus version, users don't see ads in their study sets, can upload custom images and voice recordings to questions, and can create unlimited study groups and classes (vs. eight for the free version).

While students can browse for study materials from users around the world, many teachers make and share custom study sets just for their classes. There are other great features for teachers, too, including live polling and team-based quiz competitions that make Quizlet more in line with its quiz-game competitors such as Kahoot!. For $24.99/year, the Teacher version offers all the Plus features, plus progress tracking.

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Is It Good For Learning?

Quizlet is super simple, but that's part of its appeal. Teachers and students can instantly browse existing content or upload their own. Just like real flash cards that you make or borrow from a friend, quality can vary, but on the whole, the public content is pretty good and occasionally great. However, there are also plenty of unhelpful, and even inappropriate, sets floating around the site. Students who go out of their way to search for inappropriate content will be able to find it, so teachers will need to monitor students' use. With that said, if teachers help scaffold students' studying, offering sets custom-tailored to class content, there's potential for Quizlet to be a very useful supplement to classroom instruction.

Quizlet's social features are nice. Students can compete against their friends and discuss sets online, and entire classes can share teacher-created sets. Options for adding photos from a large pool of licensed Flickr photography make Quizlet an especially good tool for subjects with heavy visual components, such as anatomy or art history. At its core, this is a flash card tool, so its impact as a transformative learning tool is likely limited. But if you use Quizlet's many features thoughtfully, this could be a worthy, flexible tool to add to your teacher tool belt.

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