Category Archives: GoldList Method
This is a place where I have collected materials about my system for learning languages called the GoldList method. I have started work on a book, which should be a useful addition to this, and in the near future, following on from my appearance speaking about this on “Dzien Dobry TVN” on 1st November 2009, I shall do a Polish film about the Gold List method, to help the large number of people who contacted me about it following the show.
Original YT playout date: 28 June 2009
In between the Prague vlogs, obviously I am back home in Poland. Here are a few scenes from Poland in May. They are mixed content, and include a further discussion of the goldlist methodology, of weather, and my usual trick of filming what I see, not all of it particularly pleasant, but we are, after all, sharing this planet with the girl who was sitting crying on the kerb next to her own vomit, and with the gentleman who was slapping his bitch near my house, who also got caught on camera. These people we share the planet with, and the scenes are real and not staged, as you can find on many channels on youtube, unfortunately! There is also joy and family pleasure among the grim reality, such as seeing a Portuguese student band in traditional garb in the tram as they were visiting Warsaw, Sophie’s birthday, and treating my wife to a fine meal of sushi. In short this is a mixed bag of everything.
A demo of the GoldList Method is included.
Includes Sophie’s 9th birthday party.
***Statistics and Credits***
Views at the time added to HTV: 790
Likes at the time added to HTV: 16
Dislikes at time added to HTV: 1
Popularity % ” ” ” =L/(L+D): 94.1%
Comments at time added: 3
Total interactions at time added: 20
Total interactions to views 2.5%
Location: Home in Ochota
Other people featured: Family
Genre: Family, miscellaneous
Music used: Various
Languages used: English
Animals/plants featured: None
Original YT playout date: 1 May 2009
Featuring thoughts on applying the GoldList Method to the learning of poety, a presentation of Wordsworth’s “”Daffodils”” and whether man’s release of chemicals into the sky has affected the natural world much or not.
You might say “”why get sidetracked onto daffodils when there aren’t any there?””. Ah, but that’s precisely the *point* of the poem, isn’t it?
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Original YT playout date: 6 April 2009
Lord Moggy has always been one of the hardest people to convince about the GoldList Method, but finally, after giving it a go, he is surprised at the retention level he could achieve when he finally let go of the standard short-termist methods. Look up the other gold list videos on my channel to find out more about this system, which is my invention and a free gift to mankind. It does not cost anything to learn using the GoldList Method. It only saves you money and wasted time.
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Original YT playout date: 28 February 2009
Cheryl from Manitoba in Canada gives 5 great questions about the Gold List method which will certainly help people who are using the method and still have uncertainties about its application.
Some of these ideas are of course superseded and the best thing that you can do is look at the GoldList Method section in the navigation at the top of this site, and soon anyway the Guidebook is coming out.
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Original YT playout date: 2 November 2008
My subscriber blueclue57 kindly invited me to come along and visit him while in Moscow – he said he had a class on Business English. I was taken by surprise that he wanted me to be guest lecturer, but I managed to cobble a couple of notes together during an earlier part of his lesson while he was doing an exercise – actually I don’t use the notes till the second half as I can’t really abide speaking from notes, I always prefer to adlib – and what came out is probably the best lecture yet done by me on the Gold List System. Thankfully blueclue57 was kind enough to film it on my cam, and the Vado held out somehow. No idea how, but it did.
The message here will help enlarge on what I already stated in the two earlier discussions of the Gold List system. Clearly I couldn’t stay in character as Huliganov while addressing a roomful of Russians learning English, so I’ve taken this out of the Second Huliganov’s Russia series, which is coming up soon.
The goldlist system is free but should be attributed to me. I have started writing a book on this subject, although all that is really needed to know is freely available in these videos and on http://www.goldlist.eu
The system has been seen now by thousands of people and put to the test by many of them. I have received literally hundreds of mails stating that the system works for people and has saved them from wasting time and failing, or else improved their result in learning languages.
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Those of my readers who are also on Olly Richards mailing list – and there may well be a sizeable crossover due to common interests – will have noted that he has a guest on this week, one “memory scientist” Anthony Metivier telling people that according to his method it is possible to learn 1000 words in six weeks.
Now just for the record let me say that learning words in isolation isn’t optial, better to learn short phrases showing the word in use with its collocations and recalling a range of grammar, but you certainly can learn words if you want to.
I just wanted to compare the results of people using the GoldList Method and certainly my own experience using the GoldList Method with this run rate of 1000 words in six weeks.
I prefer to use the term lines, and how many new words equate to 100 new lines depends entirely on the material. If it’s a dictionary it can be 100% or near. Probably the average is around half of that, and in some cases even less. Certainly I take several lines for each new word in Japanese, while in Czech I have 24,000 lines of Headlist and I know that there are around 18,000 words in there. Imiagine that we wanted to focus on words, we’d prepare material in order that a line was a word. So for this thought experiment I will take the idea 1 line of GLM = 1 word per Mr Metivier’s Method. GLM is very flexible so it will work around that.
To learn 1000 lines in GLM means to entirely distil them away. This cannot actually be done in six weeks as you can do a maximum of two distillations in that time. So instead you have to apply the long-term run rate which is 3 line repetitions on average per line of Headlist, because a 1000 line Headlist will distil out at somthing like this:
H = 1000,
D1 = 680,
D2 = 460,
D3 = 310
Bronze total 2,450
D4 = 175,
D5 = 125,
D6 = 90
D7 = 60
Silver Total 450
D8 = 40
D9 = 25
D10 = 15
D11 = 10
Gold Total 100
Grand total 3,000
3000/1000 = 3
It will vary from maybe 2.6 to 3.4 but in the main it will be around 3.
So to learn 1000 lines to the long term memory you need to do 3,000 lines in those 3 weeks.
That will be the equivalent of learning 1000 words, but you won’t necessarily know which of them they are. It won’t be a question of guaranteeing that all the words in a list of 1000 are in long-term memory, instead it is a question of following a long-term run rate.
So, how 3000 lines in 6 weeks is 500 lines a week.
That’s the same as the 5,000 level target on the 70 day challenges.
So effectively what Metivier is doing and what we are doing is a very similar result.
In our case, it should be possible using an average of 1.5 hours per day.
What is more interesting is to see which method gives the best passive recall two years after the six weeks in question are over.
Thank you for your interest in the Goldlist Method! I see that your article contains a lot of misconceptions about it, so that even though your understanding of memory is accurate, you reach the wrong conclusion in the end. I’ll try to clear things up for you, since I have been using the GLM for many years and to great effect.
“But how do you know it’s effective? Is it actually based on any real science?”
This is a rhetorical question, but I will answer it anyway. You know it’s effective when it does what it is designed to do. And the GLM does do what it is designed to. And it is based on real science, namely on the forgetting curve. The two weeks are the core of the method; everything else is more or less optional.
“First of all, here is a great video which sums up what this method is all about.”
Christopher Huff’s video is indeed great, but it is intended as a tl;dr version of the full explanation, so it is good that you have included a link to a fuller explanation. However, it would have been even better if you had also included the link to David’s newly refined explanation so that readers could get it straight from the horse’s mouth. The new explanation seeks to clear up common misunderstandings that have become apparent and that he was not (and couldn’t have been) aware of when he first posted it.
“The author of the method maintains that:
1. The method allows you to retain up to thirty percent of the words in your long-term memory.”
This is only partly true. It isn’t the method itself that gives you a 30% retention rate. Rather, the method is based on the observation that, on average, people remember around 30% of the words after two weeks. This is illustrated by Ebbinghaus’s forgetting curve later in the article, so I will get back to this.
“2. It is also claimed that the process circumvents your short-term memory – you are expected to make no conscious effort to remember words. Thanks to this the information will be retained in your long-term memory.”
A better way to put it is that it is claimed that conscious memorization is discouraged because it is less effective for long-term retention (but indeed better for short-term retention). David does speak in terms of switching on and off memory functions, but he is not a memory scholar, so his hypotheses are not written in the standard academic terminology.
“1. It doesn’t circumvent short-term memory
One of the big claims of this method is that it is able to circumvent your short-term memory. Somehow, thanks to it, you are able to place all the information straight in your long-term memory.”
Well, around 30% of it, and the method is based on the retention rate, not the other way around.
“In other words, initiation of consolidation is under conscious control and requires the use of central attention. The mere fact of looking at a piece of paper and reading/writing words activates it.”
That’s right, but remember that what David calls ‘short-term memory’ is not the same as ‘working memory’. In GLM terms, the long-term memory is everything you still remember after two weeks, and anything you didn’t remember for two weeks is considered to have been stored in the short-term memory. In standard academic terminology, both of these would be considered ‘long-term memory’.
“Next, the items you learn undergo working memory consolidation.
Working memory consolidation refers to the: transformation of transient sensory input into a stable memory representation that can be manipulated and recalled after a delay.
Contrary to what the creator of this method believes, after this process is complete, be it 2 weeks or more, the short-term memories are not gone. They are simply not easily accessible.”
In practical terms, it doesn’t really make much of a difference whether a memory is gone or you are unable to access it. The result is the same: you have forgotten it.
“You probably have experienced this phenomenon yourself many times. You learned something in the past. Then, after some years, you took it up again and were able to regain your ability relatively quickly. It was possible because your memories were still there. They just became “neuronally disconnected” and thus inaccessible.”
Indeed. This is what is called ‘activation’ in GLM terms.
“What’s more, the Ebbinghaus curve’s numbers are based on the assumption that the learned material :
– means nothing to you
– has no relevance to your life
– has no emotional load and meaning for you
On the curve, you can see that if you memorize information now and try to recall after 14 days, you will be able to retrieve about 21-23% of the previously memorized knowledge. Mind you that this is the knowledge which is incoherent, bears no emotional load and means nothing to you.”
Exactly. So when the words (or whatever else you want to remember) aren’t random, but part of a language you want to learn, we would expect this number to be somewhat higher. And it does indeed seem to be around 30% on average.
“What happens when you start manually writing down words which interest you or when you are able to establish some connection between them and your life? Well, this number can definitely go up.
Keep in mind that your recall rate will also be affected by:
– frequency of occurrence
– prior vocabulary knowledge
So is there anything magical about the method and the number “30”?
Nope. It follows very precisely the Ebbinghaus forgetting curve which takes into account your short-term memory. Sometimes this number will be higher, sometimes it will be lower depending on your choice of words.”
That’s right. And this is what the GLM is based on.
“The Gold List Method is just a spaced repetition method with bigger intervals.”
That’s right, and for good reason. Normal spaced repetition systems try to catch words and bring them back as soon as you forget them, but by doing so, you end up reviewing a lot of words that you already know. In fact, based on the forgetting curve you probably know about 30% of the material essentially for life after having looked at it only once, and yet you will spend valuable study time reviewing it.
In the GLM system, you instead wait until you’ve forgotten all or almost all of what you won’t remember for life, and only then do your review. After two weeks, the forgetting curve is almost completely flat, so that is a good cut-off point.
“Even though the Gold List Method has initially the low activation energy, it starts growing considerably with each and every distillation.”
I’m sorry, what? Each distillation lessens it, if anything, because there are fewer lines for each distillation.
“Having to carry with you a couple of A4 notebooks seems also very impractical to me.”
The vast majority of distillations require only one book, and it does not have to be A4. Only the initial headlist and each transfer into a new book require more than one book.
“However, the biggest problem I have with this method in this department is that it suggests I only learn words I am interested in.”
No, it doesn’t mean that in the way you take it to mean. With any method you have to decide which words you are going to learn, e.g. all the words in your textbook, all the words of a certain frequency, etc. These words are the ones you want to learn, or in other words, the ones you are interested in learning.
“Good learning methods should work for any kind of vocabulary.s
And they should work particularly well for the vocabulary you’re interested in.”
Yeah, like the GLM. 🙂
Just a little N-gram I did today just to see if Ebbinghaus is subject to his own phenomenon.
And so it is.
In the course of nearly 100 years since Ebbinghaus discovered the forgetting curve, society has effectively followed that curve, or something like it, with regard to his name, although you’ll see at the bottom the n-gram for “forgetting curve” itself is on a gradual modest rise.
It seems to bottom out at around a third of the crest, though, which is also very interesting.
We might suggest from this that society also has a “forgetting curve” but in order to find a GLM style working tangent to the 14 days for society you might need to take a lifetime of 70 years.
If you were to be running a trust the objects of which were to make a certain concept known by a number of people for ever, it would make sense to run publicity drives on a generational basis, ie one every 28 years.
Schedule for 24 December 2017
Playout date: 22 May 2007
One of the most important parts of my message on this site and on the YouTube channel, the film which took the GLM public. This is part two of a two parter, so as to keep within the recommendation not to work for more than 20 minutes at a time.
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Playout date: 22 May 2007
One of the most important parts of my message on this site and on the YouTube channel, the film which took the GLM public. This is part one of a two parter, so as to keep within the recommendation not to work for more than 20 minutes at a time.
Read the rest of this entry