Importing with a schedule

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26 Nov, 2010 03:33 PM

I have a database of 2255 items I wish to learn. These are items which generally can't be learned in a random order, but need a structured series of "lessons" to introduce them over a long period, after which they need to be revised using the Leitner scheme that Mental Case supports.

I can easily convert these to CSV and import them in to Mental Case, but then I get a stack of 2255 items all scheduled for right now. I already have a lesson plan in the database, which would have around 200 lessons spread over a period of a year or more. I would like to create a schedule and import the whole thing. (There's no way I am going to edit all the items in Mental Case one at a time.) I could easily add lesson and schedule information to the CSV file, but there's no documentation about what columns it can include. The CSV files exported by Mental Case just have two items — the prompt and content — and don't include any schedule or lesson data. Mental Case isn't scriptable, so I can't use AppleScript to automate data entry.

Any suggestions for how I might set this up efficiently?

  1. Support Staff 1 Posted by drewmccormack on 26 Nov, 2010 03:56 PM

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    There is no way to manually adjust the lesson, short or resetting the schedule.
    What I suggest is to break your sets of cards over many cases. Set the default lesson schedule to none in the preferences. Then turn the lesson schedule of a couple of cases to 'Standard' by double clicking them. After a few days or weeks, when the lesson is becoming small, turn on the lesson for a few more cases, and so on. This way you can introduce notes gradually to the lesson, and it shouldn't be too much trouble.


  2. 2 Posted by rptb1 on 26 Nov, 2010 04:59 PM

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    I've written some code to export my database to a "Study Archive" and I now have 222 lesson cases of 10 items each. I've set the preferences as you suggest, and now I'll see how it goes. Thanks for your help.

  3. 3 Posted by rptb1 on 26 Nov, 2010 05:05 PM

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    Unfortunately, I still have 2255 items showing up to study on the iPhone, and I can't find a setting to achieve the same result. Is there one?

  4. Support Staff 4 Posted by drewmccormack on 26 Nov, 2010 06:15 PM

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    If you use the Mac app, you should set the learning schedules there and sync.
    If you aren't using the Mac, go to the library, tap Edit, and then the blue button. You can set the lesson on and off for each case.
    Kind regards,

  5. 5 Posted by rptb1 on 26 Nov, 2010 06:22 PM

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    So, I'm not going to do that for 222 lesson cases individually. So I hacked your database with sqlite3. It's a shame you don't allow editing lessons in bulk.

  6. Support Staff 6 Posted by drewmccormack on 26 Nov, 2010 06:30 PM

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    I think you probably made too many cases. I probably would have put 100 or so in each case.

    Batch adjustments would be too complex for the iPhone app. You can do it quite easily on the Mac.


  7. 7 Posted by rptb1 on 26 Nov, 2010 06:36 PM

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    Well that depends on what you are learning, surely. I need to learn ten items at once from my set of 2255, over a period of two years. 100 per lesson would be too many. The way you recommended was to separate lessons into cases. That means 222 cases.

    And batch adjustments are not easy. There is no way to set the lesson schedule for more than one case at once. It would have taken me about 40 minutes of clicking (at 10 seconds per case). But as I say, I hacked your database and now we'll see how it works in use.

    Thanks for your help so far.

  8. Support Staff 8 Posted by drewmccormack on 26 Nov, 2010 06:48 PM

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    It depends on what the cards are, of course. For learning a language, 100 cards would be no problem, but for other things it would be too much.

    In general, with so many cards, it works better to organize them in the Mac app, like you organize music in iTunes. But it is not an option for everyone, of course.


  9. 9 Posted by rptb1 on 26 Nov, 2010 07:10 PM

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    I am organising them in the Mac app. And I'm talking the lack of batch operations on cases in the Mac app.

    The big problem is that the information I'm learning is not independent. It's no good me seeing 100 items in a random order. There are strict dependencies. I can deal with, say, 10 items shuffled, but not more. And in any case I can't learn more than about 10 per day. Those are the requirements, and they're not flexible.

    I've really been looking forward to an automated Leitner system to do this. I've used a manual one before and it worked very well. But perhaps Mental Case just isn't designed to deal with what I have to do.

  10. Support Staff 10 Posted by drewmccormack on 26 Nov, 2010 08:29 PM

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    On the Mac, you shouldn't need to open every case to set the learning schedule. You can set the default in preferences to None. Then you only have to go into one case and set the schedule there to Standard.

    The Mac app has quite a flexible system of inherited defaults. In practice it means you can effectively make batch changes like the one above.


  11. 11 Posted by rptb1 on 27 Nov, 2010 12:30 AM

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    Yes, but as I said before, there was no similar setting on the iPhone, so as soon as I synced the items to the iPhone they were all in the lesson again. My plan is to study while travelling, so I was hoping to get the lessons set up on the iPhone after importing them on the Mac.

  12. Support Staff 12 Posted by drewmccormack on 27 Nov, 2010 10:23 AM

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    That shouldn't be the case. When you sync to the iPhone, only notes in the lesson on the Mac should be in the lesson on the iPhone. So if you set just one case to be in the lesson, and wait until the lesson refreshes, only notes from the one case should be in the lesson on the iPhone.

  13. drewmccormack closed this discussion on 11 Jan, 2011 06:07 PM.

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