The Vocabulary Tutor program is a simple dialog-based Windows95 program
which can teach vocabulary by association. It was meant mostly as a test
bed for the underlying algorithm that I developed and also to simply help
me learn German. My initial results have convinced me that it's a powerful
learning tool even with it's simple presentation. My intent is to integrate
this technology into existing commercial educational software, though I'd
also be open to developing such a product around it if an appropriate publisher
In the meantime, I am offering the Tutor program as shareware for all to
use. You can try the program for free and purchase it for $25 only if you
of the product and how to use it, please see the documentation
which also comes with the package. Note that I will extend free licenses
for instructors to use within classroom settings. I will also give a free
license to anyone that creates a useful dictionary and provides it for
distribution to the public. If you purchase a personal copy, I will give
you product support, free point release upgrades and goodwill.
1: Download the package
I believe my algorithms may provide an optimal method of learning almost
any vocabulary. The underlying intelligence is in the way that flash words
and decoy choices are selected over time. Through some simple underlying
ideas, intelligent behavior emerges which I believe mimic and even surpass
the skill of an attentive human tutor. The best way to understand this
is to simply run the program for even a few minutes.
Clicking on the link below will allow your browser to copy the package
to your machine. It is important to know where your browser put it on your
machine. Once you click the link, most browsers will bring up a window
showing where it intends to put it and give you a chance to change that
location. The default location may not be too useful, so you will likely
want to pick somewhere better such as "C:\Program Files". Click here to
download Tutor now.
2: Install the program
Using a Windows Explorer window (Start->Programs->Windows Explorer),
navigate to the folder where your browser placed the package. Double-clicking
the package will create a folder in that location named "Tutor" containing
the program, documentation and dictionaries. Tutor is now installed and
ready to use. At this point you can delete the installation package if
you like or keep it in case you want backups of the original dictionaries.
3: Starting the program
Navigate into the new folder by opening or double-clicking the "Tutor"
folder. You should now be able to see the program file named "Tutor.exe"
as well as the documentation file and several dictionaries. Simply double-click
Tutor.exe to begin running the program. You can also click and drag the
program icon onto your desktop for quick access. If everything is working
correctly, you should see a window that looks like the screen-shot above.
If this does not happen or if you don't understand these instructions,
please send email to let
4: Using the program
The basic interaction is flash card multiple choice. The program presents
one word at a time from the vocabulary being learned and a set of up to
five multiple-choice translations. You learn by clicking on the choice
buttons until you find the right one. It then displays the word and it's
correct translation in the lower-left corner and selects another word for
you to translate. For more complete description of the program, details
on how to select different dictionaries, and information on how to create
your own custom dictionaries, please read the documentation file.
Regardless of the size of the dictionary to be learned, the user is
never overwhelmed since it gives the feeling that there is always
a small working set of words which are seen often enough to be familiar.
This is where the idea of superliminosity comes in. This shifting set of
words moves like a searchlight of consciousness over the concept landscape.
With repeated passes the entire landscape eventually becomes known. Note
that there does not really exist something as rigid as a working set within
the program. It's much more fluid than that and therefore much closer to
the way people really learn large sets of new concepts. Back to the Superliminal home page.