The 2014 Sensible Character Challenge

In Chinese, Japanese by Olle Linge

author photoI just wanted a take a moment to let you all know that Olle Linge over at Hacking Chinese is in the process of organizing the 2014 Chinese Character Challenge. Last year he got over 100 people to participate and talked a lot about character learning theory in the process. I think that anyone looking to boost their character learning should give the 2014 challenge a go!

Update (2014/03/20):
Details about the challenge have now been posted on Hacking Chinese. Check out the link (here) for details about the challenge, prizes and more. Also, be sure to post your milestones, goals, and public commitment in the post comments!

What’s the challenge about?

The goal of challenge is two-fold, and perfect for any level of language learner– write a ton of characters, and go about it in a smart and sensible way. Participants will spend 101 days working toward specific milestones that are designed to reach a final goal.

Over the course of the challenge, Olle will be raffling off some cool prizes from Hanzi WallChart, and even giving away some extra Skritter study time for some of the top participants and those who meet their milestone marks. Not all the guidelines are live yet, but to kick things off he’s got seven great articles about learning characters the sensible way, which include:

  •  How to learn characters as a beginner
  • Learning the 100 most common radicals
  • Memory aids and Mnemonics
  • Spaced Repetition Systems
  • Diversified Learning Strategies

Unlike rote-memorization, all of the things discussed above focus on a more active and comprehensible approach to character learning, and relate a lot of studying Chinese with Skritter. Using a lot of these methods last year during the challenge, I saw some pretty excellent results and ended up putting a lot of characters into the long-term memory bank. For a summary of the main idea of each point, and a direct link to full articles, check out the Character Challenge post here.

When does the challenge start?

The challenge will be begin on Saturday, March 22nd and last through the end of June. Details for the challenge will follow on March 19th or 20th, and I’ll try and update this post at that time as well. Participants will be able to sign up and commit to their goals on the Hacking Chinese. I’ve also made a forum post so Skritter users can submit their goals. The direct link to the post on the Skritter forum is here. I’ve still got to figure out what my goal will be, but I’m certainly looking forward to the challenge.
Best of luck to all and we hope you all learn a ton of characters in the process!


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