Why is the "Learn" category important?

Not sure where to put this, so I’ll post it here so someone can help me understand.

I feel like the numbers in the Decks window are probably one of the most salient features for most users when they start using Anki.

We have “New”, “Learn” and “Due”. I often see students confused about what these are. I think “New” and “Due” are pretty simple to understand, so I am wondering, how useful is it to show the “Learn” number at all. What is the reasoning behind showing it so prominently? Would it be detrimental to include it in the “Due” number (after all is kind of “due” once it’s not new, because you have to keep studying it to learn it) or to omit it?

I know this can be hidden during reviews and I’m not saying this should be changed necessarily, but I just want to understand what’s the advantage of showing this number.


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Learn usually has multiple steps. They’re thus repeated in the same day again and again. Plus, it’s weird if due count increases because you did new cards before. These are my reasons why I would want (re)learn category.

I think the simplest answer is that cards in Learn / Relearn are doing different things, and being treated differently than other cards. Aside from the (generally) short intervals, both scheduling algorithms treat “reps” in the Learn stage differently.

Learn-stage cards are also subject to different prioritization than New and Review cards – some of which is (or perhaps seems) out of the user’s control. So I think making clear which cards are in Learn is helpful to explain why cards are appearing in the order they are. They are also the only cards subject to the learn-ahead limit.

For me, I know when I’m nearing the end of a study day and I’ve got a number of cards left in Learn – whether newly introduced or lapsed – that I’ve got some decisions to make about how best to end the day. If they were all in the green Due counter, that wouldn’t be as easy to manage.

I am surprised to hear that. Once a user understands foundational concepts like the learning steps, and why cards need to be graduated to Review – the explanation of those categories should flow directly.

It seems worth noting for purposes of this discussion that AnkiWeb and AnkiMobile do exactly that on their “Decks” menu page –
– but show the 3 counters separately on their study screen.

I don’t use either of those platforms to study, but perhaps folks that do could offer insight on how that affects them?


Thanks, yes, I understand they are treated differently in the algorithms. And I guess knowing when you are going to be done could be useful.

I try to not explain too many things and just get them using Anki for a while so they can experience it from themselves. However, I think Anki itself doesn’t do much to explain these things to new users besides offering a manual or a tooltip. A tutorial might help. Or maybe I should try and explain everything, but I feel it’s too much. :S

Ha, I didn’t know that. It would indeed be interesting to know why that is so and what do people using those think of it. (I only use Anki and AnkiDroid.)

Onboarding is always a fertile topic of discussion –

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