Guidelines for use
It is always a good idea to learn vocabulary in context. Learning a number of related lexical items as a group helps build the proper memory associations. Plus it's very practical. If you have a need to learn particular vocabulary then take the opportunity to create a theme, input or link the related lexical items, and study them. When it comes time to use the vocabulary you'll be better prepared and afterwards you can focus on any memory lapses that you had. You can even printout your list of lexical items beforehand to take with you if the situation allows. An example of this might be if you're in a foreign country and decide you need a haircut. Before going out you could quickly lookup vocabulary that you think you'll need, like barbershop, stylist, trim, bangs, ears, comb back, tip, etc. After entering them into the program, you would quickly study them and print them out. Later, when you come home you could add personal examples or comments to any lexical items that you had trouble remembering, plus enter new items that you didn't think of before you went. This memorization technique is very effective and useful.
The Personal Lexicon is a valuable tool for self-learners as well as class-based learners. In either case, just as with any other form of studying, time by yourself is necessary in order to enter lexical items and test yourself on what you've entered. However, to get the most out of the program we recommend adding as many personal examples as possible and then checking them with your teacher. A personal example is particularly useful in reinforcing memory, but it's important that you are remembering something that is grammatically accurate. Once you've verified a personal example then you can mark it as such. After a while you'll have a great database of personal examples you can use as a foundation for your learning. Alternatively, you can pull examples that you know to be correct from books or other reliable written material, but often this type of example will not have the same significance to you personally and therefore you probably won't make good memory associations. Worse yet, you may think you understand the context of how a lexical item is used, but in reality there might be a subtle difference in actual meaning. This is particularly true of expressions, so checking them with a teacher is almost always a good idea.