The more different ways you learn something, the better you understand and more likely you are to remember. Of course you are right that you must use them in context so that they stick long-term.
How about this - read a page/chapter of a book noting down any new words - put the words in your flashcard software - with your flashcard software don't just translate the word on its own - find example sentences online and put a blank/space where the word is - use the sentence from the book too - make up your own sentences with each word and if possible have someone check they're correct. You could even try to make up a story using every word. When you think you know them, try reading again.
Learn a word in as many different contexts as possible using as many different methods as possible.