Flashcards Can Be Created From Your Knowledge Base

RemNote helps you remember what you learn. In RemNote, you break down information into discrete chunks (using the Concept/Descriptor Framework). As you break down information, you seamlessly transform this information into flashcards. Depending on the symbols you use, they are either scheduled or suspended. For those that are scheduled, practising these flashcards helps you remember what you've initially learnt.

Here is an example of a hierarchy and its associated flashcards:

Your Optimal Flashcard Practice Schedule

When and how often should you actively recall a new piece of information? To answer this question, cognitive psychologists have measured how quickly people forget what they've learned. If we plot the likelihood that you will successfully recall a piece of knowledge against the number of days since you've learned it, we'll see a decaying curve like the red line below.

This curve is called the forgetting curve. It has two important properties.

  • After initially learning something, your memory of it decays exponentially. We'll call the rate of decay the 'decay rate'.

  • Actively Practicing a card resets the forgetting curve for the corresponding memory. Even better, it decreases the rate of decay, meaning that the memory will decay slower in the future so you'll retain that memory longer.

The forgetting curve means that you don't need to practice each card that many times, as long as you practice each at the optimal times. Instead of cramming your practice of a single card many times on a single day, it's best to space out practice over days, weeks, and eventually months and years. This method of spacing out practice is called spaced repetition.

Spaced repetition is practical because the interval between consecutive practice sessions expands each time you practice. There's a delay of 1 day between the first and second session, then 3 days between the second and third, then 7 days between the third and fourth, and so on. After only a few repetitions, it takes months and eventually years until you see that card again. This means each card doesn't take much time to remember permanently.

A large body of scientific research has shown that spaced repetition is a significantly more effective learning tool than simply reading material multiple times or otherwise practising without recall. Practising forces you to determine how well you know a piece of information. Additionally, practice strengthens mental connections so that your brain automatically prompts you to retrieve relevant pieces of information from memory. Finally, aligning your practice schedule against your rate of decay means you can prevent forgetting with minimal effort.

Let's see an example of what a hierarchy about the forgetting curve could look like:

The Spaced Repetition Algorithm Automatically Sets an Optimal Practice Schedule

After generating flashcards, RemNote automatically schedules a near-optimal Spaced Repetition practice schedule. These cards are then stacked into the flashcards section (you can find this on the left Sidebar) and will stay there until you practise them.

Practising your Flashcards

To assess how well you can recall a piece of information, you have four options:

RemNote uses your feedback to automatically schedule the next time you'll practice that card.

Using your flashcards correctly is key to effective learning. After seeing a prompt, make sure that you actually pause and try to recall the associated piece of information. Actively doing so takes effort, but is key to building mental connections to help the idea stick. When reporting your accuracy, choosing the correct response is also extremely important for helping the scheduling algorithm optimize your long-term learning.

First, you see a prompt:

Second, you try to actively recall the associated piece of knowledge. Third, you press "Show Answer" to check your memory.

The Daily Targets Features Helps You Stay On Track

Practising flashcards takes some time and effort each day. The daily target feature acts as your "personal trainer" by automatically setting a goal for the number of cards you should practice each day to learn your cards properly.

The thin dark-grey bar below the top of the queue box reports your progress. As you work through flashcards, the bar advances to the right. Try to fill up the bar each day!

Flashcards on Your Phone

By the way - you can open your flashcards on your phone. Many RemNote users practice in their queue during a time that otherwise would have been wasted, such as sitting on a bus or waiting in a long line.

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