Application prompts are much harder to write than recall prompts

The mnemonic medium can help readers apply what they’ve learned through simple application prompts. One challenge is that such prompts are much more taxing to write than recall prompts are.

One reason is that recall prompts are mostly rephrasing material that’s already in the text—turning declarative statements into questions. Application prompts, by definition, require constructing some situation that isn’t in the text. This requires some creativity; simultaneously, authors must make sure to keep the prompts simple.

Application prompts should vary when repeated. Generating those variations is costly, and Application prompt variations are challenging to automate.


Conversation with Michael Nielsen, 2020-01-20

Generating the variations is surprisingly high cost, as an author. This matters not just for me, but for future authors.