Active learning insights need memory support too

The core idea of the Mnemonic medium is that People seem to forget most of what they read, and they mostly don’t notice. But in my own experiences and my work with students, I’ve observed that many important details often reveal themselves when doing problem sets, working on a project, discussing the material being learned, or interrogating a text. These might be:

  • corner cases or boundary conditions of concepts introduced in the text
  • discoveries of your own misconceptions or confusions; “gotchas”
  • connections to other topics of interest
  • interesting lemmas derived in the course of solving a problem
  • useful examples
  • reference material you had to look up
  • “tricks” used (e.g. What kind of memory support do proofs want?)

These insights need memory support too! Often, if a detail was non-obvious in the course of problem solving or a conversation with a mentor, that detail feels like it actually needs the support more than the rote definitions in the book. The mnemonic medium doesn’t do anything to support this, but a good holistic memory system should.


Memory systems and problem solving practice - Patreon letter, March 2023

Last updated 2024-04-16.