Building intuition with spaced repetition systems

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2024-05-12 16:00:06

Do you ever go to a lecture, follow it thinking it makes total sense, then look back at your notes later and realize it makes no sense? This used to happen to me, but I’ve learned how to use spaced repetition to fully avoid this if I want. I’m going to try to convey this method in this post.

Much of my understanding of how to create flashcards comes from “Using spaced repetition systems to see through a piece of mathematics” by Michael Nielsen and “How to write good prompts: using spaced repetition to create understanding” by Andy Matuschak, but I think my method falls in between both, in terms of abstraction. Finally, I want to credit Quantum Country for being an amazing example of flashcards created to develop intuition in users.

My method is more abstract than Michael Nielsen’s approach, since it does not only apply to mathematics, but to any subject. Yet it is less abstract than Andy Matuschak’s approach because I specifically use it for ‘academic subjects’ that require deep intuition of (causal or other) relationships between concepts. Many of Matuschak’s principles in his essay apply here (I want to make sure to give him credit), but I’m looking at it through the ‘how can we develop deep intuition in an academic subject in the fastest possible time?’ lens.

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