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The generation effect

The generation effect is the underlying process which supports note-making. It’s the phenomenon where information is better remembered if it is actively created from your own mind rather than simply read in a passive way. By taking the time and making the effort to rephrase the content you are consuming, you are more likely to commit the information to your long-term memory.

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The difference between note-taking and note-making

Note-taking often happens while listening; the goal is to quickly capture content so we can refer back to it later. Note-making is more common while reading; it consists in deliberately crafting our own version so we can learn and create better.

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Digital gardening

A long-term endeavour to cultivate your curiosity (planting seeds), expand your knowledge (growing trees), and produce new thoughts (harvesting fruits), digital gardening consists in crafting and connecting evergreen notes in a non-hierarchical repo...

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Zettelkasten method

A simple process used by German sociologist Dr Niklas Luhmann to publish more than 70 books and nearly 400 scholarly articles in his lifetime, the Zettelkasten method uses index cards and unique identifiers to interlink notes together. The book 

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The key principles of making notes

There are three key principles to making good notes:

  • Rephrase the original idea. Don’t use the author’s or teacher’s original language.
  • Connect ideas together. To help with understanding and recall, make sure to create links between the ideas y...

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Mind mapping

The use of diagrams that visually map information using branching traces back centuries. Popularised by Tony Buzan, an English author and psychology consultant, mind mapping consists in visually connecting information around a central concept. It ha...

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Note-taking has played an important role in human history. Ancient Greeks used the word hypomnema (ὑπόμνημα) to describe what could be translated as a note, a reminder, or an anecdotal record.

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The Difference Between Note-Making And Note-Taking

The biggest difference between the two is that the former is easier to forget than the latter.

With note-making, it is easier to understand and remember because of the generation effect - the phenomenon wherein information is better remembered if it is act...

The Generation Effect

We retain things better when we make our own version of a learning material.

The Generation Effect shows that actively managing new information may create relationships between each item, facilitating the retrieval of information when it’s needed. Instead of mugging up old knowledge, try...

The Zeigarnik effect and memory

It reveals a great deal about how memory works. Zeigarnik suggested that failing to complete a task creates underlying cognitive tension. This results in greater mental effort and rehearsal in order to keep the task at the forefront of awareness. Once completed, the mind is then able to le...

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