20 rules of knowledge formulation
The way we formulate questions in learning has a monumental impact on memory and its longevity.
20 rules of knowledge formulation, compiled in 1999, describes the most important rules needed to formulate questions effectively for long-term retention.
Quick summary of the rules:
- don't learn things you do not understand
- learn before you memorize
- start from basics before going into complexities
- keep questions simple
- images help memory
- learn mnemonic techniques, e.g. peg lists
- avoid lists, sets and enumerations
- personalize and provide examples
- cloze deletion is fast and has a great mnemonic power
- use redundancy (similar items asking similar questions from different angles)
- use references
With the advent of incremental reading, some of the rules have been modified or changed in priority.
Changes of strategy in incremental reading:
- building comprehension may be part of the learning process, and creating cloze deletion of poorly understood phrases is acceptable
- learning and memorization may occur in parallel
- items can be complex early in the process and get simplified incrementally depending on priority and available time
- multiple cloze deletions on different formulations of the same statement may often substitute for mnemonic techniques
- lists, sets, and enumerations can be easily tackled with cloze deletion
- personalization is easy: add your own stories to texts that you learn