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Knowledge Formulation for Active Recall

May 31, 2010

I’ve asked a couple of days ago how did Little Fish got so good a learning items on SuperMemo. His post on Formulating Knowledge has some good examples of items formulated trough Incremental Reading.

By following the Twenty Rules of Formulating Knowledge in Learning he shows us how you can get to simple Q&A pairs.

I must admit this requires a learning process, but what doesn’t?

Little Fish, goes on from this piece of text to concise and precise questions, not always involving rote memory:

After the war, Oppenheimer chaired the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission. He opposed developing an even more powerful hydrogen bomb. When President Truman finally approved it, Oppenheimer did not argue, but his initial reluctance and the political climate turned against him. In 1953, at the height of U.S. anticommunist feeling, Oppenheimer was accused of having communist sympathies, and his security clearance was taken away. He had, in fact, had friends who were communists, mostly people involved in the antifascist movement of the thirties. […] He died of throat cancer in 1967.

“Science is not everything, but science is very beautiful.”

Trough getting this kind of questions:

  • After WWII, Oppenheimer chaired what US Commission? The US Atomic Energy Commission.
  • How did Oppenheimer feel about the hydrogen bomb? He opposed the development of it.
  • What did the government accuse Oppenheimer of? Being a communist.
  • How were his friends involved with communism? They were involved in the antifascist movement of the thirties.
  • What was the cause of Oppenheimer’s death? Throat cancer.
  • In what year did Oppenheimer die? 1967.
  • Oppenheimer quote: “Science is not […], but science is very beautiful.” (Answer: Everything)
  • Oppenheimer quote: “Science is not everything, but science is […].” (Answer: very beautiful)

Of course personal formulation of items varies by context, but I like the simplicity of the construction of the items.

Besides the items examples there are some useful thoughts of how to continue adding related info. You should check out .

I’m reformulating the mind map on the twenty rules for knowledge formulation (I have one printed copy on my wall close to the PC). Green, red, yellow colors reflect rules priority in the same way as traffic lights. If you would like a high quality copy know, send me an email or just comment this post.

I’m still open to new ideas on testing the algorithms for Spaced Repetitions (further info in previous post).

6 Comments leave one →
  1. LittleFish permalink
    May 31, 2010 10:41

    Wow, I really like that mind map!

  2. Bluemoo permalink
    May 31, 2010 13:53

    Yes very nice MindMap, I have left SuperMemo for a while as either my item formulation was not good enough, or my willingness of doing the repetitions. I’ll give it a new trial, maybe, knowledge formulation skills is what I lack. I would like that Mind Map.

  3. nmsalgueiro permalink
    June 4, 2010 17:14

    Germán, that’s an impressive mind map! I can’t totally read the small type, but from what I read one can tell it’s ingeniously written. Would you be so kind as to send me a higher definition copy? Thanks in advance!

    • gersapa permalink*
      June 5, 2010 10:17

      Thank’s, like I said before I’m here to learn and share. I’ve just posted the revised version of the formulating knowledge mindmap.

  4. Larry Johnson permalink
    July 24, 2010 16:20

    That’s one impressive mind map! I would sure like it if you could email me a higher quality copy!

    Thank You,


    • gersapa permalink*
      July 25, 2010 05:41

      You can download latest version on:

      I haven’t been updating the blog lately, mostly because of time constrains, I continue using SuperMemo, the most I can though.

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