Recall Technique

The recall technique consists of, after participating in a class or studying a document, to try and recall as many things as possible from it.

Actively trying to recall a concept instead of glancing at notes is more effective and helps fixing the concept in the long term memory.

I’ve learned the technique from Dr. Barbara Oakley at her Learning How to Learn course.

An ability to recall—to generate the ideas from inside yourself—is one of the key indicators of good learning.

How to Use Recall

This Zettel was actually written using this technique.

  • Actively listen to the course and/or read the materiel you want to remember
  • You may take note at this stage (especially if the course is not recorded)
  • After the course, take a sheet of paper and a pencil and try to remember and write down the main ideas WITHOUT reviewing your notes.
  • Reread the document you just produced and see if you can add more information and try to connect together the differnt things you remembered.
  • When you feel you cannot add more thoughts, review your note materials and see which points you got right and which were not fully understood.
  • You know have a list of every point you didn’t fully grasp! But don’t neglect the point you remembered well; memory is all about repetition!
  • Try recalling the main ideas in different situation: when cooking or in a different room from where you originally learned it.