Generation Effect

Anne-Laure Le Cunff write that the concept of Generation Effect is one where something happens when you move past the passing learning and reading stage and create something on your own out of what you learned.

You understand something better when you actively act up on it and create from it.

I like the idea of “generations” as both connected to generativity, I am creating something new, but also in terms of revisions, the more revisions, the more distillation, the better it gets.

From Le Cunff:Some think creating your own material based on what you want to learn may activate your semantic memory, which is the general world knowledge that we have accumulated throughout our lives, such as facts, ideas, and concepts.Others think that the process of generating content may initiate some particular encoding processes that do not happen when simply reading.Another theory is that actively manipulating new information may create relationships between each item, facilitating the retrieval of information when it’s needed.

To summarize:

  • Actively connecting ideas can jog one’s own memories and connect to other ideas and experiences from one’s own life.
  • It is possible that idea generation enacts some other form of “encoding” that doesn’t happen when just reading.
  • New relationships arise through the process of manipulating information.

A couple of ways I have successfully done this in the past:

  • Taking notes and then sketchnoting things together
  • Progressive summarization especially when summarizing myself and when adding commentary.
  • Reading something, then setting it down and writing about it without looking at it.