With the help of the LessWrong.com team, we've set up a way for you to embed flashcard quizzes directly in your LessWrong posts! This means that you can write flashcards for any of your LessWrong posts and either:
(a) quiz people as they read your article to help them retain your content, or
(b) provide an easy way for them to continue to be quizzed after they are done reading so that they can indefinitely remember the most important things they learned in your article!
Note that while many people think of flashcards as being just for facts and definitions, this is far from the truth! I personally use flashcards/spaced repetition daily for complex concepts, connections between ideas, ways of thinking about a problem, patterns, takeaways, strategies, arguments, triggers I want to associate with specific behavior, and so on.
This post will explain how to add flashcards to your own posts in a step-by-step fashion.
If you want to see an example of a LessWrong post with flashcards, check out my LessWrong post on self-control, where we first experimented with this feature.
And before we get to the instructions, here's an example (from that same post) of what embedded flashcards look like when you put them right in your article:
Adding flashcards to your post is quite simple. Just follow these steps:
Step 1: Create your own deck of flashcards using Thought Saver
Create a Thought Saver account at app.thoughtsaver.com and use it to create some flashcards for your post. You'll need to put all the flashcards for your post into the same deck. Here’s how to do that:
(i) Click “New Card” in Thought Saver to start creating a new flashcard - but don’t save it just yet.
(ii) In the text input box with the label "Decks"...
- Type the name of the new deck you'd like to create for your article.
- Hit "Enter" ("Return") or click "Create new deck".
- This card has now been added to that deck, and this deck will now be available so that you can add all the other flashcards (for your post) to it too!
- Type "Book summary: The Very Hungry Caterpillar."
- Click 'Create new deck: "Book summary: The Very Hungry Caterpillar."'
- Repeat these steps until you’ve created all flashcards for your article and added them all to this same deck.
Step 2: Go to the Thought Saver page for your new deck
(You’re ready to take this step once you've created all the flashcards for your article and added them to the same deck.)
(i) Navigate to the page for your deck by clicking the name of your deck on one of your flashcards:
Or alternatively, you can access a deck from the search bar by clicking in the search bar and then clicking the deck name when it appears:
(ii) Now set the order of the cards in your deck, so that they appear in the order that you'd like to quiz the reader on them. Click the overflow menu in the top right corner of the page (the 3 vertical dots). Click "Sort". Arrange the cards in the order you want. Users of your deck will be quizzed on the first card first, then the second card, and so on. This allows you to design your cards in such a way that the concepts built on each other. Click "Save" when you’re done sorting.
Step 3: Click the "Share" button for that deck and click "Create Link" within the share window
(Please note that the actual text/verbiage may vary from this screenshot as we are actively iterating on this wording to make this section more understandable.)
IMPORTANT NOTE: The following steps will have to be repeated for each widget/quiz you’d like to embed in your article. We recommend including at least 2 quiz widgets in your article, but for a longer article, you may want to include more.
Step 4: Select which cards from your deck you would like to appear in the quiz for your (first) embedded widget
If you're embedding multiple widgets in your article, we’ll assume that you want to have each widget show different cards (as opposed to certain cards from your deck being repeated in more than one widget).
(i) Enter the appropriate ‘starting card number’ and ‘ending card number’ (based on how you sorted the cards in this deck previously). So for instance, if the starting card number is 3 and the ending card number is 7, that quiz widget will quiz the reader on cards 3 through 7.
(ii) Click “Copy” to copy the embed source URL to your clipboard:
IMPORTANT NOTE: you’ll need to have this URL copied to your clipboard for the steps below.
Example of how to spread the cards from your deck over multiple quizzes:
- You might choose to put the first card through the fifth card [cards 1–5] from your deck in the first flashcard quiz of your LessWrong post
- And then in the next flashcard quiz, you might include cards 6–10, etc., etc.)
- Note that from all embedded widgets, at the end of completing that quiz, users will have the option to subscribe to the full deck in Thought Saver (where they can get daily email quizzes, quiz themselves manually, create their own decks, etc.)
Note also that instead of (or in addition to) embedding a quiz, you can also just add a link to your flashcard deck by using the Share link feature (see screenshot above). For instance, at the bottom of your post, you could say "Click here to subscribe to the flashcards for this post" and have that text link to the share link.
Step 5: Create a new post on LessWrong or open one you’re currently working on then click "Edit Block" within your post
If you’re not logged in to your LessWrong account, or if you do not yet have an account, log in or create an account first.
Once you're logged in, open the post you are working on, or create your new post.
When you've reached a point in your post when you'd like to embed a Thought Saver flashcard quiz widget, click the "Edit Block" button to the left of the current line:
NOTE: if you’re starting from a completely blank page, start typing something to make the “Edit Block” button appear or hover your mouse over the area just to the left of the current line you're on.
Step 6. Click "Insert Media" from the options menu
Step 7: Paste the embed URL you copied from Thought Saver, and click Save!
Now you've successfully embedded a Thought Saver flashcard quiz into your LessWrong post!
You may now continue writing your LessWrong post and repeating steps 4 through 7 to keep embedding more flashcard quizzes throughout that same post (as many as you'd like).
We hope you enjoy this new functionality! We'd love to hear your feedback on it and on Thought Saver more generally! Please give us feedback by commenting below, or by clicking the feedback button in the upper right-hand corner of the Thought Saver app.
If you're interested in how to write great flashcards, I'd recommend Andy Matuschak's article how to write good prompts: using spaced repetition to create understanding. Andy and his collaborator Michael Nielsen have been the pioneers in this space of embedding flashcards in essays. I highly recommend their essay Quantum Country where they introduced this medium. You may also want to check out Andy's other work related to this topic.