Anki and learning which require practice (origami, knot, instrument...)

I use anki to learn things which require practice. Origami, drawing, music, rope (nodes and shibari). Music will be considered in another text.

I consider two kinds of practical knowledge:

  • some practice requires making choices regularly (like drawing, or musical improv)
  • some practice requires learning and practicing some exact moves over and over. That may be the case when you want to learn a musical piece, or how to tie some particular note.

I don' have any idea how to deal with the first kind of knowledge, thus I'll only consider the second kind. I'll list here different methods, which depends on what I want to learn. I don't know in general how to decide which method is the best one.

A single field with the informations

For knot, I have 4 fields. The french name, the english name, the purpose of the knot, and the actual way to do the knot. A card show the knot and ask its/their name. Another card show the names and ask for the knot. Then I have to actually do the knot on some ropes. If I suceed, I click on "good", otherwise on "again". This mean I need to have ropes with me when I see those cards. Thus, they are separated from my main set of cards. This allows me to see all of those cards together when I have a rope, and I know anki does not ask any knot while I'm in the subway, for example.

I first tried to answer "good" if I kind of remember the knot, without actually doing it. Most knots seems easy, so I thought it was okay. Until I realized that actually it's quite harder, and I failed when I actually wanted to tie the knot. Thus I add to start from zero and learn the knot while actually doing them.

A list of fields

For shibari, origami, and music pieces, my note have 16 fields. I never use all of them. In each field, I enter a step of the process/piece. Anki will aski me the first part of the process. Then the second on another card, and so on. Finally, it will ask me to recall the whole process. I only practice when anki asks me to recall the whole process. It seems that recalling a single step of the process is too easy, I never really «forget» a step. So it makes no sens to practice it. Furthermore, the 3rd step can't be practiced without doing the 2 first steps[1], so practicing step 3 would take too much time.

I can't tell right now whether it works better using a single question, as for rope, or using one question by step, as with origami. Mostly because I've not see a lot of complicated things, so I use anki to remember things I have known for years, or easy things, and not to learn new things. This will change when I'll be further in the origami/shibari book.


[1] Try to start an origami omitting the creation of its base. Try closing a knot you did not tie.

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