"Every perception is to some degree an act of creation, and every act of memory is to some degree an act of imagination."
-- Gerald Edelman, Second Nature: Brain Science and Human Knowledge
2 How to encode stories in the mnemonic medium？4 How to encode stories in the mnemonic medium？How to encode stories in the mnemonic medium？Improving the mnemonic medium: making better cardsHow can we develop transformative tools for thought？2020-10-18Journal
In fact, there are ideas about memory very different from spaced repetition, but of comparable power. One such idea is elaborative encoding. Roughly speaking, this is the idea that the richer the associations we have to a concept, the better we will remember it. As a consequence, we can improve our memory by enriching that network of associations.
This is in some sense an obvious idea, according well with everyday experience. For instance, it's part of the reason it's so much easier to learn new facts in an area we're already expert in – we quickly form associations to our existing knowledge. But just because the idea is obvious, that doesn't mean it's particularly well supported by existing media forms. There's a lot of low-hanging fruit which we can actively support inside the mnemonic medium. Indeed, several of the suggestions above already implicitly build on the idea of elaborative encoding – principles like “avoid orphan cards” are based on this. Here's three more suggestions which build on elaborative encoding: