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The Anatomy of a Recall
The Anatomy of a Recall

A tour of the recall creation and edit forms

David Handel, MD avatar
Written by David Handel, MD
Updated over a week ago

Watch this video for the latest on the anatomy of a recall.

Recalls are iDoRecall's (iDR) proprietary spaced-repetition digital flashcards. They are unique and differ from other spaced-repetition flashcards such as those from Anki in several respects. Most important is the ability to link iDR's recalls to the exact loci in your study materials where you created the recall to remember some particular concept, fact, or piece of information that you have learned. When you practice memory retrieval with the recall, if you struggle with the answer, you can click the source link and the source material will open at the precise relevant location.

You will see the recall creation form open whenever you click to create a recall linked to an area of interest in one of your library items. Recall editing forms open whenever you open an existing recall. Recall editing forms are 99% identical to recall creation forms and everything discussed here applies to them.

Besides recalls linked to library files, you can also create a recall in the RECALLS section of iDR by clicking the CREATE NEW RECALL button.

Click the CREATE NEW RECALL button to create a recall that is not associated with a library item.

Let's first take a look at a recall creation form, in this case,
opened by clicking the CREATE NEW RECALL in the RECALLS section of iDR.


NOTE: there are now a show more and show less controls in the form so that you can hide the less common fields on the form or show them.

The form has a series of sections. Let's discuss them starting from the top.

The Q and A fields

The Q and A fields are where you draft your question and answer. These are designed for creating open-ended questions and answers. You can easily draft the question as a multiple-choice, true/false, or fill-in-the-blank type question. We plan to release full-featured cloze and image occlusion-type questions in the near future. Stay tuned!! ๐Ÿ™Œ

The Q and A fields have a rich-text editor with tons of features and capabilities. Simply click into the Q or A to activate the editor.

The rich-text editor.

Three of the tools on the toolbar have 3 vertical dots indicating that if you click them, a submenu will appear. Let's look at the submenus.

First the A submenu menu for character formating.

The character formatting sub-menu.

Next, the layout submenu (ยถ).

The layout submenu.

And finally, the insertion submenu has several useful tools.

The most important of the insertion submenu tools is the formula editor which takes LaTeX input to create high-quality "typesetting" within the Q and A fields. This is particularly useful when you wish to enter mathematic and scientific formulas. To read more about MathType, check here. The docs about ChemType are here.

insertion tools

Below the Q and A icons are microphone icons

Click the microphone to record an audio snippet that will be played when you practice the recall. Audios can be up to 60 seconds long and are set by default to autoplay during practice.

An audio recording.

Reversible recalls

When the reversible recall checkbox is checked, the recall will be shown during practice as usual with the Q presented on the front of the recall but it will also, on occasion, be shown in reverse with the A presented on the front of the recall and your mission is to recall the Q. This is very useful for recalls of foreign language words and term/definition type recalls.

We have a fixed distribution of non-reversed 70% of the time and reversed 30% when the Reversible recall checkbox is checked. Someday we may add the ability for you to customize the distribution.

The tags field is a critical part of the best practices for how you should organize your recalls and library content.

Tags are the way to organize your recalls and library items into groupings and subgroupings that enable easy searching in order to perform bulk actions on these collections. iDR does not have a hierarchical folder system, You can add as many tags as you like to any recall or library item. You should tag every recall and library item for its associated course, subject, or topic. You might want to add additional tags for things like subtopics and chapter numbers if the course has a text, etc.

A. Start to type in a tag.

The empty tags field.

B. If your entry begins to match any existing tags, they will be autosuggested.

Matching existing tags are autosuggested.

C. If you want to apply an existing tag, click it in the dropdown and it will be applied.

Click an autosuggestion to add the tag.

To create a brand new tag, simply type it into the tags field and hit return/enter or the tab key. Tags can contain spaces and be multi-worded. If after you type the first two characters, you match a portion of any existing tags, they will be autosuggested.

Some useful tips...

  1. If you see a tag in the dropdown that you no longer want to see autosuggested, click its X in the dropdown and you won't see it autosuggested again until you reuse it in any tags field by typing it out in full and hitting enter/tab.

  2. If you wish to remove a tag from the tags field, click its X.

  3. If you create a new tag that is a typo, you can edit or delete that tag in the Tags Panel.

  4. Any recall created and linked to a library item, automatically inherits the tags that the file or video possesses at the time that the recall is created. So it is a good idea to tag the file before you begin creating linked recalls.

Source links

Source links are a superpower of iDR's recalls which enable you to quickly return to the exact relevant location in your learning materials where you learned that nugget of knowledge. Click the link on the back of the recall during practice to review that source. You can even click the link inside the recall edit form to see the source file or video.

When you create a linked recall in a library item, the source link field is automatically populated with the name of the file, note, or video.

source link to an item in the library

If you are creating a recall from the RECALLS section of iDR, that won't be linked to a file in your library. But you can link it to any web page by adding a URL to the source field.

pasted in source link to a webpage

During practice, if you click the source link, the webpage will open in a new browser tab.

Share with GROUPS

You can type the name of one of the GROUPS that you have created or joined and it will be autosuggested. Click the autosuggestion and when you save the recall, it will be shared to that group's RECALLS list. You can share the recall with multiple groups at the same time by adding another group.

Click an autosuggestion to share the recall with one of your groups.

If you don't belong to any groups you can ignore this field until you step up to the power of having groups so that you can share recalls and files with classmates, your students, or friends.

Check your response log

This feature is on our roadmap but not yet implemented. When we complete this, clicking it will display a popup that will show the stats for each practice that you have performed of that recall. You will see the date of the practice, any entry that you have made in the R (response) field on the front of the recall, and your star rating.

Check your response log.
response log popup

The Metacognition Widget

This widget appears in multiple places in the UI of iDR and is discussed fully in another help article.

The metacognition widget.

Metacognition, in its simplest definition, is "thinking about your thinking." In fact, it is a whole lot more than that. iDR's metacognition widget randomly poses questions for you to think about that will elevate your learning. We have written several articles about metacognition which you may find helpful such as this one.

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