The Power of Active Engagement: From Note-Taking to Creative Note-Making


Hatched by Glasp

Sep 14, 2023

3 min read


The Power of Active Engagement: From Note-Taking to Creative Note-Making


In our quest for knowledge and understanding, two key processes play a significant role: note-taking and note-making. While note-taking involves capturing information for future reference, note-making goes beyond that by actively engaging with the content and creating our own version. The underlying concept behind note-making is the generation effect, which suggests that actively creating information enhances our ability to remember and comprehend it. By shifting our mindset from passive collection to active creation, we can unlock the true potential of our notes.

Connecting Note-Making and Generative AI:

Interestingly, the idea of active creation is not limited to human learning processes alone. Generative AI models, such as language models (LLMs), also rely on the generation effect to deduce patterns in language from vast quantities of text created by people. These models don't retain the specific content they analyze but rather focus on inferring patterns from the collective human intelligence they observe. Just as note-making involves rephrasing and building upon existing ideas, LLMs extract intelligence by understanding how people talk as a proxy for how they think.

The Purpose of Generative AI:

It's crucial to understand that generative AI models like ChatGPT are not designed to replicate or distribute copyrighted material. They aim to infer intelligence from the patterns they observe in human-created text, rather than storing or distributing specific stories or novels. Just as a photograph captures a moment through the lens of a photographer's choice, these models extract patterns from language without claiming authorship of the content. Their purpose is to provide insights and generate creative outputs, rather than replace human creativity.

The Power of Active Engagement:

Both note-making and generative AI emphasize the importance of active engagement. In note-making, we rephrase and build upon existing ideas, creating our own unique version of the information. Similarly, generative AI models rely on the patterns they deduce from human-created text to generate new and creative outputs. By actively engaging with the content, we enhance our understanding, creativity, and ability to recall information.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Embrace Active Engagement: Shift your mindset from passive consumption to active creation. While studying or reading, rephrase and build upon the ideas in your own words. This process enhances comprehension and memory retention.
  • 2. Create Living Documents: Treat your notes as living documents that evolve over time. Regularly review and revise them to reinforce your understanding and incorporate new insights. By actively engaging with your notes, you solidify your knowledge and make it more accessible in the future.
  • 3. Harness Generative AI as a Tool: Explore the possibilities offered by generative AI models like ChatGPT. Use these models as tools to generate creative outputs or gain insights from vast amounts of human-created text. Remember that they are not intended to replace human creativity but rather to augment it.


From note-taking to note-making and the realm of generative AI, the power of active engagement shines through. By actively creating our own versions of information and leveraging AI models as tools, we can enhance our learning, creativity, and understanding. Embrace the practice of active engagement, treat your notes as living documents, and explore the potential of generative AI to unlock new realms of knowledge and creativity.

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