The Primer Platform can seem a bit intimidating. Allow me to give you a tour of this platform, ensuring that you can make effective use of Primer.

Let's begin our tour, shall we?

Primer Mode

When you open Primer for the first time, the platform opens up in Primer Mode. In this mode, we have a bit of a conversation. At times, I will ask you for input which you can provide by clicking a button or typing into a text area.

Each text input has a minimum character limit, which you have to honor to proceed.

Apart from that, there are also quizzes to keep you engaged in the conversation.

There are two menus. The black menu contains course cards such as useful glossary terms, equations, and codes. As you progress in the course, more and more cards keep on adding.

Black Menu also contains notes and questions.

Whenever you feel stuck, try to phrase your question and keep moving forward. Later on, when you review your course work, you can choose to seek the answer from various internet websites or our very own community forums.

Review Mode

All your course cards, notes, and questions are automatically converted to flashcards which you can access in the review mode.

Generate Flashcards

As you progress in the course, the flashcards keep on increasing. You can see your current topic flashcards using the top-left corner button.

You can choose to review topic cards, chapter cards, or course cards using the green menu.

All your notes are automatically cloze-completed, which means a part of the phrase from the note is hidden in the front of the flashcard.You can also choose which portion of the text to hide by enclosing them inside square brackets.

Export Anki Packages

You can download all your flashcards in the form of anki package anytime you want by checking the Course Review Flashcards in the green menu.

Learning Assessment

At the time of each topic completion, you are provided an option of checking the learning assessment.

Learning assessment provides different learning objectives that the learner needs to assess if you were able to understand the topic. It helps track which portion of the course was clear to you and which part you had difficulties with.

You can access the learning assessment anytime, using the button in the bottom-left corner.

The portal also contains various keyboard shortcuts to navigate the Primer Platform.

The button just above the learning assessment is the undo button. You can use it to undo your conversation during Primer Mode or reset flashcards in the Review Mode.

Retrace Mode

There are a couple of events that are likely for most learners.

  1. Learners will not be able to complete the course
  2. Learners will not be able to understand the course completely

However, do not worry. Primer is designed to be review-friendly. Once you complete a topic, your responses are frozen. You can no longer edit your conversation. The next time you revisit the topic, you enter the Retrace Mode.

In this mode, you can retrace the path you took to build the ideas about a topic. Since your inputs form a small but significant chunk, it is easier for you to review the topic. We like to think of your stored inputs as memory breadcrumbs. Think of them as something which you can use to retrace your entire path.

You will also find it easier to recall information with our inline completions. Inline completions are specific cloze-completed texts inside the course texts, which we think are essential for you to remember.

Using inline completions and your memory breadcrumbs, you should be able to resume the course, even after neglecting for an extended period.

Personalized Book

There two broad goals in Primer:

  1. First, to generate your personalized notebook
  2. Second, to make your notebook fully personalized

In Primer, the courses move sequentially.  You cannot skip any topic meaning you won't be able to access the following topics without completing all the previous topics.

Once you complete the course, you will be able to generate your notebook.

Your notebook will be compiled using the text responses you provided during the course, along with your notes and questions. You can continually update and regenerate your notebook.  Click here to check out a sample personalized notebook.

Even though the notebook has your response, it is not personalized yet.  To personalize your notebook, you have to add at least 150 notes and questions.

That seems a lot. Let's look at how we can do precisely that.

Prompts and Note-taking Activities

A part of learning on your own is recognizing your blindspots and thinking about what you don't know that you don't know—unknown unknowns. To reflect on the course, Primer provides you question-prompts to frame questions.

Creating questions to test your understanding is as important as knowing the answers to the questions. Once you have set up the questions, you can then seek solutions. The onus is on you to find answers. That might seem a bit harsh, but do consider your learning as a quest. We can help only till a little far away. You are solely responsible in your quest to acquire knowledge.

Primer also provides note-taking activities to help you write better notes.

You can use them to make notes of important points that you encountered in the course.

As both your questions and notes show up in your notebook and flashcards, make lots of them. Only then will your learning be personalized.

Retention Score

When you complete a course, a retention score is generated automatically for you and assigned the maximum possible value: 10.  It is a proxy indicator of how much you have retained of the course. From the day of completion of the course, the retention score decreases exponentially every day.

If you review your course cards, the retention score again becomes 10; however, it still decreases every day afterward. You cannot stop this decrease, for what it represents is your memory of the course itself.

The only thing you can do is slow it down considerably. Adding notes and questions helps to slow it down.

You can think of a retention score as a reminder to periodically review your course.

Ending Note

Primer is the first instance of a personalized book. And if I may add, in the entire human history. For a long time, authors wrote books to cater to a wide range of audiences. It was rarely written for an audience of one. We at Primerlabs wish to change that. Primer is a book written for a single person. You.

I invite you to generate your version of {course-name} with your thoughts, questions, and notes:

  1. I would like you to have an intimate conversation with the book.
  2. I would like you to question the statements.
  3. I would like you to think about the what-ifs, why-not, and hows.

I invite you to make this book your own. I am not the only author here, for you are too. Learning anything, for that matter, isn't easy. It's a lifetime struggle. And with Primer, let's embark on a journey of a lifetime.