Memory Improvement Basics

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1. Memory Improvement Basics

Basic tips such as improving focus, avoiding cram sessions and structuring your study time are a good place to start improving your memory and be a more effective learner. -Focus your attention on the materials you are studying.

Attention is one of the major components of memory. In order for information to move from short-term memory into long-term memory, you need to actively attend to this information. Try to study in a place free of distractions such as television, music and other diversions. - Avoid cramming by establishing regular study sessions.

According to Bjork (2001), studying materials over a number of session's gives you the time you need to adequately process the information. Research has shown that students who study regularly remember the material far better than those who do all of their studying in one marathon session. -Structure and organize the information you are studying.

Researchers have found that information is organized in memory in related clusters. You can take advantage of this by structuring and organizing the materials you are studying. Try grouping similar concepts and terms together, or make an outline of your notes and textbook readings to help group related concepts.

2. Keep Learning (and Practicing) New Things

One sure-fire way to become a more effective learner is to simply keep learning. A 2004 Nature article reported that people who learned how to juggle increased the amount of grey matter in their occipital lobes, the area of the brain is associated with visual memory. When these individuals stopped practicing their new skill, this grey matter vanished. So if you're learning a new language, it is important to keep practicing the language in order to maintain the gains you have achieved. This "use-it-or-lose-it" phenomenon involves a brain process known as "pruning." Certain pathways in the brain are maintained, while other are eliminated. If you want the new information you just learned to stay put, keep practicing and rehearsing it. 3. Learn in Multiple Ways

Focus on learning in more than one way. Instead of just listening to a podcast, which involves auditory learning, find a way to rehearse the information both verbally and visually. This might involve describing what you learned to a friend, taking notes or drawing a mind map. By learning in more than one way, you’re further cementing the knowledge in your mind. According to Judy Willis, “The more regions of the brain that store data about a subject, the more interconnection there is. This redundancy means students will have more opportunities to pull up all of those related bits of data from their multiple storage areas in response to a single cue. This cross-referencing of data means we have learned, rather than just memorized.”

4. Teach what you’ve learned to another person
Educators have long noted that one of the best ways to learn something is to teach it to someone else. By presenting to the rest of the class, your teacher hoped you would gain even more from the assignment. You can apply the same principle today by sharing your newly learned skills and knowledge with others. Start by translating the information into your own words. This process alone helps solidify new knowledge in your brain. Next, find some way to share what you’ve learned. Some ideas include writing a blog post, making a presentation or participating in a group discussion. 5. Gain Practical Experience

For many of us, learning typically involves reading textbooks, attending lectures or doing research in the library or on the Web. While seeing information and then writing it down is important, actually putting new knowledge and skills into practice can be one of the best ways to improve learning. If you are trying to acquire a new skill or ability, focus on gaining practical experience. If it is a sport or athletic skill, perform the activity on a regular basis. If you are learning a new language,...
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