March 23, 2012
Learning How to Learn
Many students and instructors have a false perception of how memory actually works, because they believe that our memories are stable across time. Actually your access to memories is constantly changing, and we are learning and forgetting information all the time. They think that forgetting is detrimental to their learning, but it can actually be beneficial to discern relevant information and disregard irrelevant information. Also it can be a very beneficial learning tool while studying. These theories have been branched off of the “new theory of disuse” which was proposed by Bjork (2011). Our constantly changing memory is presented as “new theory of disuse” assumes that our memory is consists very limited amount retrieval capacity and unlimited amount of storage capacity, and these two variables are constantly changing. Generally there are four different combinations between varying levels retrieval and storage strength that can occur. When there is high retrieval and storage strength for information (i.e. your name) is most easily retrievable. When there is low retrieval strength and high storage strength, the largest rate of learning will occur. For example, this would occur when you quickly relearn an old phone number. High retrieval strength and low storage strength occurs when you try to remember the name of someone you met just a few hours ago. You have low retrieval and low storage strength when you are trying to remember the name of your waitress at a restaurant two weeks ago. These two assumptions made serve as the basis for all of the additional theories about the benefits of forgetting that came off this theory (Bjork, 2011).
First, it important to understand how forgetting actually occurs. There is a misconception that time is what causes you to forget information that you have learned in the past, but in actuality it is interference that causes you to forget. Interference is the...