Mnemonics are Necessary:
A Review of Memory and Learning Aids
American Military University
26 June 2009
Mnemonics are Necessary: A Review of Memory and Learning Aids
We learn many different things during childhood and even before then. Our brain has the capacity for learning to the degree we do not know which means that our learning capabilities are endless and we can only limit ourselves with the amounts of information there is to know in a lifetime. However, how do we get to the point that we can learn so much? What means or ways are there that we can learn to expand the capacity of our minds? What good would it be to know all of this information if we cannot access it at any point that we want?
One way to improve the way you learn and remember is a system called mnemonics. It is an aid or in some cases, are strategies that can increase recalling 10-fold (Patten, 1990). We may already use this system and not be aware. Can you recall learning the words to your favorite song as a teen? Maybe you interpreted what the artist was saying and you might have put in your own words, then someone comes along and tells you the real lyrics. You may learn the new lyrics but that song may be forever associated with the lyrics you came up with. Or when learning the colors of the spectrum, you may have been taught to remember them by giving them the mnemonic Roy G. Biv: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet (Coon, 2006).
Mnemonic techniques are ways to remember what you need to know by a way of association, giving them meaning or even visualizing making it as vivid or ridiculous as possible. Mnemonic techniques are also ways to avoid rote learning, the more common, habitual and fixed way of learning by simple repetition (Coon, 2006).
The word mnemonic is derived from the Ancient Greek word mnemonikos and is related to Mnemosyne, the name of the goddess of memory in Greek mythology. Both of these words refer back to mnema or remembrance....
References: Coon, D. (2006). Psychology: A Modular Approach to Mind and Behavior, Tenth Edition. Belmont, CA: Thomson Higher Education.
Patten, B. (1990). The History of Memory Arts. Neurology, 40, 346-352
Svantesson, I. (2004). Learning Maps and Memory Skills, Revised Second Edition. London: Kogan Page Limited.
Turkington, C. (2003). Memory: A Self-teaching Guide. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
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