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Thursday, April 16, 2015

4 tips for learning and memory recall

Every day we interact with different persons, learn different things and encounter different situations. Hours, days, and weeks from that encounter, can you properly recall what happened?

These are some useful suggestions about memory and recalling events.

  1. Our memory glosses over general details of a matter or subject.

  2. When I was working for a bank, I used to take the company bus. At end of the first day, it struck me that the company buses were of the same model and same color. So, how did I make out the bus for my route? The drivers realized one truth: people are interested in taking the gist of a matter and would rather gloss over the details. The buses were parked on the same spot at the same time every day.

    If they had not done that, I’d take the pain and an inconvenient one, of recalling license plates, driver faces, bumps on the body etcetera.

    Could you make out these faces one hour hence?
    Credit: Wikipedia.org

    When faced with daily items, our memory is poor. But given specific details, one can easily recall those items. 

  3. Our memory is much poorer than we can imagine.

  4. Close your eyes for one second. Can you recall all the items that were in front of you? Zillions, not so, but can you recall just fifty of them? Most persons don’t. Hours after an email was answered, one forgets what the email subject was especially if it was not replied. I was reading my email this week when a company wrote me that my annual subscription was renewed and extended for free. I sent a “thank you” message. If I had stopped receiving the company newsletter, I would surely have recalled that and re-subscribed.

    So, never trust your memory. Make it a habit of jotting down important details.

  5. Increased exposure does not affect memory recall.

  6. Increased exposure to a matter or subject increases familiarity but does not determine future recall. When I was a bachelor living alone, I used to meet a friend to write me recipes for a favorite African dish. I never stored that recipe in my memory. I can’t even recall that recipe if you asked me! 

  7. Distinguishing attractive details is better than learning everything.

  8. For effective learning, students and teachers need to have an idea of how every part of the subject matter are connected. For easier recall, students should concentrate on the easy parts of the subjects, the areas that attracts them most, before moving on to the difficult zones. It is the same with recalling information. Start with your zone of confidence about a subject if you want to be able to remember details about it later. An argument that you had with someone, what really piqued you about it? Make sure you make a note of that. It could be the only thing you might be able to recall weeks or months after.