Memory & Learning Styles
Memory refers to the ability of our brains to store and retrieve information. When you learn different memory techniques, you improve your ability to remember what you see, hear, smell, and feel. A good memory is what helps us remember and learn. The stronger our memory techniques the more successful our learning experiences will be.
Memory can be divided into three parts all of which make a contribution to the learning process. They are:
Sensory memory - Short-term memory - Long-term memory
Sensory memory refers to our senses - vision, hearing, touch, taste, and smell. This is where our initial impressions of the outside world enter our brain. These memories are very fleeting unless they are transferred into short-term memory.
Short-term memory converts our sensory memory into longer impressions where they are processed (about 30-60 seconds) and either converted into long-term memory or discarded. Most memories in both sensory and short-term memory do not last because there is not enough capacity to store them for any length of time.
Memories that are transferred into long-term memory will last a lot longer. The better they are "learned" the longer they will last. The more you retrieve a stored memory, the stronger the memory trace in your brain becomes and the longer the memory will last. When you constantly retrieve a memory, it becomes a skill like driving a car and can almost become automatic.
In terms of studying for tests and being a successful student, it is important to realize that cramming for a test the night before only shoves a lot of information into short-term memory which does not have the capacity to store information. This means, that by the time you take the test, you will have forgotten most of what you "studied," it also means, you will lose all of that information in a very short period of time because you didn't really learn it.
Check out the links in the table on the right to learn more about memory, it's relationship to learning, and some effective study skills.