In order to be effective students and excel in your education, you need to understand how humans learn and how memories are formed. We have compiled some scientifically researched strategies that work.
Involve all your senses while learning:
visual, auditory and tactile.
The Science behind this advice:
Q1. How are memories formed?
Ans. It starts with us receiving information from our surroundings through sight and sound. This information is then converted into a pulse of electrical energy that travels along brain cells called neurons. The cells “talk” to each other through this energy by releasing chemicals, which bind to their neighbors through special proteins called receptors. This process allows the coded electrical message to continue from one neuron to the next.
A remarkable phenomenon occurs when two neurons communicate regularly with each other: the efficiency and strength of the connection increases. This process, called “LONG TERM POTENTIATION”, is now considered to be a major mechanism by which memories are stored.
This advice explained further:
Learning strategies that engage all of student’s senses include visual (seeing and perceiving), auditory (hearing and speaking) and tactile (touch and movement) increases the likelihood of both storing and retrieving the information.
The more ways a concept is introduced to the brain, the more dendritic pathways will be created.
Appealing to all the senses also allows for the information to be stored in different regions across the brain, allowing for greater interconnection.
Tip: Make your learning more engaging by involving more of your senses. While listening to lectures, take short notes. When you go home, search for some interesting videos on the topic and share them with friends as well. See if you can make a model of what you’re studying to further facilitate your learning. Summarize what you have learnt to your friends.
Meaningful connections are important.
Scientific research has disclosed that the most successful construction of a memory takes place when new content is linked to prior knowledge.
The probability of remembering something new is increased when you are able to connect new ideas to existing ones.
Tip: Take time to reflect and analyze on new content. Brainstorming is a powerful yet simple to connect your experiences and prior knowledge to the current lesson. Read beforehand the topic so in class your mind is busy making connections with what the teacher is saying to what you already know.
Repeat, Repeat, Repeat!
Once a memory is constructed it needs to be activated multiple times to deepen the synaptic connection. Every time we learn a new concept, a certain number of neurons are activated. When this action is repeated, the same neurons respond. The more time students are allowed to repeat the concept, the more dendrites grow and interconnect, resulting in greater memory storage and recall efficiency.
TIP: Repeat core concepts of lessons periodically, especially at the end of each lesson. The absence of repetition results in a decay of the memory. So attend classes regularly, prepare for quizzes weekly, and do all the assignments given to you so the information becomes activated in your mind.
Current research shows that two to four chunks of information is the maximum amount for working memory. The amount of stimulus constantly received by the brain overloads our short-term memory very quickly. The more intense the learning, the quicker the resources are consumed, meaning students can become overburdened even sooner.
TIP: Learn in small understandable chunks and allow yourself adequate time to process the content. Then rest the brain. Too much content studied in a short time span means the brain cannot process it and won’t retain it. So attend classes regularly, so that you are able to learn in chunks and avoid cramming information before quizzes, mid-terms or final terms, as they do not result in any meaningful learning you would be able to apply in your line of work.
Provide a stress-free environment
When students are constantly overloaded they are on hyper alert, and their stress chemicals causes their learning to be impeded. This affects ability to retain new information.
TIP: Incorporate physical activity or music while studying at home, allowing for both a break in the content and an increase in blood supply (and hence oxygen) to the brain. Or consider incorporating stress relieiving techniques such as stretching and breathing exercises as part of your study routine.
A HAPPY BRAIN IS A PRODUCTIVE BRAIN.
Share this with your friends so they can benefit as well.