In today’s world, there is a lot of information that people must sift through just to make it through a day. Ordinarily, there is a need to remember personal issues such as doctor appointments, visits to the vet, buying missing groceries, among others.
In addition, there is a whole layer of information related to a person’s occupation such as remembering to carry homework back to school, or to email it to a tutor. The point is that there is a lot of information each person must sift through, and in the process, there is need to remember the vital elements in order to have a normal life.
When it comes to the internet, it is common to start a surfing session with certain objectives in mind, such as finding information relating to doctoral scholarships. To find this information, it is often necessary to skim through a large volume of information on various websites. Inadvertently, certain aspects, not originally related to the main objective of going online, become important to remember.
For instance, a person may find information relating to accessing library materials that can help him to clear up an existing project in one of the websites.
Whether this information eventually translates into useful input towards the project depends on whether the person can remember the website the next time he will be working on that project. It all comes down to whether a person can remember vital information or not. Is it possible to develop good memory habits with the help of memory aids to increase retention of vital information?
It is clear that people, including students, regularly deal with information without the benefit of a systematic method of committing to memory the things they find important. Is it possible to use the “link system in mnemonics” to improve their capacity to remember things?
In order to find out, it is necessary to test the participants’ ability to remember items in a list before teaching them the link system, and then testing their ability to remember the same list after teaching them the link system.
The information collected from this exercise will indicate the number of items each individual is able to remember before learning the link system and the number of items successfully committed to memory after learning the link method.
Planning for this exercise does not need the input of any of the participants. The goal of this exercise is to learn and apply the link method of mnemonics in learning to help in the retention of information.
The Do-Type Leaning Activity
The do-type activity selected for this exercise is “Improving short term memory using the link method”. The activity will have three parts. The first part of the activity examines the current ability of the participants to memorize items in a list in order to develop a baseline performance before learning the new skill. The second part is a short instruction session on how to use the link method to remember a list of items.
The third part is the application of the newly learnt memory technique to remember the items in their list. The number of items remembered will show whether there is an improvement in their ability to recall the items on the list. In order to reduce the time the activity takes, the participants will work in pairs for the first and third parts of the activity, and thereafter report the results.
In the first part, participants develop a list using Microsoft word. They will then memorize all the items on the list, after which they will recite the list of items to their activity partners.
- Pick a partner for the activity.
- In Microsoft word, develop a list of items. Options for this list may include a shopping list, tasks you should perform on a given day, or a keyword list of concepts you would like to remember. It should be a list of something useful to you. The list should be 25 words long. This task should last for three minutes.
- Read the list and memorize all the items on it in their correct order. Take two minutes to memorize the list.
- Recite the list aloud as your partner checks your accuracy, and notes down the number of items you remember from the list. This task should not exceed one minute.
- Note down the percentage of items that you remember from the list based on checkmarks placed by your partner.
In this section, the participants will learn how to use the link system. The link system is a mnemonic method used to aid in memorizing a list of items. The word “list” covers any keywords developed from an experience, hence the items on the list do not have to be physical items.
They can be keywords representing concepts. The link system works by associating an item to the succeeding one using a graphic visualization. For instance, someone who needs to pick the key to a boat from the owner in order to repair its electrical system may have a task list with the words “key”, “boat”, and “electricity”.
To remember these tasks, the person needs to associate the three words using either a story or a graphic narrative. It may read as follows. “The key is floating on water carrying the boat, and the boat is struggling to pull itself from the water using an electric cable”.
The result is that all the items on the list will link to the next item with an activity. The linking process works best when the story is graphic. It does not require logic to be effective. In fact, unconventional links work best for this type of exercise.
In this part, the participants will compare their ability to remember the items in their list using the link method with their performance before learning the method. The benefits of the system will be obvious to them.
- Use the newly acquired skill to memorize the list. This should take two minutes
- Recite the list aloud within two minutes.
- With the help of your learning partner, note the number of items remembered, and compute the percentage improvement in the number of items you have committed to memory using the link method.
To enhance the exercise, there will be a competition between the participants. The competition will aim at finding out who can remember the most words, both in the first part of the exercise and the second one. The winner will receive a token if available. As a further exercise, the participants may enter a challenge for the longest list that they can remember.
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Holmes, D. (2005). Communication Theory: Media, Technology, and Society. London, UK: SAGE.
Horton, W. (2012). E-Learning by design (2nd Ed.). San Francisco, CA: Wiley.