Brian Thwaits on Memory & Learning
CURVE OF FORGETTING
1 hour: 55% loss
9 hours: 62%
31 days: 80%
WHY INFORMATION DOESN’T “STICK”
1. No interest
2. No attention
3. No effort
DALE’S CONE OF LEARNING: We tend to re membe r…
1. What we read: 10%
2. What we hear: 20% (rising “level of
3. What we see in pictures: 30% involvement”)
4. What we both hear & see: 50%
5. What we explain to someone else: 70%
SIX PRINCIPLES OF MEMORY
1. Intent to Reme mbe r/Learn
a. Be in the present—focus!
b. Be committed! E.g., note pad…Writing is less “passive”!
a. With something familiar—compare, contrast, etc.
b. E.g., a guest speaker looks like Rocky Racoon…
c. Pictures! Graphs!
d. Rule of Ridiculous Association:
i. EGBDFA; FACE…MAC-CIND.
ii. “Mnemonics” are “memory magnets”.
a. Practice—explain to a friend.
a. Lists, “points”, NOT paragraphs
b. “The essence of genius is knowing what to overlook.”—William James
c. “Learn” main concepts—“skeleton”
d. “Put the meat” onto skeleton through association…
a. Must make sense to you.
b. Ask questions! Clarify!
a. Re-organize boredom into a “brain party”!
a. Max. no. of “things” held in short-term memory: 7
b. Long-term memory (LTM): capacity, duration is huge.
c. Problem: LTM access depends upon organization!
(Ever lost an assignment? Your keys?)
KEYS TO LEARNING
2. Subdivide: Break into Manageable “Chunks”
3. Create Added Interest
1. Survey (Pre-read)
a. What’s important?
b. Main issues? Points? Intro—Headings—Summary “Big Picture”
c. What are you looking for?
2. Questions (Predict what you’ll learn)
a. Which main questions can be answered here?
b. Which main issues seem difficult to understand?
3. Read (Get Ans wers)
a. Don’t write! Seek to understand.
4. Record (Write Notes)
a. Enhance your understanding through repetition.
b. Writing helps commit to memory.
c. Highlight; margin points; detailed notes
d. Cornell Note-taking system
e. REMEMBER!!! Organize! (Chunks) Be Selective! Associate! Create added interest…
5. Review (“Overlearning”)
The above includes excerpts from a lecture by Brian Thwaits, former Mohawk College Professor, professional
speaker and consultant, September, 2001. Used with permission.