Memory techniques to help retain knowledge

Knowledge retention is the foundation of development and growth, on an individual and professional basis. However, it can be difficult to achieve. And it may even be faulty – multiple studies have proven that retention in the human brain is often partially inaccurate and not totally reliable. Not only that but we forget quickly – according to the “forgetting curve,” for example, we will generally forget around 50% of information presented to us within an hour of seeing or hearing it. Within a week, that information is 90% lost. However, there are ways to overcome the obstacles to knowledge retention, such as the techniques of augmented memory.

What is augmented memory?

It’s the process of increasing an individual’s ability to retain knowledge. There are many different ways that you can approach memory augmentation – some of the most common techniques include:

  • Be present in your learning. If you’re paying attention and engaged – as well as focused on remembering what you’re being presented with – then the information is much more likely to sink in.
  • Engage in learning routines. Routines can make it easier to remember, particularly with respect to something like where you left your keys.
  • Acknowledge that you can’t remember everything. It may be useful to divide knowledge into learning for now and learning for later.
  • Make use of extended memory tools. Online organisers and aids, for example, can be very helpful.
  • Give yourself the opportunity to repeat and reflect. Repetition of recently learned information will help to embed it in your memory. Reflecting on what you’ve learned will help to give it context and weight.
  • Write down what you learn. There is a lot of evidence to indicate that we tend to remember more of what we write down – and this also stops us misremembering information too. If you have trouble remembering words then you could look at recording information via images instead.
  • Mnemonics techniques can be useful. For example, the “30 days has September” rhyme is often used to help recall the number of days in each month of the year. You can create your own Mnemonics – remember that the more creative and weird the rhymes that you use, the more memorable the information is likely to be.
  • Be proactive in your learning. Passive learning is rarely effective but taking a proactive approach to studies or courses and structuring in specific tips and techniques can help to improve overall memory augmentation.

What is the future of augmented memory?

It’s likely that artificial intelligence will have an increasingly significant role to play in memory augmentation. A study conducted by students of the Information Science Department in Nara, Japan found that technology aided augmentation was more effective and less vulnerable to error than other methods. Tom Gruber – the inventor of Siri – has also been a great advocate of how AI can help to improve memory augmentation. He even gave a TED talk on it.

Learning and development programmes have a key role to play in aiding individuals to retain information so that these initiatives have more impact. Contact us to find out how Learning Network could support memory augmentation within your training infrastructure.

If you're looking for a way to present the information you learn in an organised manner that helps you remember effectively, BRIAN is an app that helps you organise everything you learn so that you can improve your knowledge retention.

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