Publish at 03 octobre 2016 Updated 04 novembre 2021

First of All... Effective Memorization Methods.

Common Principles

Simonides of Ceos' ancient memorization technique, "The Memory Palace", is just one of the many memorization techniques that can be put to good use to remember something. This method consists of associating a place, even if it is imaginary, with each element that you want to remember. One then has only to refer to the place to find the element. Simonides had demonstrated the power of association for memory.

This method was taught so much in "classical" teaching that it gave rise to the enumeration phrases "First, second...etc.", which facilitated the retention of important elements of long speeches. Since then, much research has been done on what helps memory and recall. The essentials can be summed up into three elements. Virtually all effective methods will place varying degrees of emphasis on one or more of these elements, namely: intention, association, and repetition-recall-use. But in all methods, all three will be present.

Why it Works

A piece of knowledge is a relationship you make between at least two things. If you read or hear "apple", a certain amount of data will be associated with it. But if you hear it completely devoid of context, the same sound "Apple", will eventually be perceived only as noise or, in another language, will evoke something else or nothing at all.

The first element concerns intention. If the intention is strong, the demand for meaning will stimulate us to make the necessary associations and retain what we learn through our senses. The next time we hear "Apple" we will have associated something with it.

But often even if the intention is strong, if we ignore all the context, we will have little to connect what we are trying to memorize, no link of meaning appears spontaneously, it is up to us to make them. This is where the second element appears, the mnemonic methods of the "memory palace" style. We create associations. With children, neophytes in most areas, are particularly necessary and used methods.

Today, rather than limiting ourselves to places, we have discovered that we can use all the senses and also emotions to create associations. And it works: walking, writing, reciting, singing, listening to music, imagining, can all be put into action. Our senses of space, rhythm, position, order, smells, colors, tone, emotions, etc. all provide points of association, more or less conscious but real. Listening to music or writing and graphically reproducing what we want to remember, gradually adds and impresses our circuits and mind with links to the data.

Don't Forget

Remembering is easy, the real challenge is not to forget. We remember almost everything within seconds or minutes of "learning" it; much less a few hours later and a little a few years or decades later. What we remember is essentially what we use.

Hence the third principle of memorization: remember, re-remember, use the data in the context in which we will need it. Repetition, frequency of repetition, the time between repetitions, feedback, feedback time, mental operations performed with the data, variety of situations, effort expended, are all factors in everything, with the right key.

The environment helps us remember. What we want is not to wait after the environment or some chance event to remember but to remember what we want when we want it. Hence the advantage of creating our associations, of putting emotion, sensations, creativity, and effort into them. Thus, by our only look at our inner environment, we remember...

Illustration: Mariamichelle - Pixabay

Some references

Memory Palace - WikiHow

Classical pedagogy. I love it! - Denys Lamontagne - Thot Cursus

12 Mobile Memory Card Apps

Ten Myths About Memory - Speed Reading

10 Methods to Review, Memorize and Learn Effectively

Challenge: How to Remember People's Names

How Much Do People Forget? - Will Thalheimer. - Work-Learning Research, Inc.

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