What is Learning and Memory?

1. Learning is the act of making
    (and strengthening) connections
    between thousands of neurons
    (neural circuits or networks)

brain connections.jpg

2. Memory is the ability to reconstruct or reactivate the previously-made connections.

3. Neurons that fire together, wire together!


memory model.bmp


Since there is no way that the brain can pay conscious attention to all the sensory data
that are constantly bombarding the body, it filters out information that is not relevant.

sensory memory.bmp

Approximately 99% of all information
entering through the senses
is immediately dropped.

There are two factors that strongly influence whether or not the brain pays attention to incoming stimuli...

1. Whether or not the information has meaning, and

2. Whether or not the information has an emotional component or hook.

When the brain perceives a situation to be threatening, the stress causes several responses.

As a defence, emotion dominates the brain and the rational/thinking part doesn't work very well.

The environment must be physically and psychologically
safe for optimal learning to occur!


working memory.bmp

For most people, information must be rehearsed a minimun of 3 times before it can move
from the working memory to long term memory. This is not affected as much by intellect
as it is by prior experience.

Rehearal is the processing of information which allows us to hold the data in consciousness (working memory) for longer than a few seconds, and to work with the information in such a way as to insure its transfer to long-term memory.

There are two major types of rehearsal strategies.

Rote Rehearsal - deliberate, continous repetition of material in the same form in which it entered working memory.

Examples: memorizing by saying over and over, writing over and over, reading over and over, etc.

Elaborative Rehearsal - elaborating or integrating information, giving it some kind of meaning ... creating chunks of reminders.


teaching someone else,
rhythm; rhyme; rap,
hands - on activities.


The following triangle shows average retention rates for various teaching methods.

learning triangle.bmp


long term memory.bmp


all 3 memories.bmp

Learning Channels

Learning Channels

1. Visual (objects or images)

Be sure to:

Look at all pictures and drawings.
Watch when I demonstrate something.
Use applets on your own.
Write out notes / re-organize notes your way.

2. Visual (written word)

Be sure to:

Read over notes and questions.
Read other explanations in books or websites.

3. Audio In (Listening)

Be sure to:

Listen in class. Write after I stop talking
Get friends to explain topics in different words or ways.
Listen to videos to review.

4. Audio Out (Talking)

Be sure to:

Ask questions.
Explain things to classmates.
Use applets on your own.
Say words to yourself as you study.
Talk out loud / make silly stories or rhymes to remember things.

5. Kinesthetic (Writing)

Be sure to:

Rewrite notes to study.
Write in margins of my notes things that made sense to you.

6. Kinesthetic (Doing)

Be sure to:

Volunteer for Demonstrations.
Tap fingers, pen or foot.
Chew gum!
Move while you study.
Imagine yourself doing/being what you're studying.

Amadeus Wolfgang Mozart