Memory champions know it. Chess masters use it. Successful students do it. What do they all have in common? They all know one proven technique to boost memory.
In Joshua Foer’s bestselling book, “Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything,” the journalist shares his journey from average guy to US Memory Champion. Foer did a thorough review of the research and received coaching from international memory champions during his year long journey. All things pointed to one common technique:
When our brains attach visual imagery to an idea or object, then place it in a specific location, the information will be much easier to retrieve at a later date. Often referred to as the “memory palace” technique, visual mapping allows us to have multiple neural pathways by which to access the memory.
The most effective and practical translation of this when teaching adults is to ask them to develop mind maps, or webs, as they learn the content throughout your session. Start everyone with the main topic in a center circle, and then pause occasionally to direct learners to add offshoots and drawings to their map. At the end of the day, provide time for participants to share their maps with each other or to show them to the group under a document camera.
For more ideas, check out my latest book, “Caffeinated Learning: How to Design and Conduct Rich, Robust Professional Training.”
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Anne Beninghof is passionate about teaching and learning.
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