At first, your memory may not be the first thing that comes to mind if you want to get more out of your learning activities. Yet it is an element of learning that should not be underestimated.
It is undoubtedly recognizable that you have listened to an event, workshop or, for example, a podcast and 2 weeks later you do not really know what was discussed?
You’re not the only one.
For example, research has shown that immediately after listening to a presentation, you only remember 50% of what was discussed. The next day it is only 25% and a week later 10%.
But other studies also show that what you learn is by no means always completely remembered. You may well be aware of the best-known research on this, the Learning Pyramid. The Learning Pyramid was developed in the 1960’s by the National Training Laboratories Institute in Bethel, Maine.
The learning pyramid distinguishes 7 levels in which you remember acquired knowledge.
- You remember 90% if you teach / teach someone something
- You will remember 75% of the knowledge if you apply it directly in practice
- You remember 50% of what you learn during a group discussion / meeting
- You only remember 30% of what you see during a demo
- You only remember 20% of audiovisual material
- You only remember 10% of what you just read
- You only remember 5% of what you learn while listening to a classroom training / lecture
Well, this immediately provides clear insights into what you have to do if you actually want to remember the knowledge you acquire. Because when you remember knowledge you can apply it and you only have some knowledge if you can also apply it.
Memory can be trained
Rick de Jong proves that your memory can be trained. Rick is a Memory trainer and has worked his way up to the top of the world in memory technology in a few years. This has resulted, among other things, in the European title: ‘Know the number Pi by heart’ in which he was able to name the number Pi no less than 22,612 decimal places after the comma.
One of the best things about his special achievement is that anyone could do this. It’s a matter of training and applying the right techniques. You can also use these techniques to increase the efficiency of your learning activities.
How do you improve your memory?
So everyone can improve their memory. Your brain works in such a way that you remember things if you know how to make connections, visualize and repeat. Below you can read a number of techniques that you can apply to get a better memory and thus remember more of what you have learned.
People are better at remembering stories than they are good at remembering ‘dry matter’ such as lists. You remember a list better if you create a story around it. So you make one whole from everything separate elements. This is sometimes referred to as the Story Method.
Do you need to remember a name? Then immediately make an association with something else. Someone introduces himself and says, for example, that his name is Mark. Then immediately try to find a parenthesis with which you can associate this name. It often helps to link a name to another person. In this case, you can immediately establish the association with Mark Rutte.
Write things down
This is a technique that you probably know, but there is a good chance that you will not always apply it properly. Do not underestimate this technique. Writing things down not only makes you understand it, but it also makes you repeat it to yourself. In the unlikely event that you also forget it, you always have a note to fall back on.
An underestimated phenomenon. This is a major point of attention, especially for companies. With the arrival of large open-plan offices, this has actually only gotten worse. If you want to work in a focused manner, remember things, then you should be distracted as little as possible.
In fact, it turns out that when we work in an open-plan office, we lose 86 minutes of productivity a day. Later studies showed that employees who work from an open-plan office experience more stress and are more often sick.
Each moment of distraction also provides an x number of minutes before you are 100% in your concentration again. How many minutes these are differs per study. A lot of research has been done on this, but the number of minutes differs per study. For example, an email turns out to take you out of your concentration for an average of 25 minutes.
Brain expert and author of the book Focus ON / OFF, Mark Tigchelaar: ‘Every time you are distracted, your brain has to divide its attention,’.
In short: ensure focus and as little distraction as possible. For example, turn off all your notifications, work with silence blocks and put your phone in a different room.
Visualize what you have learned. By visualizing it you make it tangible and you can even make associations. This way you combine different memory techniques. You visualize it by, for example, making associations, creating a story around it, coming up with a step-by-step plan or making it really visual through illustrations.
Apply what you have learned
As we indicated earlier in this article, knowledge is of no use to you that you do not apply. An additional advantage of applying your knowledge is that you remember it better. You apply your knowledge, for example, by teaching it to others. We have already read that you will then remember 90% of this knowledge.
Better learning efficiency in your organization?
In addition to training your brain, there are of course many more elements that you can tackle in increasing the learning efficiency within your organization. Our L&D advisors are experts in this and we have helped dozens of companies to take their learning efficiency to a higher level.
Are you also curious about how we do this and how we can help support your organization? Then contact us without obligation.