The role of memory in learning - Coding (2023)

Summary:As we discussed in the previous blog article in this series, there are three main steps in the memory process: encoding, storage, and retrieval. Here we take a closer look at the first step – coding – and its role in learning.

Discussion on Coding: The First Memory Process in Learning

encoding is thefirst processof memory, in which information is transformed so that it can be stored. This is a physiological process that begins with attention. A memorable event causes neurons to fire faster, organizing information into a systematic arrangement that can be remembered later. How we encode information determines how it's stored and what clues are effective when we try to retrieve it.

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For example, consider memorizing a poem. The brain does not encode each word on its own, isolated and alone, but creates patterns of words, making the experience more intense and increasing the likelihood that the event will be coded as a memory (Hunt R. &., 1993). Emotions tend to draw attention, and the emotional element of an event takes an unconscious route in the brain. Once perceived sensations are decoded, they are combined into a single experience (Hunt, 2003) and associated with previous similar events. The stronger the emotion, the stronger the synapses that store the information and the easier the retrieval process.

Memory encoding is an active and selective process that organizes and reorganizes information. So teaching someone to memorize and learn is in every sense a lesson in how to organize information. There are 4 main types of coding, and knowing each one can help us design better learning experiences:

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  1. AcousticallyCoding is the processing and coding of sounds, words, and other auditory input for storage and later retrieval. By associating information with sounds, by saying words, neural connections are strengthened and help in the memory process.
  2. VisualCoding is the process of encoding images and visual sensory information. Visual sensory information is temporarily stored in iconic memory before being encoded in long-term memory. The amygdala (located in the brain's medial temporal lobe, which plays a primary role in processing emotional responses) plays an important role in visual coding because it accepts visual input alongside input from other systems and encodes the positive or negative values ​​of conditioned stimuli. .
  3. TactileEncoding is encoding how something feels, usually through the sense of touch. Physiologically, neurons in the brain's primary somatosensory cortex respond to vibrotactile stimuli evoked by the sensation of an object.
  4. SemanticsCoding is the process of encoding sensory input that has a specific meaning or can be applied to a specific context, rather than inferring it from a specific sense.

Let's look at how we would use these coding techniques, starting with acoustic coding. If acoustic coding works, does simply adding music to your eLearning course improve retention? In fact, this type of strategy can distract from learning.To searchshowed that learning with only text or only with audio is more effective than learning with identical text and audio at the same time. However, using appropriate diction can help improve retention.Heresome tips on how to use itaudio encodingcorrect:

  • Audio is essential when the sounds themselves are the learning object, e.g. B. when students need to hearfor pronunciation, learn how to solve device problems through sound, music lessons, etc.
  • Audio can sometimes be used alone or just in combination with graphics.
  • Step-by-step instructions should be text-based, but audio may not be required.
  • Use spoken audio for animated sequences, but only text for user-driven sequences.check.

visual codingIt is one of the most commonly used techniques in learning as it is one of the most natural approaches the human brain adopts. If you read this list of words: house, tree, truth, book, value, and were later asked to memorize the words from this list, you would probably more easily recall the words house, tree, and book and have a memory remember the words truth and value. The human brain can more easily remember images (mental images) than words alone. As you read the words house, tree, and book, you have created images of these things in your mind. These are concrete, high-calibre words. On the other hand, abstract words like truth and value are words of low imagination. High-image words are encoded both visually and semantically (Paivio, 1986), which builds a stronger memory. Iconic memory plays a very important role in visual encoding. Some easy-to-follow visual coding tips:

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  • Always select graphics that match the text and learning objective. Irrelevant graphics really get in the way of learning. Ruth Clark provides summary graphics that work well to illustrate 5 main types of content: Facts, Concepts, Processes, Procedures, and Principles.

content type

graphical support


factRealistic illustrations of specific shapes, screens, devicesIllustration of the software screen
conceptRealistic illustrations of different examples of the conceptImages of good websites to illustrate the concept
ProceedingsAnimated diagrams to illustrate process stepsActivities on a computer network
ProceedingsVideo or animated demonstrations of a Fast Transfer task being performedAnimation of using a software application
principleVideo or diagrams of long-distance transmission tasks being performedVideo on Effective Sales Closing Techniques
  • Use the principle of continuity and align the graphics with the text on the screen. Using a scrolling screen with the words at the top and the illustration below the words so that you can't see the graphics when you see the text and vice versa is a bad design and learning decision.
  • Use text sparingly and don't give too much information away.
  • Use visuals that are already familiar to ensure recall – when we see a visual of a concept or product that we are already familiar with, we are more likely to remember the information learned.

Out oftactile codinguses the sense of touch, not useful in eLearning. However, it can be used very well in blended learning in "presence training" pieces. For example, in the medical field, much learning occurs through practices such as dissection,Palpation, and testing where touch is key.

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semantic codingdeals with processing and encoding the meaning of something (a word, phrase, image, event) as opposed to the sound or sight of it. Several strategies can be used in learning, such as: B. Clustering and mnemonics to aid in encoding and, in some cases, to enable deep processing and optimize retrieval. "Mnemonics" refers to any system or device designed to aid in memory. These are usually letter patterns, ideas, or associations like ROYGBIV to remember the colors of the rainbow. Some mnemonics commonly used in learning are:

  • Acronyms or mnemonics for expressions
    Every Good Boy Does Fine can help you remember the clef lines in the song (EGBDF).
  • Musical mnemonics
    Music is a powerful memory aid because it structures information and encourages repetition. Learning the alphabet through music is a good example.
  • The Palace of Remembrance
    It's a mnemonic device that's as tried-and-true as it gets. Invented by orators in ancient Roman and Greek times, the Palace of Remembrance (or Palace of Thought or "Loci-Methode"), the technique is effective and pleasant to use. You set up a "memory palace" and use it to link information.
  • fragmentation
    It's another mnemonic device that can make large amounts of information more memorable. The fragmentation technique involves grouping elements, finding patterns in them, and organizing the elements. For example, you can group items on your shopping list by aisle, or look for connections between events in a historical period to create parts of them, such as: B. Moments in World War II involving France.

Other general tips to improve memory encoding are listed below:

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  • The volume of material is important for encoding memory. The louder the volume, the harder it is to remember everything.
  • The level of systematization of the material (the more systematized it is, the easier it is to remember) and the level of familiarity with the content can also have a major impact on the memory encoding process.
  • There are two ways of presenting information: simultaneous or sequential. The sequential presentation of information facilitates memorization.

Have you used any of these techniques to improve retention? Any not listed here? Let us know in the comments section. See you in the next article!

Originally posted

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