Skillset New Zealand Blog

Ideas to help your team develop personally and professionally.

If you want to make learning easy, you need to understand how we remember things.

Use the memory process to your advantage.

Using the memory process

Imagine three boxes side-by-side. Let’s call them short-term memory, working memory and long-term memory. In order for anything to make it into long-term memory it has to go through the other two boxes.

Information gets into the short-term memory through you senses – you see, hear, feel, taste and smell the world around you all the time. You lose most of that information in 2-3 seconds because you don’t rate it as important. But if something captures your attention, it will transition into your working memory where it will stay for 20-30 seconds.

If you want to store information in your long-term memory, you need to use an encoding cue. An encoding cue is a bit like a label on a file. Imagine you want to get the file later, instead of sifting through all the loose bits of paper, you only need to look for the label. It’s a more organised way to store information in your long-term memory.

Making learning stick

To make learning stick you need to create a ‘capture moment’ where your trainees engage and pay attention.

Follow the capture moment with an easy way to remember the new information, maybe an alliteration or a key-word that they can use to remember new concepts (that's your encoding cue).

Now create an activity so that they can practise.

Practice creates and builds the pathway between working memory and long-term memory.