By Ron Boatright, Ph.D.

All learning is based on memory. There are 7 key principles of learning and remembering.
Key points associated with each of these are summarized below.

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1. Motivation

All learning begins with motivation.
Motivation is based on "interest" in the subject matter, natural or induced.
The primary motivators are pain and pleasure.
There must be an "intention to remember."
Ego involvement promotes interest, attention, and intention to remember.

2. Understanding
It is difficult to remember something which the person does not understand.
Seek to "make sense" of the information to be remembered.
Relate information to existing knowledge -- to your own experiences.
Try to get the "big picture," understand how the parts relate to the whole.
Seek to understand the basic concept or principle.
Paraphrase in own words.
Identify examples and illustrations of the concept or principle to be remembered.
Build a background, a knowledge structure, a schema of the information to be remembered. You cannot understand anything that stands alone; an isolated thing or fact has no meaning.

3. Condense
It is easier to remember less information; condense the information to be learned and remembered.
A person generally remembers less than 10% of the information read or studied.
Over 90% of language is "filler."
Identify key words. These are usually nouns and verbs.
Underline, hi-lite, use check and star.
Outline, summarize, abbreviate.
Simplify and remember the "gist" of the information.
Use acronyms.
Break information into memorable "chunks."

4. Organization
A good memory is like a well-organized and well-maintained filing system.
Build a background, a knowledge structure, a schema of the information to be remembered.
You cannot remember (or understand) anything that stands alone; an item to be remembered should be associated (linked) with other similar information already filed.
Apply logic and order.
Relate the part to the whole.
Categorize, classify, sort, outline.

5. Association
Association i.e. the basis for all memory.
Aristotle's laws of association: spatial contiguity, temporal contiguity, similarity, and contrast (opposite).
Other types of association: order contiguity, numerical contiguity, context contiguity, complementary, substitute, homonyms, synonyms, cause and effect, part and whole, particular and general.
To remember an item or fact, it must be linked (associated) with something you already know.
All mnemonic systems (loci, rhyme, consonant keyword image, etc.) used by memory "experts" are based on association and visualization.

6. Visualization
Five senses are utilized in various memories.
Over 85% of all semantic memory (meaning) is acquired via the visual sense.
1 picture is worth a 1,000 words.
Using your imagination, create a mental picture or image of the information to be remembered.
use ACE: create a vivid image that incorporates Action, Color, and Exaggeration.
All memory "experts" use mental images in the various mnemonic systems (loci, rhyme, consonant keywords, etc.)
Use of more than one sense increase memory.

7. Repetition
Understanding is not the same as remembering.
Ordinary information, without special significance or meaning, cannot be remembered very long without attention and effort.
Information must be reviewed one or more times to "fix" it in long-term memory.
Research indicates that spaced review is most effective. The reviews should be at roughly the following intervals: 10 minutes, 1 day, 1 week, 1 month, and periodically thereafter as needed.
Oral review utilizes oral and auditory senses.
Written review utilizes visual, auditory (sub-vocalization) and motor senses.

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