Secrets of Learning!

By Crystal Maria Andrade,

You may be curious as to know how humans learn. The ability to create new memories, store them for a longer period of time and recall them when they are needed is something marvelous about human memory. But, how parents and teachers think about learning taking place in children is erroneous. Let’s look at what memory has in store for us. 

Learning is a continuous process which lasts life-long in humans. It begins right when the baby is in the womb till we die. There has been lot of research done as to how learning takes place in humans. Today, we find parents worrying that their children do not do well in their studies and some children find it difficult to grasp concepts and lag behind while others are fast learners and get bored or impatient as they learn quite faster than the others and don’t fit into their peer groups. Why do you think this happens? Do we not know that each individual differs from the other even in terms of learning and memory?

Learning is different for each individual because we learn in different places and situations. Learning depends on whether it is formal or informal. People learn through different ways like touch, auditory, visual, behavior, attention, rote memorization, observing, and perceptions and so on. Moreover, we learn through variety of formats like multimedia, books, lectures and the like. Our learning is influenced by our culture, family, social status, genetic traits, developmental ability and age. Thus, learning is unique to each individual. Furthermore, one needs to know that learning and memory are interdependent. Learning takes place because of memory and without memory you cannot learn.

Photo Credit: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/717339

Misconceptions about learning

The fact that everybody needs to know about how learning takes place is crucial in determining better results and how to overcome some common prejudices. Learning is not as simple as we think and it is much more than cramming. Teachers and parents make their students and children follow stringent studying habits without understanding the aspect of how learning takes place in children or humans in general. Learning is the result of memory and the process of learning depends on how the information in processed in the stages of our memory. The stages that makes memory is due to encoding, storing and retrieval. If we have learnt something then it is because there is a relative permanent change which has taken place in our behavior, mental processors and our perceptions about the concepts which is solely due to the result of our experience.

Stages of memory

What everybody needs to know is how the information is processed in our memory and how learning occurs in humans. The stages are as follows:

Stage 1: This is the first stage of memory and the information which we have perceived or seen is encoded for a brief period of time i.e. few seconds. This information must be either transferred immediately to short-term memory or else it is liable to be erased or ceased. This stage is called sensory information.

Stage 2: The second stage of memory lasts for 20 to 30 seconds. Some selective sensory information which is stored in our active memory or conscious mind is called as short-term memory. Most of the short-term memories are quickly forgotten, to locate them for future reference, one has to attend to this information so that this information moves to the next stage.

Stage 3: The final stage of memory refers to information which lies deep in our unconscious and can be retrieved whenever desired. It’s a stage where old information is replaced with new and the information stored here can be retrieved for a lifetime. It plays a vital role in learning without which our purpose wouldn’t be served. This stage is called long term memory. Information stored here is permanent.

Memory like music

Memory can be compared to music on your phone. If you watch a YouTube music video then it would be a sensory information for your phone. If you download a song and if it is in your playlist then it would be short term memory. Once the new songs are added, the old ones will be automatically moved from the playlist. If you keep playing the new songs many times, they will be on your phone as most played. Likewise, this is how memory works. The more you rehearse any information, the more you will be able to retrieve or recall the information later.

Goodbye to cramming

Now that you know how memory works and how learning takes place, you can get rid of your traditional ways of teaching or studying and say goodbye to all your prejudices about learning.  Cramming or rote learning entire night before the day of exam is not the right way to study. Doing this will only result in mental block or forgetting. Every time you sit for studying, remember that rehearsing the information you have learnt is very essential for learning to take place. This indicates that revising helps in recalling the information accurately. Only when the information is rehearsed in the short term memory, it will be transferred to the long term memory. When this happens we know that learning has taken place. Hence, practice is important so that your memory knows that this repeated information has a purpose and will be retrieved whenever you need it. So, your memory is like a field. The more you sow, the more you shall reap. Consequently, make your memory your good friend, as you’ll need its help for lifelong whenever needed.

About the Author:

Crystal Maria Andrade is a Content Developer at Learnhive. Nature, travelling, music, movies and fun interests her. She has a profound passion for writing. She believes making the most out of every opportunity. Her hobbies include collecting quotes, learning new words and playing crosswords and puzzles. She’s a fun-lover and is surrounded by fun-loving people. Spreading happiness is her mantra.

About Learnhive: 

Learnhive is a leading provider of technology based learning solutions for K-12 students, parents, and tutors. Our goal is to make curriculum based learning more effective and fun. We specialize in providing after school learning solutions for students and parents. Our flagship product, Personal Concept Tutor™ gives students the flexibility to learn concepts at their own pace using a wide variety of materials and resources suited for their individual needs. Our technology is compatible with multiple device formats such as desktops, laptops, tablets and smart phones to make learning more fun, interactive and available to students anywhere and at anytime. Signup for free to access the learning materials (lessons and exercises).