Online Class: Memory Improvement
with CEU Certificate*
have taken this course
Memory is one of the most basic and important functions of the human brain. In fact, without memory we can't learn. Most people think of memory as how we recall past events, but it is also the building blocks for almost everything we do in the present and future. Our memories provide us with a sense of our own personality and give us the information we need to function properly in the everyday world. Communication, problem solving and relationships all rely to some extent on memories that we use to inform us as we take action.
This course will explain how memory works, and will also cover these topics:
- Strategies to improve Memory
- Peg Memory Systems
- The Loci Method
- Memorizing Numbers
- SCAD: Learning to Become an 'Expert Witness'
- Faces and Names
- Powerful Public Speaking
- Everyday Memory Aids
The class is self-paced and you can take it when it fits your schedule. So why not join and learn how to maintain a healthy memory and learn some memory improvement strategies!
Information enters our brain through our five senses: sight, hearing, touch, taste, and scent. Memory stores our recollections of each of these senses, not the sensations themselves. Recalling memories retraces the same neural pathways in the brain that we originally used to experience an event, creating a sort of "recall" of the event.
There are two different kinds of memory the brain stores – short-term memory and long-term memory. When we experience an event, it actually lasts only a fraction of a second, then moves into short-term memory for a period of time in the cortex of the brain. Eventually, the most essential memories move from short-term memory to long-term memory. In fact, short-term memories last less than a minute. The greater part of anything that you do during a day is lost from your short-term memory within a minute of having done it.
Some of the information – what your brain deems the essentials – will be retained and stored in your long term-memory. Many of these memories will last a lifetime; others will eventually be forgotten, but are retrievable in some cases.
Long-term memories are created through a three-step process, so that each memory can be properly broken down into parts and assigned meaning, stored properly, and then retrieved when needed. The shorthand for this process is:
Encoding → Storage (or Consolidation) → Retrieval
Encoding is simply breaking down any new concept or information into parts that will establish meaning.The brain will also establish a context around the new information or experience. Encoding is what gives the new information individual meaning; it will define the new information in terms of descriptive elements, such as the taste, sound, appearance, and feel. A sweater might by warm, bright, and colorful. It can also be encoded in the context of particular feelings or emotions, "I love this sweater because it was a gift from my husband and I look good in it."
Storage is the brain's act of "filing" the memory somewhere. We usually store memories with similar information, which is why it is sometimes referred to as consolidation. You may remember the new sweater as "just like the fuzzy sweater I had when I was a teenager." You are classifying it by consolidating it with an object that is similar but with some characteristics that are different. This helps us store memories in a less chaotic fashion and helps us with the final stage of memory retrieval.
Retrieval of a memory involves following the "clues" that trace the various encoded signs, and then decoding the information to get to the meaning. Sometimes we can't retrieve exactly what we are struggling to recall ("It's right on the tip of my tongue."), but we know we are very close, because we can retrieve other information that is very close – we can remember sweaters that are similar and we may even close our eyes and we can remember a particular color, but that one sweater – the one your husband gave you – is an elusive memory. But those memories consolidated with it may help you to get where you are going, so that you can get to the whole memory.
We use the hippocampus, a sub-portion of the cortex of the brain, to consolidate new memories. Any new event creates brief links among neurons in the cortex of the brain. For instance, when you remember the sweater your husband gave you, the textural memory of how it feels, the emotional memory of why you love it, and the visual appeal memory will all converge in the hippocampus. Each time this happens, the path of neurons creating the memory is strengthened as it passes through the cortex and hippocampus. The more this happens, the more the memory is strengthened by reinforcement of those pathways. These memory paths become a stable part of long-term memory.
It would be nice to remember everything, but it would give us a terrible overload, taking over so much of our brain that it couldn't take care of the many other functions it has to take care of -- from involuntary actions, such as breathing and blinking, to conscious thought, such as conversation and processing new ideas. Simply put, we can only retain so much, and our brain is selective, so that we remember only what it thinks we need.
Many factors affect how much and how well we can recall things, including how much we are paying attention when we encounter the material. When we say information "went in one ear and out the other," (a common affliction of teenagers), we usually mean that the person appeared to be paying attention, but later remembered nothing they were told. This is because the person listening wasn't really paying attention to what we were saying at all (another common affliction of teenagers).
These same teenagers can remember the lyrics to hundreds of popular rock songs, the names of band members, and concert dates for the coming two years. Why? Because this is the information that is important to them. They are motivated to remember it and store it in their long-term memory for reference whenever they need it. The list of chores you gave them, however, isn't memorable, because they just don't find it interesting or important.
Our emotional state has a distinct effect on memory. The greater the emotion or intensity of a particular event, the more likely it is that you will remember the information and events surrounding it. Whether your heightened mood is good or bad, whether you are happy or sad, joyful, angry, frightened, or grieving, doesn't matter nearly as much as the intensity or depth of that particular feeling. This is why so many people can recall years later where they were, what they were wearing, and how everything looked on their wedding day, when their child was born, or at the funeral of someone they loved.
Did You Ever Really Learn It?
There are levels to what you've learned in working memory. Recent studies done at Penn State University Erie revealed that some individuals can't retrieve information from their memories, because it was only stored in working memory (another term for short-term memory), and never actually converted to long-term memory. In effect, the information was never actually converted from new, learned information, to a permanent memory that could later be retrieved.
In the study, participants fell into two types of groups. One group learned the new information for a brief time and then forgot it – the information was gone for good. The other group was able to encode the information and put it into storage for future retrieval.
Another discovery was that the brain has an override system that effectively "trashes" information that it deems outdated. While study participants were learning information, if new details were revealed, the brain seemed to filter through the details and retain only what it deemed most vital. It would encode and store the most important bits of information and "toss aside" the rest, because it recognized certain information as no longer necessary or relevant.
- Completely Online
- Printable Lessons
- Full HD Video
- 6 Months to Complete
- 24/7 Availability
- Start Anytime
- PC & Mac Compatible
- Android & iOS Friendly
- Accredited CEUs
Lesson 1: How Memory Works
- Lesson 1 Video
- Review Practice Worksheet: optional-WordSearch-Activity-7151.pdf
- Lesson discussions: Memory Improvement; Reasons for Taking this Course
- Complete Assignment: An Introduction
- Assessment: Lesson 1 Exam: How Memory Works
Lesson 2: Healthy Habits and Memory
- Lesson 2 Video
- Assessment: Lesson 2 Exam: Healthy Habits and Memory
Lesson 3: Variety: Say It, Write It, Do It!
- Lesson 3 Video
- Assessment: Lesson 3 Exam: Variety: Say It, Write it, Do It!
Lesson 4: Peg Memory Systems
- Lesson 4 Video
- Assessment: Lesson 4 Exam: Peg Memory Systems
Lesson 5: The Loci Method
- Lesson 5 Video
- Assessment: Lesson 5 Exam: The Loci Method
Lesson 6: Memorizing Numbers
- Lesson 6 Video
- Lesson discussions: What's harder?
- Assessment: Lesson 6 Exam: Memorizing Numbers
Lesson 7: Mnemonics
- Lesson 7 Video
- Assessment: Lesson 7 Exam: Mnemonics
Lesson 8: SCAD: Learning to Become an "Expert Witness"
- Lesson 8 Video
- Assessment: Lesson 8 Exam: SCAD: Learning to Become an “Expert Witness”
Lesson 9: Faces and Names
- Lesson 9 Video
- Assessment: Lesson 9 Exam: Faces and Names
Lesson 10: Powerful Public Speaking
- Lesson 10 Video
- Lesson discussions: Public Speaking
- Assessment: Lesson 10 Exam: Powerful Public Speaking
Lesson 11: Everyday Memory Aids
- Lesson 11 Video
- Lesson discussions: Let us know what you think of this course; Program Evaluation Follow-up Survey (End of Course); Course Comments
- Assessment: Lesson 11 Exam: Everyday Memory Aids
- Assessment: The Final Exam
- Describe how memory works.
- Summarize healthy habits and memory.
- Describe Peg Memory Systems.
- Describe the loci method.
- Demonstrate memorizing numbers.
- Describe mnemonics.
- Define and use SCAD.
- Describe techniques for remembering faces and names.
- Summarize everyday memory aids.
- Demonstrate mastery of lesson content at levels of 70% or higher.
Additional Course Information
- Document Your Lifelong Learning Achievements
- Earn an Official Certificate Documenting Course Hours and CEUs
- Verify Your Certificate with a Unique Serial Number Online
- View and Share Your Certificate Online or Download/Print as PDF
- Display Your Certificate on Your Resume and Promote Your Achievements Using Social Media
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This course only
|Time to complete||6 months|
|No. of courses||1 course|
Certificate & CEUs
This course only
|Time to complete||6 months|
|No. of courses||1 course|
Certificates & CEUs
Includes all 600+ courses
|Time to complete||12 Months|
|No. of courses||600+|
Certificates & CEUs
Includes all 600+ courses
|Time to complete||24 Months|
|No. of courses||600+|
- "I really enjoyed taking this class. I really like that there were videos of the lesson as well as visuals in each lesson." -- Laureen K.
- "The information was very helpful for me. I have learned a lot about certain ways to help me remember things and how the brain works to help me with that." -- Peggy S.
- "The online course is very convenient and being able to do it at my own pace was helpful. I am already using the techniques to boost my memory skills to help me at my job. The instructor was quick in getting test scores and whe i did not need tosend a message, i know it would've been a fast response time. Great class!!" -- Julie M.
- "The courses were both easy to understand and there were great examples of how to use the methods in everyday life." -- Lisa B.
- "A great course and very interesting and useful." -- Maeve G.
- "Excellent material and website." -- Marta C.
- "IT WAS GREAT AND I AM NOT GOOD WITH COMPUTER ESPECIALLY IN PASTING AND THAT SORT OF STUFF BUT THE INSTRUCTOR IS GREAT SHE REALLY WORKED WITH ME I APPRECIATE WHAT I GOT I JUST MAY TAKE IT AGAIN IF I CAN LATER." -- Clemencia G.
- "This class was very well organized. The information was presented simply and clearly. The techniques presented to improve memory were helpful and practical." -- Linda B.
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