Online Class: Memory Improvement

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.

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Course Description

Memory: The Quintessential Human Ability and Its Enhancement

Memory isn't just a cognitive function; it's a core component of our identity and a vital tool that influences our daily decisions. While most of us appreciate memory for its role in preserving cherished moments or academic facts, its significance runs much deeper. Memory shapes our interactions, aids problem-solving, and serves as the foundation for all learned behaviors. Without it, our ability to communicate and form relationships would be rendered ineffective. Imagine a day where you couldn't recall the names of your loved ones or even the skills you've honed over the years; such is the indispensable nature of memory.

However, our brains, magnificent as they are, do not possess infinite storage. It's not built to catalog every fleeting moment or sensation. If it did, essential functions like involuntary muscle movements, intricate thought processes, and sensory processing would be compromised. Yet, the selectivity of our memory can sometimes feel limiting. Why do we remember certain facts or events clearly while others fade away? What determines the longevity and clarity of our memories?

There's no singular answer. Memory retention and recall are influenced by a plethora of factors. But here's the silver lining: with the right strategies and understanding, we can optimize our memory functions.

Welcome to our Comprehensive Course on Memory Enhancement!

In this course, we dive deep into the intricate workings of memory, providing insights into why we remember, what we remember, and how we can enhance these processes. From foundational concepts to advanced techniques, our curriculum is designed to equip you with tools that transcend rote memorization.

Course Highlights Include:

  • Foundational Understanding: Start with "How Memory Works," where we delve into the intricate neuroscience and cognitive processes that enable memory.

  • Promoting Brain Health: In "Healthy Habits and Memory," discover the correlation between lifestyle choices and memory prowess. Understand the impact of sleep, nutrition, and mental exercises on cognitive enhancement.

  • Diverse Learning Strategies: "Variety: Say It, Write It, Do It!" encourages a multi-faceted approach to learning, demonstrating how varied engagement can solidify memory.

  • Classic and Innovative Techniques: Master traditional memory techniques like the Peg Memory Systems and the Loci Method. Then, venture into novel methods such as SCAD, teaching you to be an 'Expert Witness' in memory retention.

  • Practical Application: From "Memorizing Numbers" to "Everyday Memory Aids," learn techniques tailored to specific memory challenges. Further, "Powerful Public Speaking" underscores the role of memory in effective communication and influence.

By the end of this course, not only will you have a deeper understanding of the mechanics of memory, but you'll also possess a toolkit of strategies to enhance recall and retention in various aspects of life. The course is self-paced, allowing you to integrate learning into your schedule seamlessly.

Whether you're a student aiming for academic excellence, a professional looking to sharpen your skills, or simply someone keen on maintaining cognitive health, this course offers invaluable insights and tools. Dive in, and unlock the potential of your memory!

Course Motivation

Memory seems like a simple thing: You think about where you put something you are looking for and the information (hopefully) is there for you. Most of the time, this recall of information is almost instantaneous; however, sometimes you have to "wrack your brain" to come up with the information you usually recall easily. Why does memory sometimes work so reliably and other times seems so faulty? It has to do with how and why our memory works.
How Our Brain Stores Memory

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.

Creating A Long-Term Memory

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 consolidationYou 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.

Why Don't We Remember Everything?

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. 

Emotions and Memory

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
  • Self-Paced
  • Printable Lessons
  • Full HD Video  
  • 6 Months to Complete
  • 24/7 Availability
  • Start Anytime
  • PC & Mac Compatible
  • Android & iOS Friendly
  • Accredited CEUs
Universal Class is an IACET Accredited Provider

Course Lessons

Average Lesson Rating:
4.3 / 5 Stars (Average Rating)
"Extraordinarily Helpful"
(3,822 votes)

Lesson 1: How Memory Works

Memory seems like a simple thing: You think about where you put something you are looking for and the information (hopefully) is there for you. Most of the time, this recall of information is almost instantaneous. Additional lesson topics: Illusions of Time 10 Total Points
  • 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

We can improve our memory by learning a variety of memory-enhancing skills, but nothing will improve our memory if we don't take care of our bodies and our minds. 10 Total Points
  • Lesson 2 Video
  • Assessment: Lesson 2 Exam: Healthy Habits and Memory

Lesson 3: Variety: Say It, Write It, Do It!

Using all of your senses is one of the surest ways to improve your memory. 9 Total Points
  • Lesson 3 Video
  • Assessment: Lesson 3 Exam: Variety: Say It, Write it, Do It!

Lesson 4: Peg Memory Systems

Peg Memory Systems are designed to help you remember lists of information. 7 Total Points
  • Lesson 4 Video
  • Assessment: Lesson 4 Exam: Peg Memory Systems

Lesson 5: The Loci Method

The Loci method is one of the most ancient memorization tools known and is based on attaching individual items you need to remember, to individual points on a route you are familiar with. 6 Total Points
  • Lesson 5 Video
  • Assessment: Lesson 5 Exam: The Loci Method

Lesson 6: Memorizing Numbers

In today's world, we have to remember an amazing array of numbers -- phone numbers, addresses, social security numbers, account numbers, credit card numbers, and pin numbers. 11 Total Points
  • Lesson 6 Video
  • Lesson discussions: What's harder?
  • Assessment: Lesson 6 Exam: Memorizing Numbers

Lesson 7: Mnemonics

Sometimes you want something a bit simpler than the admittedly complex number alphabet to help you remember lists of items or, perhaps, specific information. 10 Total Points
  • Lesson 7 Video
  • Assessment: Lesson 7 Exam: Mnemonics

Lesson 8: SCAD: Learning to Become an "Expert Witness"

We've talked a lot about how to learn and retain information that you are reading, studying, or hearing. We've also learned how to memorize and recall information, like lists of words and numbers. 9 Total Points
  • Lesson 8 Video
  • Assessment: Lesson 8 Exam: SCAD: Learning to Become an “Expert Witness”

Lesson 9: Faces and Names

One of the most common admissions people have about their memory is that they have trouble remembering names -- and they are even worse at putting faces to names when they run into people they've only met once or twice. 8 Total Points
  • Lesson 9 Video
  • Assessment: Lesson 9 Exam: Faces and Names

Lesson 10: Powerful Public Speaking

Almost everyone has to give a speech at some point in their lives. Many of us have to do it with alarming regularity, whether it's at school, at work, or for social functions. 10 Total Points
  • Lesson 10 Video
  • Lesson discussions: Public Speaking
  • Assessment: Lesson 10 Exam: Powerful Public Speaking

Lesson 11: Everyday Memory Aids

We've reviewed quite a few mnemonic devices and specific methods for training ourselves to remember more information, such as long lists of information, speeches, names, and faces. 23 Total Points
  • 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
Total Course Points

Learning Outcomes

By successfully completing this course, students will be able to:
  • 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

Online CEU Certificate
  • Document Your Lifelong Learning Achievements
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Document Your CEUs on Your Resume
Course Title: Memory Improvement
Course Number: 7550096
Lessons Rating: 4.3 / 5 Stars (3,822 votes)
Languages: English - United States, Canada and other English speaking countries
Availability: This course is online and available in all 50 states including: California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas, and Washington.
Last Updated: September 2023
Course Type: Self-Paced, Online Class
CEU Value: 0.7 IACET CEUs (Continuing Education Units)
CE Accreditation: Universal Class, Inc. has been accredited as an Authorized Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).
Grading Policy: Earn a final grade of 70% or higher to receive an online/downloadable CEU Certification documenting CEUs earned.
Assessment Method: Lesson assignments and review exams
Syllabus: View Syllabus
Course Fee: $120.00 U.S. dollars

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Student Testimonials

  • "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.
  • "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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