Improving Memory Retention

Memory retention is an important part of the learning process for both students and educators. Being able to retain information over time is necessary for learning. Understandably, human memory is not perfect.

Unfortunately, there is a substantial amount of information for students to review, and they also need to learn more. Memories may start to deteriorate as we age, which can start causing problems. For some people, memory loss can even get so bad that they cannot live on their own anymore. 

Many people assume that memory capacity is fixed and cannot be improved through training. The good news is that science has proven the human brain is wired in a way that it can keep changing and growing even as we age.

What is memory retention?

Being able to recall knowledge that has been learned and stored in our brains is the essence of memory retention. It is the process of getting knowledge out of our heads that we have learned and stored for later use.

However, as memory recall skills deteriorate with age, we lose the memories we had previously saved. When the mind is unable to access these stored memories, we “forget,” which can result in the reconstruction of memories. This can happen for a variety of reasons, such as interference from other memories or simply time.

It is noteworthy that our human brains are constantly changing and adapting.This means that new memories can be formed and old memories can be relearned with proper training and technique.

What affects memory retention?

There are many factors that affect memory retention. These are a few things we can work on to recall things better.

One of the most important factors is practice. Practicing something repeatedly helps our brains remember how to do things.

Being motivated also plays a key role in holding on to a memory. If we are motivated to learn something, we are more likely to remember it. For example, if we want to learn a new game, we will be more likely to remember how to play it if we really want to play it.

Another important factor is understanding what we are learning. If we do not understand what we are learning, it can be hard for us to recall it later.

Getting feedback or information about how we are doing can also help us remember things better. Your mind may recall it as an interaction which required conversation, and it is easier for it to remember that way.

Learning in intervals also plays an important role in memory retention. Sometimes it’s better to learn everything all at once, but other times it’s better to learn things in smaller parts. It depends on what we are learning and how lengthy the content is.

The time between when we learn something and when we try to remember it is important. If we wait too long, we might forget what we learned.

What helps with proper memory functions?

It’s fairly normal to forget things sometimes, but it’s also important to remember stuff like course work and study material before an exam. To improve our memory before studying for something important, we can:

  •  Stay organized: When we have a lot of things to remember, it can help to keep a list or a calendar and be at the top of our mind.
  •  Exercise our mind: Just like exercising our bodies, we can exercise our brains too. As an exercise, we can read a book, do a puzzle, or learn something new like how to play an instrument.
  •  Spend time with others: Being around friends and family can help us feel happy and less stressed, which is good for our memory.
  •  Get enough sleep: Sleeping properly is important for our brains to be able to remember things. We should be getting at least 8 hours of sleep every day.
  • Get proper nutrition: Eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy proteins like fish and beans can help our brains work better.
  • Study with focus: Find a quiet place without distractions to study. Change things up when you study, like studying in a different place or at a different time of day.

Does exercise affect memory retention?

It’s important to find an activity that you enjoy doing, because studies suggest that when we like what we’re doing, it can help our brain grow even more. When we exercise, our brain releases proteins that can help our memory and cognitive abilities.

Doing exercise, like walking or jogging, can help our brains grow a special part called the hippocampus. The hippocampus is important for memory retention and helps us remember and learn new things. As we get older, our hippocampus can shrink, which can make it harder to remember things.

However, if we keep exercising, it can help slow down this shrinking process and even help our hippocampus grow again.

Just as learning is important, so is mental development and memory retention. As an educator, it’s important to guide students on how they cannot only learn better, but retain information in a better way.

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