Is Memorization Good for Learning? (10 Important Facts)
While memorization in learning may not be the ultimate goal, it’s necessary on many occasions. You use rote learning or memorization when you repeat something and remember it.
Memorization is good for learning because it trains the brain to remember things. The memorization task makes your mind exercise, giving it more strength to retain information. For example, memorizing poetry or passages over a given period effectively makes the brain receptive to remembering.
Moreover, competitive memorizers believe that using memory tricks and practicing visualization techniques helps them remember lots of information quickly. Despite our reliance on technology, we shouldn’t be too quick to dismiss memorization and its significance in learning.
Memorization and academic achievement are closely linked, and memorizing acts as a building block to analytical thinking. However, memorized information may only be helpful when meaningfully intertwined with skills. Also, there are instances where using it as a learning technique may not be effective.
In this article, we will look at the reasons why memorization still plays a crucial role in learning today and some benefits of memorization.
The role of memorization as a learning technique
Memorization is a critical learning technique that builds lifelong mental abilities. It trains the brain to retain more information, focus, and work with better agility and speed. Rote learning helps students store foundational concepts to use in the future, freeing their brains to grasp new concepts.
In the age where technology provides us with every information we need, memorization cultivates the foundation of creativity and innovation. Thus, students can only get creative and innovative with their memorized information.
Therefore, memorization isn’t an enemy of education. It’s not lazy teaching, and it doesn’t kill creativity. Instead, it’s vital in education. It has a place in the classroom, and its incorporation now and then is necessary.
You can rebuild your memory by fitting new ideas and linking information to existing mental frameworks. There are a variety of techniques developed to help students recall information with ease. Some of these strategies include:
It involves reading the passage aloud from start to finish. Repeat the reading until you’ve memorized it. In this case, the students can work alone or in groups. Alternatively, the student can record the passage and replay it until they’re confident they’ve memorized it.
When using this method of memorization, you should start from the beginning as you recite the first phrase. Continue repeating until you get to the end. You can break the longer sections into smaller, manageable sections and learn each separately.
Start from the end and memorize the last few words. Repeat until you’ve grasped them. Proceed to add the previous phrase and memorize to the end. Continue in the same fashion to the start to ensure you’ve memorized the whole passage.
As a lecturer, write a passage on the board and let your students read it aloud a few times. Use an eraser to make a diagonal swipe on the passage. This leaves a blank line on each sentence. Ask each student to read through the passage again. Make another swipe with the eraser and ask the students to read again. Continue in that manner until you’ve erased the entire passage.
Acronyms are words formed by combining the first letters in a string of words—for instance, LED (Light-Emitting Diode). Acronyms help you remember a topic or group of words in a particular order.
Melodies play an influential role in aiding your memory. Thus, some passages are easier to remember when memorized as a song.
You can organize information into logical patterns, making memorization more manageable, such as chronological order, old to new, simple to complex, and small to large.
You can also use gestures as a memory aid. For instance, if you understand sign language, you can teach the rest of the students the correct signs that accompany what you’re trying to memorize.
Print different words of a passage on different cards. Distribute one card to each of the students. Have the students share if you’ve run out of the cards.
This memory trick helps you remember a particular phrase by remembering an easier word. For instance, we have always remembered the nine planets, Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto, with the phrase: My Very Educated Mother Just Showed Us Nine Planets.
This method of memorization is also a type of visualization. It involves using a specific path to remember by associating landmarks in your path with an item you wish to retain.
Learners who use any of the above to memorize have a better chance of recalling any information exposed to them.
Proven benefits of memorization
Despite the existing backlash against memorization, rote learning has proven benefits. Here’s why it still plays a critical role in education:
1. Memorization Fosters Critical Thinking
Just like working out in the gym, challenging and consistent exercises are vital to the brain staying fit. Thus, a challenge like memorization is a great way to exercise your brain for better mental fitness.
2. Memorization Teaches Your Brain to Remember
It’s crucial to train your brain to remember. Memorizing gives your brain the strength to recall information. Therefore, memorizing any information over time rather than cramming makes your brain more receptive to remembering.
3. Improves Neural Plasticity
Through extended exercises in memorization, learners can retain more information. Accordingly, with repeated activation of the memory structures, you promote neuronal plasticity in the brain. According to MedicineNet, neuroplasticity allows neurons to respond to environmental changes by adjusting their activity.
4. Nursery School Rhymes Demonstrate Rhythmic Patterns
The repetition of nursery school rhymes teaches children memorization, a critical tool for children.
5. Memorization Benefits Through Mental Gymnastics
Neurobiologists believe that people who obsess over sports statistics make their brains agile and fast.
6. Knowing Frees Up Your Brain Capacity
Students who’ve memorized definitions, functions, equations, and other information can free up more brain capacity to use in other areas. If one has grasped all foundational concepts, one can move on to bigger concepts.
7. Memorization Improves Critical Thinking
Memorization lays an excellent foundation for cognitive development in the early stages. For instance, our early learning occurs through nursery school rhymes. Although these children don’t understand the structure, they learn through rhyme schemes.
8. Memory Training Starves Off Cognitive Decline
Adults who go through short periods of memory training are better off maintaining everyday skills and higher cognitive functions. Moreover, memorization allows adults to delay cognitive decline by 14 years.
9. Memorization Creates a Working Memory Necessary for Creativity
Working memory is necessary for creativity. Students who have mastered how to focus and develop their working memory through memorizing are more creative.
10. Memory Skills Help You Focus
When students memorize, they learn to focus. That said, students who practice memorizing at an early stage learn how to focus better on learning activities at high school and college levels.
Some of the negative impacts one can experience in memorization include:
- A lack of conceptual understanding may lead to the wrong application.
- Memorization may discourage practical implementation.
- Stress about remembering creates unnecessary pressure.
- Understanding different concepts are essential for success, and it is sometimes affected by rote learning.
- Memorization offsets learning because you may not go deeper into understanding an idea well.
Is memorization linked to academic achievement?
Memorization and academic achievement go hand in hand. Effective learning and academic achievement depend heavily on an efficient working memory. Thus, memorization improves one’s memory through the ability to hold as much information as possible and recall what you’ve learned in the past, which leads to higher academic achievement.
Some of the exercises that require you to have a working memory for better academic achievement include:
- Taking notes: Students need to have the ability to write down what the teacher transcribes for them.
- Solving problems: All subjects need working memory to solve the issues and answer questions.
- Following instructions: A student should recall instructions given to them by their teachers to perform what they need to do.
- Paying attention: Students’ ability to pay attention to their school work depends on their working memory.
- Recalling facts: Students should utilize their working memory to remember information during class discussions, homework, and tests.
Memorization provides a scaffolding to academic excellence. It makes information readily available for a more profound learning experience while creating room for new material. Memorizing facts helps build a better foundation for problem-solving abilities and higher thinking. It produces an efficient memory that goes beyond the limitations of duration and capacity.
Memorization is good for learning, and students should understand that it’s not a harmful practice to their achievement. To make it possible, these students need to improve repetitive learning as one of the critical conditions for memorization.
Furthermore, spaced and repetitious learning is necessary over time to strengthen and activate neural connections to successfully retain information. At Iris Reading, we have online speed reading courses and a speed reading tool you can take advantage of for some of the best learning practices in the market. Additionally, we offer a Personal Productivity course you can patronize.