Mar 21 2022
 min read


Anushka Das

The ability to recall information effectively is a distinct form of working memory.

Learning is a life-long process. Equating learning and studying is wrong at times, although the two terms tend to overlap frequently. Learning consists of a holistic approach towards knowledge and skill development. Our approach towards how we assimilate what we consume as academic material and how we apply our knowledge in everyday circumstances or in our work defines how successful the learning process has been. We adopt various methods to learn, whether it be the traditional offline class or remote learning through courses. There is a constant need to upskill and harness new skills which would help professionally and personally; however, there is one hurdle faced by several learners.

The process is essential but becomes redundant if there is no retention afterwards. This problem of not being able to retain is a common one faced by many of us. We spend hours and hours attending classes after classes, but the end result is comparatively underwhelming. The ability to recall information effectively is a distinct form of working memory. It is related to the way the processing of information has been done initially and how effectively; therefore, it is closely tied to the initial process of learning. Thus, the method you employ to learn dictates your retention prowess.

Scientifically, the amygdala in your brain has been associated with memory retention. It modulates memory consolidation. Retaining information consists of storing information in long-term memory rather than short-term memory, where it can be readily retrieved when required.

Learn about a very effective technique to promote better learning: Building a Second Brain

Retention of information is the result of three key processes- encoding, storage and retrieval. One of the most important factors is how the information is represented in your memory, whether it is spaced out or present in a bulk mass. It is said that storing it in a spaced fashion, with a deeper understanding of what we learn at each cognitive level, is the most effective way to successfully retain and recall information.

Here are some techniques which will help in improving retention;

  1. Employ Multiple Learning Methods

Engaging more than one area of your brain to process what you learn is beneficial. There are various methods to learn; some may prefer to listen to podcasts, whereas some prefer to write down notes. Integrating all these methods to learn is basically making more connections in the brain and reducing redundancy.

  1. Make Connections

Instead of treating each academic material as an individual piece of knowledge, you can use your previous knowledge to promote newly learnt information. Making interconnections in your learning process and association is an essential part of relational learning, which is great for your retention.

  1. Apply Your Knowledge

It is very well known that we learn and remember better when we apply what we learn. Learning usually involves attending lectures, reading textbooks or writing down pages and pages of notes. The truth is that one of the best methods to truly understand what you are learning is through practical application. Seek to utilise what you have learnt in practical situations, whether it be in your day-to-day activities or in your work-life.

  1. Stop Multitasking

A normal human brain can only process a certain amount of information. Multitasking can make learning and retention more ineffective as we lose a significant amount of time and concentration when attempting to pull off every task with perfection. Focusing on one task promotes productivity and better work quality.

Finally, one of the most effective methods to quantify and qualify your retention power is by testing. Whether it be the official tests at institutions or self-testing, it is essential to know where you stand and where you need to work for better performance.

Enhance your memory with these techniques and sharpen your retention skills!

Read more about Lifestyle habits to improve retention