With the expanse of knowledge that our generation continuously produces, information from various fields is constantly pilling up. As knowledge-based and technology-driven economy strives, mastery of new discoveries is a requirement for survival. Perhaps, these are observed in almost all sectors of society. The reality is what is new today can easily become outdated tomorrow.
As a medical student, the normalcy of memorizing tons of information is communal. Every day, I always find myself on the edge of my seat struggling to memorize lots of information in a very short period of time. Honestly, this experience is completely challenging—considering the pressure of medical school and the examinations ahead of me. Thankfully, there are scientifically proven ways to effectively and efficiently memorize information in a way that transformed my whole personal learning experience.
In 1834, Favell Lee Mortimer introduced the use of flashcards to the world. Since then, flashcards started to emerge as an effective way of memorizing information. Studies show that the use of flashcards helps a person engage in deep memory stimulation. In this process, stronger neuronal connections are built resulting in longer retention of information.
The principles behind the effectiveness of flashcards are active recall and spaced repetition. Active recall is a learning process where a person is directly involved in the subject by engaging in processes that stimulate thinking like testing and creating information charts. Spaced repetition, on the other hand, is a learning technique that promotes memorization by repeatedly presenting more difficult information compared to the easier ones within a specific time frame.
To place it in a scenario, after you engage in a flashcard study session, you need to identify the flashcards with the information that already sticks in your head and those that are not. Once identified, you need to review the flashcards with the information that you were not able to memorize during your next study session. Repeat this practice by continually recognizing which information is still to be mastered and follow a specific time frame in memorizing it. It is also important to review the information that was initially memorized in order to assert mastery. This strategy is the reason behind the effectiveness of flashcards in memorizing huge amounts of information in a short period of time.
With how much information technology has brought in this world, it is almost impossible to master anything. However, the use of technology has also undoubtedly bridged the gap in learning that built endless possibilities for everyone. Thus, if we can only utilize these strategies properly, harness its power wisely and tailor it depending on our learning styles—it is definite that we can break our boundaries and develop ourselves towards achieving our greatest goals and making our dreams a reality.