Elaborative Encoding vs. Rote Memorization
Start writing a post
Education

Elaborative Encoding Needs to Overtake Rote Memorization in Academics

It is time for the age of repeating and deleting to come to an end and the era of lasting learning to finally begin.

289
https://pixabay.com/en/classroom-school-education-learning-2093744/
Pixabay

I imagine, at some point in the time of your schooling, you have been told the same things as me.

You are anxiously awaiting the arrival of an exam, trying desperately to cram the information into your head in whatever fashion it'll stick. Unsure of your footing in the materials, you are still puzzling through your own study habits in an attempt to figure out the best ones for you. You have been told simply to know the information, right? Your teachers told you to write down everything they said and give it back to them in various forms, right? So you simply write and rewrite and rewrite until your fingers become sore, your eyes have to blink out the exhaustion, and you have a few times the number of copies of notes.

And likely only a dismal amount of information in your mind.

The plain fact of the matter is this: rote memorization, otherwise known as a learning technique based solely on repetition, is ineffective. And oh, I mean wildly ineffective. It is the least likely of the possible study methods to be any kind of beneficial because it will never allow for understanding. It will simply allow you to obnoxiously regurgitate descriptions or formulas and have no idea how to use them.

What can you expect? Rote memorization is based on a surface level understanding of materials and will thus give you a feebly shallow grasp on concepts that are more likely to disappear on the day of the exam than it ever will be to assist. It does not allow you to engage with the knowledge you seek. It is like looking at objects through glass and only through glass - you'll be able to see what is in front of you and can describe it at length, but you will never get a hold on it, and once you walk away, the memory will steadily fade from your brain.

That, my friends, is where elaborative encoding comes along.

Have you ever used a memory device to help yourself learn? Something like a song to remember the states, an acronym to remember music notes names on a staff, anything of that nature? Your mind combined several different areas of study and of your own personal interest and attached them to concepts you previously had nothing to do with. It is not much of a step to make up the difference between repeating something to memorize it briefly and putting random words to a tune to keep them in your mind, but oh my goodness, the outcome of each is vastly different.

Elaborative encoding is a system of learning in which a person connects information they don't really know yet to already existing set of memories or thought processes. By actively connecting what you don't know with what you know, you are forced to truly learn the information and be able to apply it to whatever concepts you choose. You have to know what something means to relate it to a part of your life, and once it is related to a topic or memory that is important to you, it sticks in your brain to the point where you can refresh it with a single thought. With a single phrase! You can tell yourself stories and make the concepts characters, you can write music, you can discuss the framework of a class in the context of your favorite movie. There is no limit to what you can accomplish in learning when you attach information to things that matter to you. And it stays! Oh my goodness, does it ever stay.

Simply repeating information cannot get you anywhere. It will not help you learn, and it will certainly not motivate you to continue on in whatever area of study on which you have set your eyes. Unfortunately, academia is oftentimes not very set on teaching the ways to learn information. For some reason, we are taught mainly what we should know and never how we should know.

And I think that that should change.

It is never too early an age to learn how to learn. It is never too early an age to learn how to function well in life. It is never too early an age to learn how to know what you know, to stave off stress, to build good habits. It is never too early an age to get a running start in what you can one day love.

Elaborative encoding. A mixture of what you know and what you love, unlocking a world of understanding beyond. Have the courage and the know-how to give it a try.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Featured

Haunted Houses For Halloween In New Jersey

The Top Scariest Haunted Houses In New Jersey

12784

Residing in New Jersey enables you to participate in various activities, and everyone has a favorite. In New Jersey, Halloween is also celebrated in a spooky way. There are many scariest haunted houses in NJ to celebrate Halloween. If you want to confront your greatest fears, Halloween Scariest haunted houses are ideal.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

Leaving My Backpack In The Library

Views about society and the stranger sitting right across from me

56002
https://unsplash.com/photos/O0T1SIgHAfM

As a college student, my backpack is an extension of myself in many ways. It contains my notes, pens, and computer vital for my success in college. It contains the snacks and water bottle I need to survive long days on campus. It also contains the "in-case" items that help put my mind at rest if I forgot something from home: extra hair ties, masks, and that backup-backup snack. With so much in my backpack important to me and my life on campus, it is no wonder that I can get apprehensive about it when it is not with me or in my line of sight. And that makes me wonder.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

5 Cool Gadgets To Make Your Car Smart

Don't let this stop you from making your car smart. You can change the one you have using smart gadgets that transform your car into a smart car.

111999

Cars are no longer just a mode of transport, where you only worry about the engine and how beautiful its interior is. These days, everyone wants to make their cars smarter, those with advanced technology systems. It makes sense for several reasons. It can make your vehicle more efficient and safer when you need to drive.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

The Inevitable Truth of Loss

You're going to be okay.

130974

As we humans face loss and grief on a daily basis, it's challenging to see the good in all the change. Here's a better perspective on how we can deal with this inevitable feeling and why it could help us grow.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

'Venom: Let There Be Carnage' Film Review

Tom Hardy and Woody Harrelson lead a tigher, more fun sequel to 2018's 'Venom'

105902
Photo Credit: Sony Pictures Entertainment – YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-FmWuCgJmxo

When Sony announced that Venom would be getting a stand-alone movie, outside of the Tom Holland MCU Spider-Man films, and intended to start its own separate shared universe of films, the reactions were generally not that kind. Even if Tom Hardy was going to take on the role, why would you take Venom, so intrinsically connected to Spider-Man's comic book roots, and remove all of that for cheap action spectacle?

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments