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Rote learning/memorization (undervalued?) vs mnemonics (overvalued?) to advance in life? Share your learning success pls

memorization memory mnemonics rote learning

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#1 manny

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Posted 01 November 2018 - 07:20 PM

Hi guys,


It's felt like I've never really learnt anything since the age of 16 (I'm 30 now). I was always discouraged in my interests when I was younger such as psychology or nutrition (come from an Indian family, these weren't good enough for careers), and so after the age of 16 I became much more lazy, i.e. the least amount of effort kind of person, not knowing what direction to take in life (14 years of wasted time). I also developed mild OCD, and have a perfectionist mentality which causes me to procrastinate i.e. if it isn't the correct way/the ultimate truth, then I can't start it. And even if I knew a way was good enough, my lazy side would kick in and I would research more unnecessarily (like information addiction). 


Now I learnt about mnemonics when I was 16, and by knowing this, I had another excuse not to learn the old fashioned rote way, because mnemonics was superior, and rote learning is just a bad way and should be gotten rid of (mentality). In fact if you search the internet today on rote learning, there is very little people who are saying it's a good way to learn or memorize (most people tout mnemonics as superior). So I always had the excuse, I can't learn the old way because it would be a waste of time, I must master my brain/mnemonics first otherwise it will be a waste of time.


Anyway I've grown wiser in the sense these days where I don't follow cult mentalities anymore. For example; this is the only diet that's healthy (vegan, paleo, low carb, atkins etc..), this is the only way to exercise (if you don't dead lift or squat you're not a real bodybuilder), mnemonics is the best way to learn and everything else is inferior etc... etc... 


Obviously there is truth in certain ways and things. But a lot of information touts that they're the ultimate truth, when in fact, common sense and basics builds up the 90% of most things, and the other 10% usually have minimal effects. I.e. As long as your lifting weights and control your caloric intake (the basics/90%), you can build up a great body whether it be on a high carb diet, paleo, low carb, 6 meals a day, 3 meals a day, 2 meals a day, 1 meal a day, intermittent fasting (the other 10%) etc... Sure you may build more muscle or lose fat faster on certain diets and exercises, but as long as you have the basic muscle stimulus to create muscle growth, and the caloric restriction to lose/control fat, everything else has a minimal effect.


Here is a link to a memory forum on rote memorization vs mnemonics: https://artofmemory....ace-to-learning



MAJOR DRAWBACK in applying memory palace to learning


For the past 12 months, I have been experimenting with learning using memory palaces where I literally completely rely on memory palaces in learning everything. I have made over 400 memory palaces with a total of about 20000 loci. No doubt I was able to significantly increase the amount of things I can recall. However, I also come across a MAJOR problem in applying memory palaces to learning.

I find retaining more information via memory palaces DOES NOT TRANSLATE to better applying those knowledge acquired in problem solving. Let me try to explain what I mean.

Memory palaces allow a person to place things he/she want to remember in loci in memory palaces so that he/she can easily recall. However, those information acquired are essentially "locked" inside the memory palace. What I mean is that to access those information, he/she will need to revisit the memory palace. By recalling those information over and over again, one might get quicker in retrieving the information, but the process still require revisiting the memory palace (at least subconsciously).




I face the same problem. I have like 10000 Locus. Loci is not a problem, I can create thousands. I use them all, but to retain that information I have to revisit them. That's tome consuming and also not fluent enough. Rote memory take much more time but give long lasting recall without hesitation and most of the time, NO REVISION. but by no means I am saying that rote memory is good.

That's why I use Loci for pump and dump type memorization.. I memorise for exams and then just forget it. No permanent storage for a lifetime. I start before the exam(like 3 months before, I am lazy, and also I know I can do it) and then forget it after exams.

BUT, I think there is a solution, though it takes a little time. I have noticed that when I am recalling the information from Locus again and again in my mind or saying out loud,each time it's becoming faster and ultimately I need a little or no mental imagery at all. Like after 10 to 20 recall.

I am not sure if this is a solution at all. Because I don't have that much time to revise it 20 times and also I have no intention of doing that.

Pump and dump.

Anybody have any solution then please post here. I want to know about it too.

Thank you for posting the truth that nobody talks about. Dark side of memorization. It stored INSIDE LOCI. not fluent. Takes time. Take revision again and again.



Now something I will say about rote memorization. When I was at school, we didn't learn multiplications off by heart. To this day I don't know my multiplications (3-9) off by heart. I created a program ages ago (when I attempted to learn c# programming once), that would allow me to do 1000's of basic multiplications as quickly as possible. I created this because of Dr Kawashimas brain training research. The exercise did improve the speed of my memory retrieval in day to day life (the brain training worked). And I could do the multiplications off by heart when I trained with the program (and I trained for weeks). Yet now I haven't trained for months. I still don't know them off by heart. I'm not sure why, but drilling multiplications now via a program, doesn't let me learn it by heart. I think I need more of a auditory repetition, rather then practicing numbers on screen.


However I remember repeating a verse from the Bible one day in my mind while I was out at an event . After that 30 mins to an hour of occasionally repeating I eventually learnt the verse with ease to this day. "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil, for thou art with me, thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.". That's what I remember, the commas may not be accurate, but I'm pretty sure the wording it. OK just checked, and yes, it seems like I memorized this verse word for word apart from the punctuation mark.


Now I know it isn't much to memorize, and from what I remember took 30 mins to 1 hour of my casual time while I was out at an event, thus making look like an ineffective way to learn. But I still know this verse today, and that was memorized around 2 years ago now.


So it makes me think I should have just grinded like everyone else. Because it seems to work. And I have yet to read many success stories of mnemonics for becoming a quick learner in most things people achieve.  


Anyway I talk too much.


Other than basics such spellings, basic arithmetic, and such, what have you used rote learning to advance your learning, skills, languages, or career in life?

Edited by manny, 01 November 2018 - 07:22 PM.

#2 manny

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Posted 02 November 2018 - 07:57 PM

I just realised I wrote the first post after doing a large session of amygdala tickling, and there is way too much unnecessary information and psychological thoughts about myself; something more adept for a journal (and not a thread on rote learning). This is the thing with amygdala tickling, the lines of what is acceptable and what isn't get blurred, and thoughts flood the mind with excitement and perspective changes within the psyche (without realising the madness it sounds to the average person). Now I understand why Lingo's original workbook was 100 lessons and 420 pages long, and lived life in isolation on his mountain as an eccentric hermit. 

Edited by manny, 02 November 2018 - 08:01 PM.

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