coding for success

The Power of Imagery and Association: Remember More with Encoding

Erik Learning, Personal Development and Lifestyle, Thoughts of a Mastermind 2 Comments


“I’m struggling to remember what that concept was…”

What if there was a way to remember anything you wanted?

Think back to your favorite memories: you remember the scene like it’s a movie playing in your head, right?

Let me ask you a question: Is it easily to remember a string of letters or numbers, OR is it easier to remember a string of images?

The answer is images, right?

In this post, we will be continuing our series this May 2018 with another post covering how to become a better learner, and learn about the power of imagery and association to remember more with encoding.

Learning How to Become a Better Learner with The 4-Hour Chef

4 hour chef learningHelping us out on our journey this month in how to become a better learner is the book the 4-Hour Chef, a book authored by Tim Ferris.

The 4-Hour Chef is all about how you and I can become better at learning (at the same time, teaches you how to cook… though that’s not what we are going to focus on this month).

In the book, Tim Ferris explains how anyone can be an expert in anything in 6 to 12 months, and if practiced effectively, even 6 to 12 weeks.

In this series, we have already covered the learning strategy, which has the acronym DiSSS: deconstructionselection, sequencing and stakes.

Next, there are some advanced techniques we need to cover to give you a full strategy and framework to learn anything.

Some secondary techniques are represented by the acronym CaFE:

  • Compression
    • How can you compress and condense all of the information into a cheat sheet which is simple and not complex?
  • Frequency
    • How long should you practice? What is the right time period for your studying and doing for maximum effectiveness?
  • Encoding
    • How can you make your ideas and thoughts stick for the long term? Can you represent your thoughts with images or sounds for maximum retention?

In the last two posts, we’ve covered compression and frequency. In this post, we will cover encoding.

The Power of Imagery and Association: Remember More with Encoding

What are the 7 colors of the color wheel?

Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, and Violet.

I bet you had that right at the tip of your tongue the second after reading that question.

Why? Simple, when you were in art class many years ago, you encoded ROY G BIV in your mind to never forget the color wheel.

There are a few strategies for encoding:

  • Mmenomics
    • A mmenomic are a pattern of letters, ideas, or associations that assists in remembering something
  • Chunking
    • The strategy to remember a phone number is to use chunking: chunk it into zip code, the first 3 digits, and then the last 4 digits.
  • Imagery
    • Can you create a picture in your head which represents the concept at hand? If there is a graphic representation of what you are learning, you will remember it more effectively.

Using these strategies will allow you to remember and recall information much more effectively and efficiency in your studies.

Using Encoding to Recall Information in My Learning and Becoming a Better Piano Player

Show me, don’t just tell me.

Anyone can put up anything on the internet these days.

I can write all about learning and how to become a better learner, but all of that is wasted knowledge if I don’t actually apply it in my life. (it’s also bogus if I don’t practice what I preach!)

This month, alongside this series of posts, I’ve started playing piano again with the intent to learn how to become a better piano player.

My goals this month were to improve my sight reading and musical ear.

Keeping in mind encoding, I’ve looked to try to represent the different scales with images and locations in my house to help me remember which scales have which flats and sharps.

While there are probably other things I could encode, this is the one I’ve done so far and it’s helping a little bit, but probably isn’t as relevant as to something memory intensive.

In this post’s video, I talk more about encoding as it relates to my piano playing, and play some more piano for you.

Concluding Thoughts on Remembering More With Encoding

There are certain concepts and pieces of information which stick with us forever.

ROYGBIV for colors is something I will never forget, and this is just one example of encoding.

With proper practice and technique, you can encode whatever you are learning for improved recall and remembering.

Readers: what are some of your strategies and associations you use to remember things? Do you do any encoding in your work or at home?




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Comments 2

  1. Hey Erik, that a coincidence. I am actually using the piano to help me remember things too. I had never played the piano before and I noticed that it really helped me with more than just being able to remember things easily after I started to learn how to play the piano. It also made me more relaxed and happier as I feel more accomplished when I am able to play a piece of music with no mistakes.

    Learning anything new will definitely help with your memory.

    1. Post

      That’s awesome Leo!

      I do think that when you start learning in different areas, your brain gets out of its usual rut and can be more creative.

      I’d love to know some of your takeaways in a few months 🙂

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