Different learning objectives need different mnemonic strategies.
Which one to use depends on what you are learning and your own best learning method.
Regardless of if you are memorizing terminology for movement, foreign language vocabulary, or anything else, it can be useful to understand if you should use a memory palace as your learning technique.
Everyone is different in their preferences, and I have my reasons for preferring to use memory palaces for memorising terminology.
I’ve written before (here) and here about how memory palaces are fantastic for when the order of the information is important, or for long lists of information.
But what about a list of 20 Korean Taekwondo terminology words that do not need to be remembered in order?
Let’s look at the example of someone who already knows the moves to their Taekwondo exam but now just needs to connect the name to the move (If you need help remembering them move, see my blog here).
Assuming you know the moves well already you can just use them instead of a memory palace to link the name (like in my YouTube video Remember Terminology Instantly – see it here).
The memory palace ‘location’ is the move that you can already visualise and know well.
The image is made to represent what terminology is given to this move. Because you will link them together (in a story) it will help your brain learn and link them together (just like a memory palace).
I tend to give this a quick go when I hear a new piece of terminology in class and then think about it harder later. Making the image and linking it as you hear it is a hard skill to attain but you will improve at doing it on the fly and it helps later on (even if you couldn’t fully form the image).
This allows you to learn the names of movements just one at a time, AND put a whole list of terminology in a memory palace as well if you like.
This is usually my preferred option for grouped and list-like learning.
This is how it works when I learn terminology from a list:
- I first decide on a memory palace where I will place this group of terminology. Let’s say for my recent Taekwondo grading.
- I work through the list starting at the top. In the first location in my mind I visualize the first move and link it to the correct terminology (as we have discussed).
- I move to the next item on the list and the next location and repeat until I have completed the list.
Why do it like this rather than separately?
- It gives me an extra hook (or association) in my brain and I find it tends to move the information to the long term faster.
- It means whenever I want to go over the list it is fully in my brain.
I won’t miss any out. Don’t underestimate this. When I am bored in a car, on a train, or trying to get to sleep I have a library of things I am learning that I can run through (again moving the learning to long term memory faster).
I most definitely ran through my terminology palace while driving to my Taekwondo exam.
When I do my next exam, I need to know a further list of Korean plus the one from my previous exam. Given it is in a neat brain file I can go back over my ‘old lists’ whenever I like to keep them fresh.
Will you run out of palaces?
Some students initially worry they will run out of memory palaces.
Don’t stress about this either. If you think of all the palaces you know it is endless. Your memory palaces might currently include childhood homes, friends’ houses, the school you went to, your favourite takeaway restaurant or the route you walk to the train.
Just be clear when using this memory palace – is it a temporary (or training) palace, or one for permanent information? You’ll be letting your brain know whether it is on the way to committing this information to long term memory or just holding it for the short term.
Enjoy and annyeong!
Interested in learning more memory techniques? Improve your memory with my online Master Your Memory course.