Weekly Memory Challenges, and 3-Month Language Learning

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#1 13 April, 2011 - 20:42
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Weekly Memory Challenges, and 3-Month Language Learning


One of my main interests with memory techniques is to use them for learning practical information.

Weekly Memory Challenges
I have an idea to create Weekly Memory Challenges where a group of people decides on a set of information to memorize. Everyone then goes off to memorize the information using memory techniques and comes back in a week to share techniques and tips discovered.

I think that having a group of people working on the same project would help increase motivation, and a little bit of friendly competition helps people push themselves a little farther.

Here are some examples of the type of data that could be memorized:

  • World data -- example: countries of the world, with major facts like capital cities, heads of state, types of government, etc.
  • History topics -- examples: timeline of Roman history or a detailed timeline of a large event like WWI
  • Memorizing books -- reading a book, while mind mapping and memorizing the main points
  • Poetry -- choosing a set of poems to memorize
  • Life-sciences -- examples: all the muscles in the human body, bird identification, structure of plants
  • Chemistry -- example: periodic table of elements
  • Biographical timelines -- the history of a famous person
  • Movie trivia -- example: top 100 movies of all time, their dates, and the major actors involved
  • Great ideas -- psychology, philosophy, etc. there are many study guides out there that could provide an outline.
  • Etc.

Would anyone here be interested in a regular weekly memory challenge? At the end of the year, we would have 52 sets of useful information stored in our brains, and would probably develop some interesting techniques that could be shared with everyone.

3-Month Language Learning
Another idea is to pick a new language every three months, and see how much vocabulary and basic grammar could be memorized on the side. One of my interests is taking up Latin. Also, everyone is going to have to learn a little Chinese for the next World Memory Championships. :)

Anyone interested in working together to seeing how much the brain can accomplish in a set amount of time?

13 April, 2011 - 21:42
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This is certainly interesting and I interest is in ...

- memorising some poems including Desiderata, High Flight
- memorising a set of jokes
- biographical information - birth and death year for my 20 favourite composers

I only want to expend time and mental energy on memorising things of importance to me!

Charles

14 April, 2011 - 08:00
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I would be interested. I would like to include sports information to the pot of topics.

14 April, 2011 - 12:21
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ozcaveman wrote:
- biographical information - birth and death year for my 20 favourite composers

I started adding the suggestions to the Wiki page. Who are your 20 favorite composers?

Josh_Too wrote:
I would like to include sports information to the pot of topics.

Sounds great. What sports are you interested in?

I don't know much about soccer/football. I'd be interested in picking up a little trivia on that topic so I would know what people are talking about when I'm in Europe. :)

People could either post suggestions here, or on the new Wiki page I just created about it for brainstorming purposes.

I've also created a category page where new memory challenges can be added.

14 April, 2011 - 16:24
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I think this is a great idea. I'll drop some ideas in the wiki page.
I like the sports idea.... baseball and football are both highly statistical games so I'd be interested in that.

14 April, 2011 - 17:44
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Some of this historical and sports information could relate to names and faces too... if we could find photos of the players.

14 April, 2011 - 20:00
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I changed the name of the "3-Month Language Learning" wiki page to the Rapid Language Learning Project since some languages might only be 30 days.

It's just an experiment to see what can be accomplished with technique plus a little effort and motivation.

15 April, 2011 - 14:17
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I think this is something I would be interested in (if I have the time!)

As I mentioned in the other thread, I am currently undergoing the task of mind-mapping and using memory techniques to remember books (particularly textbooks) for my studies. I'm also quite interested in learning the following things, both for education and pleasure:

Memorizing poetry that I like (and possibly mind-mapping the structure and central themes for better understanding.)
Learning new words and their definitions (I write a lot in my spare time, so the more words I have in my vocabulary the better!)
Applying memory techniques to learn rules of grammar, punctuation and spelling.
Beginning to learn the basics of Latin (this is something that has always fascinated me, but they didn’t teach Latin where I used to go to school, so I didn’t have the option to study it.)
Learning more about stars/constellations and astronomy in general.

15 April, 2011 - 14:50
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The Nightingale wrote:
(if I have the time!)

My concept for the project is that we could start with one per week, and people could either join the individual challenges or not, depending on their time and interest. If many people become interested (50+), we could run a few similar memory challenges at once, and people could pick the one they like.

The Nightingale wrote:
Beginning to learn the basics of Latin (this is something that has always fascinated me, but they didn’t teach Latin where I used to go to school, so I didn’t have the option to study it.)

I've added your ideas to the wiki page.

I'm very interested in learning some Latin. I think it makes it easier to learn other European languages, and the complex grammar would be a good mental exercise. I think memory techniques would be very effective for learning Latin because you don't really have to practice speaking or listening comprehension--though there is a movement of people who are reviving Latin as a spoken language...

16 April, 2011 - 15:49
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This is an excellent idea! When I started memory training I had a friend with whom we created a plan to memorize information and then test each other a week later. She has since stopped trying after we did US presidents and Vice presidents and now I have no one to practice. It's a great system though because it gives me goal to reach for rather than just throwing information into my brain for no reason.
I am definitely interested in all the data that has been brought up already. Adding to life-sciences, I was planning on trying my hand bones in the body from the top down and then later using this info as loci when memorizing other things.
I'll stay away from the 3-month language learning, however. I am about to start a class on Italian and need to study up on that. However, I'll join in anytime Italian is the subject or even Spanish or French since I need to brush up on those.

So basically, let's do this.

18 April, 2011 - 00:17
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I've created a poll about the Weekly Memory Challenges to see where people's interests are. I didn't list everything there, but put 10 choices along with an option to leave other suggestions in a comment. The poll is only about what the first Weekly Memory Challenge should be.

I suggest starting the first one on Monday, April 25, because I think it's good to start the series on a Monday (GMT), but I will be on an airplane tomorrow so that is too soon.

Click here to vote.

18 April, 2011 - 14:16
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The link didn't work for me. for language learning, has the idea of adding foreign dictionary options to the random word generator been considered? there's a pub domain latin dictionary i know, and i'm guessing ones for other languages are available.

18 April, 2011 - 14:26
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Sorry about that--I fixed the link.

I could add other languages if you would like. Just send me the lists of words...

19 April, 2011 - 11:36
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maybe i spoke too soon. i wasn't able to find a list without tandem english translations alongside. separating the two is beyond me right now. if i figure it out i'll send them.

19 April, 2011 - 17:30
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diallelus wrote:
maybe i spoke too soon. i wasn't able to find a list without tandem english translations alongside.

I could take a look. If it's a regular text file, I could probably extract the text with a macro.

19 April, 2011 - 22:30
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I'm looking for feedback on how people think the Weekly Memory Challenges should work.

  1. Should there be just one set thing that everyone who participates memorizes each week? (original idea)
  2. Or should there be a few things to choose from each week? (not everyone memorizes the same thing but we still compile tips)
  3. Or should there be a permanent list of many choices that people could choose from on Mondays to memorize during the week? Those lists would be user generated, so anyone could add a new challenge anytime and then find partners to work on it. (not everyone memorizes the same thing at the same time but we still compile tips)

I think the third option is most flexible, and people could still choose partners for the project (I could add these features), but I want to find out what people think of the idea.

Please vote here:
http://mt.artofmemory.com/polls/how-do-you-think-the-weekly-memory-chall...

20 April, 2011 - 19:45
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I voted for the many option. It'd be like an army of study groups discussing the best ways to learn and memorize various topics. What mnemonic techniques work best here and there, people sharing mind maps, etc. etc.

I think this idea could really grow into something big!

21 April, 2011 - 09:33
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I voted for the idea with around five options. At least early on I think there should be some overlap so you'll have multiple people working on the same things. It's probably easier to start specific and add more options as the group grows than the other way around. It seems more logical at least. Then the army can goosestep from zanzibar to wherever people want to take it.

21 April, 2011 - 11:22
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I chose option three (many options of things to memorize.) Reason being that it’s highly probable that the five things selected may only interest a few of us and we’ll end up skipping numerous weeks. If we have lots of options to chose from, I think participation will be higher on a weekly basis.

After all, most people are only interested in memorizing things they want to memorize - either because it’ll be useful for them or because it’s a personal point of interest.

21 April, 2011 - 20:05
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The Nightingale wrote:
it’s highly probable that the five things selected may only interest a few of us

i can't beat that construction, but i understand what you mean. either way, i think it'll go well.

22 April, 2011 - 00:26
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What if I create a feature where anyone could add memory challenges, and we could test it out? Then, based on feedback we could modify the system if necessary. The whole thing is an experiment... :)

By the way, the "friends" system is active now. To add someone as a friend, visit their user page and click on the link to send an invitation. The invitation will send an e-mail to the person. If you would like to shut off those friend-request e-mails, visit your user page and click "edit".

If I am able to integrate the "friends" system with the memory challenges, then groups of similar-minded people could invite each other to the challenges that they are interested in.

24 April, 2011 - 23:18
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I've just enabled the Memory Challenge feature as an experiment.

Here is how it works at the moment, but we can change it if people have suggestions:

To add a challenge, click on the "create content" link in the sidebar and choose "Memory Challenge".

Click here to view a sample memory challenge.

To sign up for a Challenge, click on the "Sign up" button on any Memory Challenge page:

memory challenges sign up

After you sign up, your name will appear in the list of people who are participating:

memory challenges list of participants

Discussion about the Challenge can take place in the comments on each Memory Challenge page.

Please let me know what you think... :)

24 April, 2011 - 23:42
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As people add Challenges, they will show up on the Memory Challenges page. There is a link to it in the main menu just under the header. The Challenges are organized by category, so people will be able to find what they're looking for.

If you don't see something there that you want to memorize, feel free to add a new Challenge...

6 November, 2011 - 12:10
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Is this still happening? Or has it been transformed into the grandmaster preparation?

6 November, 2011 - 12:56
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SirBMR wrote:
Is this still happening? Or has it been transformed into the grandmaster preparation?

They are still taking place, but they aren't "weekly". You can join a memory challenge or add a new one anytime on this page:
http://mt.artofmemory.com/challenges

9 November, 2011 - 11:25
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I think memory challenges is an excellent idea!

Would be nice if we could collect all information (in a structured form) with suggestions for how to remember the facts. Kind of like memrise but for everything.

9 November, 2011 - 12:01
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spenen wrote:
Would be nice if we could collect all information (in a structured form) with suggestions for how to remember the facts.

There is space for that in the memory wiki and comments. I'm going to work on the wiki this summer, by integrating it more closely into the rest of the site. That will take a bit of work though...

Here is a list of all the wiki pages:
http://mt.artofmemory.com/wiki/Special:AllPages

Feel free to jump in and add/edit content. :)

12 November, 2014 - 13:07
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Wow, really great initiative Josh, I always thought a feature like this would be great for this site. More and more people doing their education online nowadays should boost the activity in the close future. Really sad it hasn't really taken off, only 7 challenges this year. Would have been great if the challenges had more participants and a live message board. I wonder why this isnt so :/.

// Im sorry, i didn't intend for it to get so long. And with the English, bear with me, it is late and i haven't used it in a while. If something wasn't clear, don't hesitate to ask.

One more thing i have thought about would be to collect a lot of case studies "challenges" similar to the weekly challenge but without the group aspect. I have for a long time been hoping to get some measurement tools into this area, something that could measure the amount of success of a certain method for a certain topic had.

Wouldn't it be nice to have a database of case studies where we could search for certain topics, keywords, methods and than find a case study for that topic. Where a person already outline his/her approach of how to learn the subject. For example, lets say i want to use a study technique for my economy course (which i did). I would than create a case study.

Than begin to shortly describe what the course is about, any trivia needed to get the whole point, i.e. an Introduction. Than go on to describe the mnemonic used, and also keep track of progress. The important thing would be to use some kind of measurement tool during the whole project, partly to keep track yourself, but also for other to see if they might do better using your type of mnemonic technique .

Back to my economy case. I will make a very short case study to highlight what i mean.

Title: A case study of how to learn Microeconomics using a memory palace

Search terms for database
(Title, Category: Economy, Subcategory?: Microeconomics, Economy knowledge: None, Study technique used: Memory Palace, age: 24 etc. etc.).

Measure tools
I will being by timing all my engaged time in the course, both individual parts like the creation of a memory palace and its memorization. I will also measure my reading speed and the score myself of the comprehension iteratively (self scoring the comprehension is actually easier than one might think when using a memory palace). The time parts that i will measure separately are, memory palace - creation - memorization - review and population(reading speed)... xxxxxx

Introduction
This is my first course in economy, i have no previous knowledge in this are except for very common knowledge. I dont even know the meaning of the prefix "micro". I am currently studying for my bachelor in Computer Science and i decided to take this course because it would really stand out on the CV together with my CS degree. Although i have always been interested in economics, so i will not see this course as tedious. The course will not only talk about the principles but also go about the math related. The course length will be 2 month The goals of the course are ... xxxx .

Metod
I have decided to use a memory palace which i will populate with the content of my two textbooks Principles of Microeconomics Saylor and a booklet consisting of math papers.I will create my memory palace in Sims3 and memorize it completely before i begin. My memory palace technique is a bit different as i don't really memorize static pegs beforehand. I use objects in the house, like a table to interact with the information. I also populate the palace as i read, i take little to no notes xxxx

Analyse
Analyzing your results. The whole time the study took you, how many hours you spent on it in total and its parts. Also Average reading speed, comprehension and if there were any thoughts about the method used, would a traditional method have been better? In my case: I actually have some of these measurement somewhere on my old computer in an excel sheet. What i remember was that the whole thing took a lot of time but also that it worked surprisingly well, this was the first time i used a memory technique in my studies and also the first time i really felt that i learned something for the long run. I really understood the concepts fully not just exam-understood them (if you know what i mean). I also got a good grade "B", only 6 out of a 100 received this grade and nobody got an A. But as i said, this probably took much longer than if i would have done it the usual way, this might be due to first time usage and at the same time coming up with methods to measure myself. I dont thing i would have gotten n such a good grade without the method tough, even if i would have spent the same amount of time.

The xxxx shows that this isn't something i have complexity thought out, i.e. how exactly such a case study should best be performed.

I think it would be really useful for the memory community to have a database of such case studied where people could search for a topic they want to lean. Imagine the value for future generations if there would be a database of 1000+ such case studies. Of course these studies will vary in size. For example, all the weekly challenges could be such a study, even something simple ass memorizing all the presidents or as complex as a whole university course.

I want to hear what you guy think about making something like this?

12 November, 2014 - 22:22
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wayweary wrote:
I always thought a feature like this would be great for this site.

It's coming soon. We're building this kind of interactivity into the site. It has just taken much longer than expected. There will start to be additions to the site soon.

Learn memory techniques for free! Just click the "Sign up" button below to create an account and we'll send you an email with some tips on how to get started.

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