Man head integrates with colour circles

By Gil Dekel, PhD.

The book ‘Kinesthetic Classroom’ [1]  suggests that memorising becomes easier when the learning material and activities in the class ‎promote interest and emotional connections. But how can we design lessons that achieve that? ‎


4 Course Design Strategies To Aid Memory:‎

Here are four strategies for designing classes and e-courses that are memory supportive:

  1. Find a pattern in the information.
    Patterns ‘sticks’ to the mind better than random bits of information.
  2. Make connections.
    It is easier to follow from one idea to the other when there is a logical link.
  3. Engage emotionally.
    Develop stories. People remember information better when it is presented to them as an emotional story rather than dry data.
  4. Associate information with previous experience or prior knowledge.
    It is easier to remember information that corresponds to previous experience the student had, or to their existing (prior) knowledge.

The Brain Compatible Principles:‎

Lee Oberparleiter [2] has developed principles that describe the ways in which the brain effectively interact with information.  You can design your courses around these principles:

  1. The brain is attracted to novelty.
  2. The brain pays attention to movement.
  3. The brain needs to interact with people and things.
  4. The brain learns better when information has an emotional base.
  5. The brain operates from concrete experience.

The Five Memory Lanes:‎

Develop by Marilee Sprenger [3], these five concepts provide a useful model of how we remember things.

  1. Semantic lane.
    Remembering things that are learned from words, such as words spoked in discussions or read in books.
  2. Episodic lane.
    Remembering things that are associated with the place and time where experiences occurred. Information is related to locations. For example, many people will remember where they were during the Queen’s coronation.
  3. Emotional lane.
    Remembering things that are triggered during emotionally charged events. For example, looking at a nostalgic photo or a news item on the TV may trigger specific emotional reaction (such as joy or anger). The emotion will trigger the memory to recall an association information.
    This lane takes over all other memory lanes.
  4. Automatic lane.
    The automatic lane, also called conditioned lane, is triggered automatically. For example, when seeing the alphabet, a process of decoding words begins as the memory is triggered to read the alphabet stored in the memory.
    The automatic lane allows people to decode information, but it does not allow for creating meanings. Decoding skills are not comprehension skills.
  5. Procedural lane.
    This lane is often called ‘muscle memory’. The memory is triggered to relate information to processes that the body does and remembers. We store memories of the processes of the body, and the sequences of doing things. For example, the memory is triggered by the body to remember how to tie a shoe or ride a bike as soon as we start to ride a bike.

© Gil Dekel. 5 June 2016.
Photograph by geralt/pixabay/Gil Dekel. Used with permission of authors.



[1] [2] Lengel, Traci and Kuczala, Mike. (2010) The Kinesthetic Classroom: Teaching and Learning through Movement. London: Sage.

[3] Sprenger, Marilee.  (1999) Learning and Memory: The Brain in Action. USA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. pp 49-56. Online book accessed 4 June 2016 from:

Creative Commons Licence
‘Memory Supportive Strategies’ by Dr. Gil Dekel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.