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Understanding the Sensory Memory in the Information Processing Model

College and university degree programs require rigorous and well-structured study plans, active learning strategies, and a powerful memory if the student is to enjoy academic success throughout the tenure. Our learning process is typically considered as the need to store information for exams and other assessments. So how exactly is the information stored?

There are a number of learning strategies that involve storing the information for later use of course material. Having a strong memory means storing information in our memory and later pulling it out, or, both storage and retrieval.

It is not uncommon to see students complaining that no matter how well they study, they are unable to recall the information in the exam hall. Perhaps, the student never stored the information in his or her long-term memory, even more simply you might not have been able to recall it at the right time. Why do students forget? How do they learn? The answer lies in understanding the function and dynamics of our memory.

Students should understand that learning how we store and recall the knowledge in our brain influences why some of our learning strategies work and others don’t. With time, professional psychologists have strived to understand the theories of how memory works. This is where we begin with the information processing model!

Information Processing Model

The information processing model states that a memory is a complicated thing and goes through various stages and processes. For instance, the major types of memory are a sensory memory, short-term memory (STM), and long-term memory (LTM).

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Besides that, the three vital memory phases are encoding, storage, and retrieval. Putting it simply, in order to learn and recall, students need to encode, store, and retrieve the content learned in the class or elsewhere.

For example, visualize the three phases coming into action in the Calculus class. The teacher will start explaining the differentiation principles and the student will try to encode, interpret the theorem taught in a meaningful manner. Consider learning the concept of the gradient in the class, by simply looking at the slope or line drawn on the whiteboard you might not be able to understand what it really means or indicates unless the teacher explains in terms of mathematical representation and its usage in real life applications. In the storage phase, the student will start solving problems of derivatives over the next few days or weeks till the fundamental formulas and ideas are cemented in his or her long-term memory. Remember, information does not conjure automatically in your LTM unless you make a definite effort to drag it there, especially when it comes to tedious and challenging courses in college degree programs. The last step, retrieval, is when you recall the same fundamental theorems in the semesterly assessments, coursework projects, presentations, group-based discussions, and final exams.

The process is applicable for any situation that requires you to ponder over a subject material or topic, let it be a brilliant writing piece acquired from professional custom assignment writers, sitting in the exam hall and reading the question paper, or even a casual discussion with a classmate over a phone call.

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As stated above, though there are three major types of memories entailing the learning process, as for this discussion, we are going to talk about one of them.

Sensory Memory

Most of us have heard the terms and concepts of short- and long-term memory. As of sensory memory, also termed as sensory registers, it may be something new to college and university students. Fundamentally, our senses of smell, taste, touch, hearing, and vision are always occupied. We tend to experience thousands of stimuli each day both in and out of the classroom, most of which are somewhat unimportant and easily forgotten in no time. On the other hand, some are genuinely important and worth of our attention.

This is why students are advised to pay close attention throughout the lecture or their personal study session. It is not uncommon to see some students lost in their own world, particularly during a tedious and boring lecture in, such as history, cultural studies, arts, etc. class. Consequentially, the student fails to process the valuable information through his or her sensory registers. Similarly, trying to read the course textbook and listening to your favorite track at the same time is going to do no wonders in your memory. Eventually, you will realize that you don’t remember much of what you just read (neither, much of the lyrics of the track).

The trick is to pay complete attention to the task at hand, only if you are to learn and retain information in your memory as intended.

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