Adult Learner

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Adult Learner > Strategies > Mnemonic Device

Mnemonic Device


Creating patterns through mnemonic devices, such as acronyms, categorizing items, visual images, or rhyming, supports the development of memories, including learned content knowledge. As adults age, many cognitive skills begin to decline, and adults begin to more heavily rely on mnemonic devices to help to organize information and support learners' memory, higher order Reasoning, and creative Problem Solving.
It is important to note that some mnemonics may allow memorization but remove deeper level understanding (e.g., the acronym "PEMDAS" to remember the order of operations in math), so it is important that these devices are not introduced until after conceptual understanding is achieved.

Use It In Your Learning Environment

It is helpful to equip some adult learners with an array of Mnemonic devices, as different strategies may work better for different learners or for learning different concepts. Learners can help develop their own mnemonic devices, connecting Background Knowledge with new information through visual and/or acoustic cues which helps promote their conceptual understanding. Instructors can also provide examples and review the steps of the mnemonic so learners can then use them independently. Giving adults the skills they need to support Working Memory promotes their Self-efficacy, a crucial component of learning success.

Factors Supported by this Strategy