Memories, like the corners of my mind

This post is part one of a series on Memrise.

Last year, a supposedly good friend got me hooked on a new drug: learning. Or, more precisely: memorising.

To be fair, I’m already fairly hooked on learning new things. I’m constantly reading, learning and trying new things out. Although that last point might be more truthfully stated as ‘…trying to break things’. Cut to the chase:
an online social learning tool that uses brain science and mnemonics to help you learn and memorise.

However, this is learning through the science of memory training. Otherwise known to its learning community as Memrise.

Memrise feels like an addiction, because I get the cold sweats if I have to go too long without it.

So, be warned. If you don’t wish to become addicted to learning and memorising, read no further.

So, what is Memrise?

Memrise is, in its simplest terms, an online tool to assist you with memorising things. The main things available to learn are languages, but there are many others. If you have a list of anything you need to memorise, this is your place to be.

You will find some courses that are quite quirky and small, and some that are hugely popular and well-crafted. Because Memrise is a social tool, people create their own content and share it with you. You learn together and you share your best tricks to help you remember.

The ‘tricks’ are flashcards – or memes – that you or other learners create to help build an intricate and complex memory.

Making it more complicated to help you memorise something might sound strange, but it works. The details behind what makes Memrise tick are incredibly complex, but as they say:

…the more your brain has to work to recall a memory, the more it will strengthen that memory while recalling it.

Pod go … what now?

Here’s an example meme. This example is one I use to try and remember the capital of Montenegro.

The name Podgorica means “under the Gorica” in Montenegrin. And Gorica means “little hill”.

Thinking about Montenegro, I imagine a mountain eagle called Pod sitting under a little hill (Gorica), staring down at his town below.

I call it the scene of Pod-Gorica.

Does this all sound like far too much to remember?  Surely it would be easier to just remember that the capital of Montenegro is Podgroica?  Bear in mind that I’m trying to remember around 200 capitals.  These memes help me remember all of the capitals.  The more quirky and visual they are, the better.

Learning socially

Of course, that scene works for me, for that city. It might not for you, or for the next person, but as everyone is creating and sharing memes, you can try out different ones to see what works for you.

Is that it?

There’s a lot more to Memrise than this. There is the course creation, the more visual ways of meme creation, the competition …

… but lets save some of that for another day.