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Be Memorable Using Multimedia


Learning is all about tapping into the areas of the brain responsible for memory. It might sound obvious, but to truly learn something we need to be able to remember it!

This is where multimedia lessons come in. As we emphasise on our Train the Trainer workshops, Multimedia taps into all of the different types of memory available to us (which are in the broadest sense) – sensory, short-term and long-term.


Sensory memory is perhaps the least useful in terms of learning due to its short-lifespan but can still be effective.

Although named Sensory memory, it is generally accepted to be mainly concerned with visual stimulation. As such, by using visually stimulating media –images, bright colours, video – delegates will be able to make visual associations between pieces of information.

While this on its own does very little to aid the learning process, when used in conjunction with techniques aimed at utilising other memory types, it can be powerful.


Again, apart from perhaps for ‘on-the-spot’ tests, short-term memory used on its own, is not the most useful for learning.

However, building recall abilities in the short-term can impact on recall abilities in the long-term. Methods such as rote learning, and even cramming, can over time build the brain’s ability to access information it has stored.

The best way to utilise this as a trainer is to make the most of audio media. Short audio clips of interviews, songs and chants are great ways to embed information in the mind of your delegate. Think about something as simple as the alphabet – chances are you still hum ‘the’ tune in your head when your recite it.

In fact, the alphabet song also uses another technique aimed at making the most from short-term memory – ‘chunking’. This is the grouping together of pieces of information and is why you still remember the letters L to P as ‘elemenopee’.

A short-term technique but when adapted and, most importantly, repeated, is one that seeps into the long-term memory. Use this brain function to your advantage and incorporate sound in various forms into your sessions.


By far the most important for effective learning, long-time memory is essential for information you want to really stick indefinitely.

The way in which information is stored in the long-term memory varies from both sensory and short-term in that it is taken to be semantic and episodic.

What this means is that information is stored in the long-term memory either because of association by vigorous repetition or because of an association with a particularly emotional event.

More research suggests smell and odour could be the most powerful trigger of long term memory, although being as it can be quite volatile, I don’t recommend using this as a method!

Instead, in presentations use slides with call-backs to previous ones (i.e. repeated images, phrases etc), make mind maps and visual charts that group information into categories and use devices such as pneumonics; all of which tap into the semantic storage of long-term memory.

Making use of the episodic element of long-term memory is more difficult as a trainer. Usually it is most prominent at times of extreme emotion, more often than not deep trauma or elation. The classic example of episodic memory at work would be the ‘where were you when … happened’ or ‘when … died’.

These are extremely charged events and not really the sort of thing you want to be inflicting on delegates for the purposes of training!

On the other hand, what you can do is tap into the opposite emotion –joy.

The Simpsons Association

One example I’d give, and I’m sure you’d have your own, is of one particular Religious Studies class I had at school. Now, this particular class – and the information imparted – sticks in my memory over most, if not all other classes I had during my school career. The simple reason? As we were learning about religious conceptions of the soul, the teacher decided to show us the episode of The Simpsons in which Bart sells his soul to Milhouse.

Now as a child, being shown The Simpsons (my favourite show at the time) during school-hours was a revelation! I was attentive to every aspect of the discussion after the video because it centred on a topic I was particularly interested in – The Simpsons!

Now, I don’t suggest you spend your days finding Simpsons episodes that could apply to your sessions (although there are worse things you could be doing!) but instead think about the feeling you are trying to instil in your delegates.

Surprise your delegates with humorous anecdotes, funny images on slides and quirky pneumonics (notice the theme?!). Really make them feel a happy buzz when they remember your sessions and they’ll start to associate the information gained with that buzz.

That episode of The Simpsons will now forever be linked in mind with that Religious Studies lesson and what I learnt in it.

Find your own version of that Simpsons association and get your delegates feeling happy and get them learning!

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