Memory and Effective Learning Enviroments


I was set the task of creating a short 1-3 minute film based on something specific that I found intriguing, valuable or worth while to my teaching practice that I had learned over the seminars, lectures and experience of my subject specialism of I.C.T. We had to conclude the film by linking the information to making the most effective, productive and comfortable learning space.

I chose to base my film on memory as I found this topic very interesting and I also studied this in A level psychology, giving me some background knowledge. I have not included as much psychology knowledge as I wanted because I thought it was more beneficial to stick to the main bases of education and the perfect learning environment.

However, there was something I realised which intrigued me after I had made my film: ‘How can the use of Short Term Memory (STM) specifically aid learning environments?’

The STM of Aktinson and Shiffrin’s (1968) model of memory can only hold 5-9 things at any one time, according to miller’s magic number seven, plus or minus two (Miller, 1956). Unless you chunk bits of information together, for instance;


(Fisher, 2015)

Using Miller’s (1956) chunking method you can retain a lot more information therefore making the most out of the 5-9 items of knowledge. By taking this information about STM storage and chunking, an effective learning environment can form. By only having 5-9 key points on presentations and by using chunking to get the most information across, you can keep the students minds working and also make sure that the information has safely travelled from sensory memory to STM. After teaching the students the 5-9 items of information, there needs to be a time where the students can retain and write down the information they gathered and process it in to Long term memory, ready to begin again with the next 5-9 items of information.

This can be recreated in a classroom layout, by having 5-9 different stations explaining a different items of information, where the students move round the room using the different stations for their intended use. This would hopefully help push the information from sensory memory to STM.


Atkinson, R. C., & Shiffrin, R. M. (1968). Chapter: Human memory: A proposed system and its control processes. In Spence, K. W., & Spence, J. T. The psychology of learning and motivation (Volume 2). New York: Academic Press. pp. 89–195.

Miller, G. (1956). The magical number seven, plus or minus two: some limits on our capacity for processing information. Psychological Review, 63(2), pp.81-97.

Fisher, O. (2015). Have I Lost My Mind — Or Only My Car Keys? Technology’s Effect on Memory. [online] The Huffington Post. Available at: [Accessed 17 Feb. 2016].


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